The vampire effect of smartphone swiping: how atypical motor actions increase ad attention but impair brand recall

Stefan Rohrbach

Daniel Bruns

Tobias Langner

Consumers’ swiping behavior largely determines their exposure to social media advertisements. According to embodied cognition and enactment theory, advertisers might leverage atypical swiping to increase attention and thus brand recall. To identify typical smartphone swiping, the authors develop a taxonomy of the motor actions consumers exhibit when browsing social media in real life. A mobile eye-tracking experiment then reveals how the typicality of smartphone swiping affects participants’ advertising reception. The results indicate that atypical smartphone swiping increases consumers’ visual ad attention but, surprisingly, decreases brand recall. These findings, observed under realistic viewing conditions, suggest a motoric vampire effect of atypical swiping: It appears to demand the allocation of cognitive resources to the odd motor action, which diverts cognitive resources away from the ad. Thus, atypical swiping poses a threat to advertising effectiveness, and advertisers need continued research to identify ways to mitigate these negative effects.

This publication uses Eye Tracking and Eye Tracking Glasses which is fully integrated into iMotions Lab

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