Do we know what we look at? An eye-tracking study of visual attention and memory for brands at the point of purchase
This research examines the link between visual attention and memory for brands at the point of purchase. This is of interest to marketers, who rely on brand recall scores to measure the effectiveness of their point-of-purchase advertising, and to researchers, who often use memory data to study consumer attention. Two studies track the eye movements of consumers while they choose a brand from a supermarket shelf display and measure aided and unaided brand recall shortly thereafter. Study 1 shows that brand recall is overwhelmingly driven by brand familiarity and only to a limited extent by whether the brand was actually looked at or not during the choice task. Study 2 shows that brand recall cannot be used as a proxy for attention to the brand, as even large differences in attention across stimuli, consumers, and brands cannot be inferred from recall data. This research also shows that a single eye fixation can create indirect priming effects, inhibiting or enhancing the recall of related brands depending on the relative accessibility in memory of the primed and target brands. Finally, this research shows that some well-established findings from advertising research do not extend to memory for brands at the point of purchase. In particular, the studies found no primacy effect, no decay effect, a reverse recency effect, and a reverse mirror effect.
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