As the Marketing Director for Piehead, I have a Google alert set for “digital engagement” because it’s what we do here at our agency.

A study by Alex Wang, PhD, called “Digital Ad Engagement: Perceived Interactivity as a Driver of Advertising Effectiveness” popped up and caught my attention. In addition to the catchy title, the study adds further proof that encouraging consumer interaction fosters stronger engagement, message involvement, and attitude toward the message.

Here’s how the study worked:

  • Participants viewed either a print version or interactive iPad version of Wired magazine
  • 45% male and  55% female, with average age of 22
  • Advertisements in both formats had similar creative for the same brands
  • Five metrics were tracked: Perceived interactivity, perceived engagement, message involvement, attitude toward ad, and purchase intention
  • The study compared both print vs interactive overall as well as the print vs digital versions of a particular ad

And here are the key findings:

  • The average perceived engagement for a static ad was 4.16 out of 9.0, compared to 6.82 for interactive ads
  • Average attitude toward a particular static ad was 3.75, while the interactive average was 6.36
  • Purchase intent was 60% higher for interactive ads

Even better – these learning’s can be applied to more than just magazine ads. Think about your entire digital presence. How can you include more interactivity on your website to boost engagement? And just like you want a print ad to hold attention so the reader doesn’t turn the page, how can you focus on UX to retain and convert visitors?