How much today’s connected consumers trust mobile advertisements is influenced by the type of media and the screen size of their smartphone, according to recent research.
What’s more, the study revealed that screen size is linked to buying behaviour.
“While people are using smartphones — and these days, smartphone screen sizes are becoming bigger and bigger — they may think that the larger screen sizes are actually enhancing their experience and increasing the amount of information they can take in, but this subtle difference in screen size can also affect them in ways that they may not realise,” said S. Shyam Sundar, Distinguished Professor of Communications and co-director of the Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. “Our study sheds light on how they may be processing information on these new larger screens.”
The researchers tested smartphones with 5.3-inch screens and 3.7-inch screens among 120 undergraduate students in South Korea. They found that people who viewed video ads on large screens tended to experience feelings of “affective trust”, while reading text ads on smaller screens created greater “cognitive trust”.
“A simple way to put it is that affective trust refers to how you feel about something and cognitive trust refers to what you think about it,” Sundar explained. “The difference is between what you think and what you feel.”
According to the university, the study showed that affective trust had a greater influence on buying intention. In practice, this meant that participants who viewed video ads on larger screens were more likely to want to purchase a product. This was a surprise, as the researchers had expected that cognitive trust would be most associated with behavioural trust and buying intention.
One form of trust is not better than the other, but they indicate different depths of thinking by mobile users, Sundar said.
“There is a change in the depth of processing. When users have a large screen, people are processing heuristically, which means they are processing information in a less systematic manner, which may make them more prone to influences from cues in the surroundings and, in general, more open to persuasion.”
The feeling of immersion when watching an advert on a bigger screen may make users feel like they are inside the media environment and more inclined to trust what the video says, the researchers suggest.
Ki Joon Kim, endowed research professor of interaction science at Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, said that the study may have implications for the use of virtual reality in mobile advertising. The findings may also help guide designers of wearable devices, which could have even smaller screens than smartphones.
Tags: buying behaviour