Mobile ads are cognitively processed in just 0.4 seconds

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. May 31, 2019

The human brain needs just 400 milliseconds to engage with a mobile ad and trigger either a positive or negative response. That’s according to the latest cognition research by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) which set out to test how long it takes users to recognise and process mobile ads cognitively.

The study found that over 67% of tested ads were processed within just 0.4 seconds. Faster processing speeds are also driven by mobile ad formats such as video which is reducing viewers’ attention spans.

“The challenge of attention in advertising is not new,” said Rohit Dadwal, managing director, MMA – Asia Pacific. “MMA has now brought in neuroscience to understand the human brain’s reaction to advertising because it pushes the boundaries of what eye tracking studies allowed. MMA is committed to walking the path of science in marketing for brands. This report will demonstrate to marketers that the need of the hour is to focus on developing the right creative content given that human attention is a scarce commodity.”

The study also noted that time was relative with ads in mobile feeds receiving faster attention compared to desktop feeds. It took between 2 to 3 seconds for two-thirds of desktop ads to the seen compared to mobile ads (0.4 seconds).

For known brands, cognitive processes are faster than for unknown brands. Therefore, well-known brands result in a faster cognitive and emotional response.

Meanwhile, video was found to create the same emotional response as static ads, however, exposure speeds of video were much faster (0.7 seconds).

Adverts which are considered to be underperforming were processed faster and failed faster.