Neuroscience proves influencer marketing outperform TV and display—primes other media channels!

Marketing with creators or influencers is a relatively new phenomenon.  When we sit down with brands and agencies, the first question we are often asked is:

“Can you prove it works?”

Luckily, with every passing month, there is more and more research and evidence released resoundingly answering that question: “YES!

One of the most exciting studies released recently comes from the neuroanalytics company Neuro-Insight.  Their study compared ads from influencers against ads from television, YouTube, and Facebook.

Overall, they found ads by influencers outperformed each of the other three channels by a significant margin. In some cases up to 277% better.    

They also discovered that influencer and creator ads primed the other channels—an incredibly important finding for anyone planning multi-channel campaigns.

How the study worked

The study used a neuroscientific technique called Steady State Topography (SST) to measure emotional valence, emotional intensity, and memory encoding as people interacted with each media type.  

The researchers focused on these measures because it’s generally understood that ads achieve their business objectives by doing two things:

  1. Generating an emotional response
  2. Being memorable

Using SST ensures that you’re getting the unfiltered truth about each ad.  In surveys, people don’t always share their real feelings, and in focus groups they may follow the loudest voice.  

SST gets around that because your brainwaves can’t lie.

Results

The table shows how much better content from creators and influencers performed compared to the other marketing channel as measured by percentage in increased brain activity.

 Compared channelEmotional intensityMemory encoding
Creators & influencersTelevision+277%+87%
Facebook+64%+182%
YouTube+28%+73%

If you’re a smaller brand relying on display advertising to drive conversions, the results would suggest that carving out some budget to add creators to your marketing mix would be an improvement.  These results should make any marketer happy, from those at scrappy DTC startups to the ones working with the largest brands in the world.

People are much more likely to buy from brands they’re familiar with and creators are really really good at helping people remember your company (+182% and +73% better respectively).

For large brands and agencies, the same story is true—compared to the established channels, creators and influencers are better at creating the responses that will drive purchasing. They’re also a lot more cost effective.

There’s another incredibly and highly relevant finding though: 

Exposure to a creator/influencer campaign improves responses to TV, Facebook, and YouTube ads.

After exposure influencer or creator content, memory encoding of a subsequent TV, Facebook, or YouTube ad was 47% better. 

The same was true for emotional intensity, which saw a 58% improvement.

What does this mean? 

Content from creators acts like oil in a machine.  Adding it to your marketing mix will make everything else more effective. 

And when you’re dealing with 6 or 7-figure marketing budgets, that means one serious boost in your total media ROI.