Price-based vs image-based ads

Insight from RAMetrics

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What’s the difference between price-based ads and image-based ads in print newspapers?

Print newspapers fulfil a number of roles in the consumer buying journey. Brand advertising helps shape perceptions before the journey even begins, creating awareness, challenging assumptions and conveying a sense of stature and importance. More tactical communications – which include most price-based ads – aim to shortcut the decision-making process and provoke immediate action.

It is therefore often assumed that image-based advertising will most affect consumer perceptions of the brand itself, with a bias towards more emotional impact, while price-based advertising will be most effective at prompting action.

Using the RAMetrics database, we investigated which measures were most responsive to these different types of ads.

Firstly, it is clear that image-based ads are instantly more memorable (ad recall: 74% vs 68% for price-based ads). The analysis also shows that image-based ads outperform price-based ads on most brand and action measures.

Readers are more likely to pay attention to image-based ads (35% vs 29% for price-based ads) and generally find them more engaging; they make a better impression (like ad: 36% vs 30% for price-based ads); are more likely to convey new information (42% vs 37% for price-based ads); and appeal more to readers than price-based ads (36% vs 31% for price-based ads).

We might expect readers to take more notice of the details in price-based ads and their strength does lie in recognition metrics. Readers are more readily able to identify brands and advertisers that use price-based advertising (branding: 35% vs 31% for image-based ads, familiarity: 45% vs 43% for image-based ads).

Readers comprehend both ad types just as well (easy to understand: 49% for image-based and price-based ads), but image-based ads generate more positive feelings about the brand — they are better liked (36% vs 30% for price-based ads) and considered more interesting (38% vs 32% for price-based ads). They induce more of an emotional reaction (27% vs 21% for price-based ads) and are perceived as more fresh and original (fresh approach: 41% vs 31% for price-based ads).

When it comes to taking action, both ad types work well, however image-based ads come out slightly on top. They urge readers to look for more information (21% vs 18% for price-based ads), influence actual purchasing (have bought/will buy: 16% vs 14% for price-based ads) and help create conversation around the brand and advertiser (discuss: 16% vs 14% for price-based ads).

Price-based ads are better at converting their engaged readers into action takers — 50% of engaged readers take some form of action compared with 47% for image-based ads. Furthermore, focusing on readers who notice the advertising, price-based ads are equally as effective as image-based ads at encouraging recommendations (36% for both) and better at prompting store visits to the advertiser (24% vs 22% for image-based ads).

Overall, image-based ads have the edge in terms of moving the most brand metrics and building brand health — they’re more memorable, engaging and create emotional connections. Image-based ads trigger more intermediate actions, while price-based ads are slightly more likely to spur shop visits.

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