Scholarly Insights: AMA’s digest of the latest findings from marketing’s top researchers
Multimedia advertising strategies commonly incorporate animation and motion graphics to create visually engaging effects, but some evidence suggests that these advertising strategies often miss the mark, and can even be perceived as distracting or annoying. A new study in the Journal of Marketing has taken a deep dive into the kinetic property of motion, “defined as direction changes in the paths of moving on-screen ad elements.”
Authors Junghan Kim and Arun Lakshmanan conduct a series of experiments that manipulate kinetic motion (high, low, and none) in promotional content and assess consumers’ novelty perceptions toward the featured product. The researchers consistently find that “participants exposed to [high kinetic property ads] rated the product as more novel than those exposed to the static ad.” The authors reason that kinetic material produces a lively atmosphere that energizes consumers, which in turn leads them to perceive the product as new and exciting. Importantly, they also show that consumers report higher purchase intentions and willingness to pay when the kinetic property is high.
While motion graphics and kinetic elements evidently have their perks, it is important not to overwhelm the consumer. Therefore, the authors qualify their findings with some important boundary conditions. Specifically, kinetic motion is most effective:
- When the product is an incremental innovation rather than a radically new product. This is critical, given that “the lion’s share of new product introductions are actually [incrementally new products].”
- When product category characteristics (e.g., perceived market dynamism) match the kinetic ad executions.
- When kinetic elements are easy to distinguish. When they are difficult to distinguish from their background, or if the consumer is repeatedly exposed to the same ad or ads with similar visual design, the effect of increased novelty judgement wears off.
Apple utilizes kinetic typography in a video promoting its brand culture.
The finding that the kinetic property enhances novelty judgments particularly for incremental innovations opens up opportunities for nondominant firms (e.g., low-budget brands) that adopt a strategy of pursuing incremental innovations. In addition, because consumers quickly grow accustomed to repetition, advertisers may have more success by using the kinetic property in single-appearance web ads.
Because “advertisements embedded with kinetic property offer an avenue to communicate with consumers without imposing significant visual or affective load,” marketers and advertisers should make use of this research to optimize the potential of their promotional power and compete more effectively. With a design-oriented approach, kinetic elements can shape web-based and broadcast commercials into strong statements in advertising.