Signage research links happiness to engagement

Digital signage has a greater impact in larger shopping centres according to research conducted by Kinectic Worldwide and Clear Channel.

Sophisticated face-tracking technology from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute allowed the research team to capture shoppers’ expressions, moods, contact duration, gender and age.

The research into consumer moods and engagement was conducted in two UK shopping centres. The first was Westfield Merry Hill, West Midlands - a huge retail and leisure destination ranked in the top five malls nationally. This contributed to an earlier study, conducted in Westfield Royal Victoria Place, Tunbridge Wells – a smaller centre in a commuter town.

You can view detailed information on the research findings below. But, as the study was only conducted in two shopping centres and over a very short time period, it is unlikely that Clear Channel can draw any concrete conclusions.

The findings
The study showed that young people (16-24) were found to engage with ads for longer than older shoppers, particularly if they felt an affinity for the brand. Meanwhile digital advertisements for youth brands were looked at for more than twice as long as untargeted ads. In general the public was happier and more engaged in the larger mall regardless of time of day or day of week.

Cutting-edge face-tracking technology from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute – inventors of the revolutionary MP3 audio format – was employed over seven days on a Clear Channel digital screen to capture shoppers’ expressions or moods and contact duration, as well as their gender and approximate age. The camera was also able to detect recurring views, recording multiple viewings by the same person.

The duration and quality of people’s engagement is linked to the size and breadth of offering within the mall. The initial study showed engagement levels differed significantly at the weekend to the week, and towards the end of the day. However, in the top-five mall people were in a consistent mindset throughout their visit, remaining engaged all day and during both the week and weekend.

The research found that contact duration and mood states differed by age and gender, but recorded that younger people looked for longest and, perhaps unsurprisingly, women were generally happier than men in the malls.

Younger shoppers looked at the digital ads for 5.8 seconds on average, 2.6 seconds longer than the next nearest age group, 35-44s. The overall average across all age groups was more than six times the Postar definition of conscious engagement.

The camera detected different levels of happiness and net ‘feelgood factor’ which was highest among 16-24s and when shoppers were viewing the ads for H&M and BlackBerry Messenger, suggesting an emotional connection is important in driving mood. The research also revealed that the presence of animation offers a clear impact benefit. However, full video is slightly less effective than the dynamic images now being widely used by advertisers.