The Power of Choice-Based Advertising
November 08, 2018
It happens multiple times a day, we are presented with a vast array of options upon which we must make not-so-life-changing decisions. From picking the radio station for the commute to work, weeding through a lunch menu, and finally settling down to find the perfect movie to watch on Netflix. With regards to advancements in technology and advertising alone, the current generation of consumers has spoken: the power of choice is of utmost importance.
We love choice. In Sheena Iyengar’s book “The Art of Choosing”, she explains how humans and animals prefer choices. In experiments with monkeys and pigeons, the animals learn to press buttons in order to get food. If given a choice between one button and multiple buttons, both monkeys and pigeons prefer multiple buttons. In a study with rats, a direct path to food was offered or an indirect path with multiple pathways to take. The rats repeatedly preferred the path with multiple branches. And finally, with humans, people were given chips to use at a casino. With the option of using chips at a table that had one roulette wheel or multiple roulette wheels, people preferred the table with multiple wheels even though all wheels were identical. Choice gives us control, and we equate control with survival. So on a very subconscious level, our survival instincts tell us that we will survive if we have control.
FINDING THE RIGHT AUDIENCE
Our subconscious desire for choice helps to explain why choice-based advertising benefits consumers and marketers alike. One of the biggest pain points for marketers is finding the right audience. Many companies find large amounts of consumers who fall outside of their target demographics and advertising becomes a game of throwing ads at the wall to see what sticks. Take television commercials for instance: many of us pick up our phones during commercial breaks and tune out while brands are paying good money for our eyeballs whether we are watching or not. When you give audiences the choice to watch ads, it creates a win-win for the brand and the consumer. Consumers receive a better viewing experience and brands cut through the crowd to find those that are the most interested (not to mention discovering new audience profiles they haven’t considered before).
When you give people the power of choice to watch an ad, it creates an unspoken bond of trust between the brand and consumer. It says that the advertiser respects not only the time of the individual, but that it also respects the preferences. At AcuityAds, we believe choice-based advertising is a crucial step in the marketer’s journey to capturing consumer attention. As marketers, we must seek enrollment. If we don’t, our consumers will find another place to make their choice known, and will only consume something they want to.