Login is restricted to DCN Publisher Members. If you are a DCN Member and don't have an account, register here.

Digital Content Next


Research / Insights on current and emerging industry topics

TV ads create stronger brand memories compared to other contexts

November 15, 2022 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

The age-old question of advertising effectiveness remains front and center in today’s media ecosystem. Given the breadth of content distribution options, how do different platforms such as streaming, mobile, and on-demand compare for building advertising engagement? Comcast Advertising partnered with MediaScience to investigate the impact of watching ads in a traditional TV environment compared to other video environments, like YouTube or Facebook feed on mobile devices.

The report, TV Makes Memories, uses three factors from academic research on memory influencers: attention, connection, and repetition. The research analyzes these three conditions to provide a framework for understanding how effectively TV and mobile environments influence brand memories. 


MediaScience recruited 188 participants to view 30-second ads in TV and mobile environments. The TV environment consisted of live TV or a streaming environment with a typical ad load viewed on a large screen. The mobile environment consisted of participants watching short-form video clips on YouTube or in a Facebook feed with ads embedded on a mobile device.

The study exposed viewers to an even mix of well-known and unknown brands, and measures included:

  • Biometrics Eye Tracking to quantify the visual attention to the ads by tracking where viewers are looking on the screen. 
  • Cardiac Deceleration (slowing heart rate) to identify cognitive attention and links to memory formation.
  • Neurometric Intensity to gauge emotional response linked to improved memory formation.


Overall, premium content viewed in a TV environment rated more favorably than short-form video and feed-based digital. Additionally, ads viewed in the TV environment had a greater unaided recall and purchase intent than ads shown in a mobile environment. Like this study, earlier Halo Effect research and The Benchmark Series show that ads in a premium environment significantly improve advertising effectiveness scores.

MediaScience’s analysis also showed that cognitive attention improves when participants view an ad in a TV environment preceding the same ad in a mobile environment (versus two digital ads).

Ads viewed in a TV environment receive more visual attention among full TV screen viewers (71%) versus those viewing digital mobile (30%). One reason suggested is that larger screen viewing may be subject to fewer distractions. Interestingly 36% of digital viewing participants never looked at the mobile ad compared to only 6% of TV viewers. 

Connection and repetition

Strong creative messaging is an essential component of memory building. The research found that participants viewing an ad in a TV environment preceding an advertisement in a digital mobile environment rate the creative message better than viewing ads exclusively in a digital environment. 

Ads viewed in a TV environment in their first exposure have 3.4 times better recall than ads viewed in a mobile environment. Addition exposures build upon the original memory and experiences the viewer has about a brand. Notably, while unaided recall increases with a second exposure for both TV and digital mobile, the TV environment viewing experience outperforms mobile. Viewers of one exposure on TV were 40% more likely to recall the brand versus two exposures on digital mobile.

This research offers new empirical data on ad performance in premium content environments, especially in a lean-back TV setting. With advanced media distribution expanding, marketers must know that not all video environments perform similarly. Importantly, ads viewed in a premium TV environment have greater unaided recall and purchase intent than ads in short-form, mobile environments like Facebook or YouTube.

Print Friendly and PDF