What are the roles of price-based ads and image-based ads in print?
Print fulfil several roles in the consumer buying journey. Brand advertising, which tends to be more image led, helps shape perceptions before the journey even begins, creating awareness, challenging assumptions, and conveying a sense of stature and importance.
Tactical communications – which include most price-based ads – aim to shortcut the decision-making process and provoke immediate action.
That means it is often assumed that image-based advertising will have the most impact on consumer perceptions of the brand itself, with a bias towards more emotional impact. Meanwhile, price-based advertising should be most effective at prompting action.
Using the RAMetrics database, we put these assumptions to the test, investigating which measures were most responsive to these different types of ads.
Where do each type’s strengths lie?
Both formats stack up well against each other, with image- and price-based ads receiving similar scores to each other across most metrics. But where do the nuances between the two lie?
Readers are slightly more likely to pay attention to image-based ads and generally find them more engaging (pay attention: 48% vs 46% for price-based ads). They are more likely to convey new information (60% vs 57% for price-based ads) and are more appealing to readers than price-based ads (appeals to me: 49% vs 45% for price-based ads).
This higher likelihood to generate positive feelings towards the brand appears across other metrics, too. They don’t just have a stronger likeability (50% vs 45% for price-based ads), they are also considered more interesting (51% vs 46% for price-based ads), induce more of an emotional reaction (39% vs 27% for price-based ads) and are perceived as fresher and more original (fresh approach: 55% vs 48% for price-based ads).
Meanwhile, as expected, readers take more notice of the details in price-based ads as those ads’ strength lies in recognition metrics. Readers are more readily able to identify brands and advertisers that use price-based advertising (branding: 54% for price-based, 48% for image-based ads; familiarity: 66% vs 60%). They also find price-based ads slightly easier to comprehend (easy to understand: 71% price-based ads against 69% for image-based).
Where image-based and price-based ads perform on a par with each other is recall, with both scoring 77%.
How each ad type fits into the purchase journey
When it comes to taking action, both image and price-based ads help create conversation around the brand and advertiser (discuss: 26% for both). Image-based ads just outscore price when urging readers to look for more information (30% vs 29% for price-based ads) and encouraging website visits (29% vs 28% for price-based ads).
On the other hand, price-based ads are better at converting their engaged readers into action takers, focusing on readers who notice the advertising. Price-based ads are slightly more effective than image-based ads at prompting visits to the advertiser (29% vs 25%, price- vs image-based) and improving purchase intent (24% vs 21%).
Different roles for different types
Overall, while both types perform close to each other across most metrics, we can see that image-based and price-based campaigns play different roles in the consumer journey.
Image-based ads will help build and grow a brand; they’re more engaging and create better emotional connections. Price-based ads work better for converting engaged readers into paying customers.
It’s not a question of which works best, but where your customers are on their purchase journey.