group viewing

#6 Group viewing: why the same ad is viewed as funnier if it is watched in a group

We tend to find humorous content more amusing when surrounded by others.

Evidence: In 1991 Yong Zhang and George Zinkhan, psychologists at the University of Houston, recruited 216 people and asked them to watch a series of music videos interspersed with soft drink commercials. The twist in the experiment was that some people watched the content alone, whereas others watched it in a group.

Finally, all participants were quizzed as to how funny they found the ads. Their key finding was that ads watched in groups were reported to be 21% funnier than those watched alone.

Recommendation: The funniness of an ad isn’t just determined by its content, it’s also partly down to when it is watched. So, if you are creating humorous ads make sure that you target people in groups.

The likelihood of group viewing can be boosted through media selection. For example, using cinema rather than TV ads. According to the measurement survey, FAME, when adults visit the cinema, their group size is on average 2.7 – a higher number than for TV or video advertising.

Alternatively, for TV copy, you can increase the probability that the ad is seen by groups prioritising particular genres e.g. films and documentaries are more likely to be consumed in groups than the average spot.

Richard Shotton

Guest author: Richard Shotton

Behavioural Science wizz and author of The Choice Factory, a best-selling book on how to apply findings from behavioural science to advertising and founder of Astroten.