Do Consumers Pay Attention To Emotion: An Eye-tracking Study of Visual Attention In Pre-roll Advertisement

Nicholas Batista & Michele Lioy

Student thesis: Master thesis


The current advertising landscape is characterized by a high degree of complexity as the presence of distinct ad variables can affect consumers’ perception of an advertisement and enforce specific marketing objectives. The rapid emergence of new advertising mediums is creating new opportunities for advertisers, but also new challenges regarding the implementation of the correct variables to match a specific outcome. The focus of this thesis is on the newly developed pre-roll advertisement format and on the allocation of visual attention to its different components. As suggested by the literature, attention is a key and unavoidable step in the information-processing journey of consumers. Moreover, the inclusion of emotional elements in advertisements has been identified as an important variable that can affect the allocation of attention. More specifically, the purpose of this study is to examine how pre-roll advertisements containing an emotionally-valenced framing are capable of influencing consumers’ visual attention. Accordingly, either a positivelyvalenced or negatively-valenced framing was included in the pre-roll advertisement and the visual behavior of the participants was measured. It was hypothesized that framings of positive valence would elicit more visual attention to the pre-roll advertisement, whereas negatively-valenced framings would redirect consumers attention to the countdown button and background components. The experiment was conducted using a screen-based eye-tracking device. The four hypotheses were all rejected, as the results demonstrated that negatively-valenced framings increase the visual attention to the preroll advertisement, whilst positively-valenced framings elicit higher total fixation duration to the countdown and background components, respectively. Accordingly, some interesting managerial implications are identified, suggesting that the use of a negative emotional framing can enhance consumers viewership of the pre-roll advertisement. Oppositely, it is suggested that, by employing a positive framing, total fixation duration towards the pre-roll advertisement diminish whilst it is increased to less relevant screen areas, that are, the countdown button and the background.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages117
SupervisorsJesper Clement