Showcase review 2017-07-13T15:36:30+00:00

The Potential Role Of Music Classification Technologies In Video Advertising

A Customer Engagement award entry from DCU for the Technology category

The Potential Role Of Music Classification Technologies In Video Advertising

This entry looks at the selection of personalised background music in digital video advertising using music classification technologies. It measures the impact on cognitive, affective and conative [impulsive] outcomes of consumer engagement with these types of personalised advertising. The findings of this project suggest that the personalisation of background music can result in significantly higher levels of advertisement recall, attitudes towards the advertisement and emotional effects, and also purchase intention through consumer engagement with the advertisements.

 

Customer engagement (CE) is an effect, a reaction, a connection, a response and/or an experience of customers with one another, with a company or a brand. The initiative for engagement can be either consumer– or company-led and the medium of engagement can be on or offline.  For the purpose of this project consumer engagement will be viewed in the eyes of an advertising approach through the medium of online digital video advertising and the use of personalised background music within the creative towards the end consumer with the hope of generating an increase level of engagement.  The projects aims to investigate if there is any impact of consumer engagement when viewing a personalised digital video advertisement against a standardised non-personalised video advertisement.

Unsurprisingly, background music selection is a major consideration in advertising production. Despite the large body of knowledge and managerial interest in the area of background music in advertising, there is a lack of knowledge on how advances in digital technologies might renovate industry and consumer knowledge and engagement with video advertising.

The introduction of digital file formats for music and pervasiveness of devices and streaming services for digital music has resulted in a substantial body of computer science study in the area of music classification including content- and acoustic-based methods. The innovative study explores the potential role of music classification technologies in advertising. It is posit that music classification technologies can reduce risk associated with background music selection in advertising through greater predictability of familiarity, fit and induced mood thus positively influencing the contribution of background music to cognitive, affective and conative [impulsive] outcomes of video-based advertising on consumer engagement with the video advertisements.

This Innovation project was awarded a European Digital Marketing & Communication Award in September [2016] and a Global Marketing & Communication Award [November 2016]

Music Classification Technologies

Advertisers and brands alike must respect their overall marketing objectives before they choose background music that will complement their advertisement activities. Brands and advertisers are making used of new technologies and sources to gather and analyse data that will help them understand and target consumers more effectively that will help attract the right consumers. For example, Ford’s collaboration with Live Nation and Ticketmaster to help discover what music their target audience was consuming based on the purchasing patterns of concert tickets. However, this is only one side of the coin in terms of music congruence or fit in advertising. Music identification and selection is equally as important if not more. It is also suggested that brands regularly neglect the impact of music fit on achieving advertising objectives with an over-emphasis on using music due to popularity or familiarity in the marketplace. This can be expensive and result in unexpected consequences depending on consumer personality type and indeed consumer engagement.  Recent studies suggests that brands looking for unique pieces of music either from past or new independent artists can add value to their advertising efforts and ignite greater attention from consumers. Yet, the technologies being used to discover music remains, for the most part, a manual process.

Music classification is a method of presenting class labels based around the piece of content, in this case, music.  The categorises of classification technologies have two approaches – content filtering [analyses music based on a set of criteria which may include external data such as song title, duration etc.], and collaborative filtering [utilising a large dataset of consumers’ preferences to recommend other potential music which users may wish to consume].

Background Music and Marketing/Consumer Outcomes

Music serves a variety of functions in advertising when engaging and interacting with consumers including entertainment, structure and continuity, memorability, lyrical language, targeting and authority establishment (Huron, 1989). It attracts consumer interest, communicates information and acts as a memory mechanism (Hecker, 1984; Park and Young, 1986; Heaton and Paris 2006). Brands seek to connect advertisements with music to facilitate the recruitment of favourable brand attitudes, awareness and positively influence purchase behaviours among consumer engagement (Oakes and North, 2013). Research on the use of background music in television advertising is not new with a well-established literature base on the impact that music has on consumer responses and engagement including cognitive, attitudinal and conative [impulsive] outcomes.

Project Objectives

This project aims to investigate if consumer engagement is impacted in a positive or negative manner when personalised background music is part of the advertisement creative.  The project investigates cognitive, attitudinal and conative behaviours as a direct result of consumer engagement.

While personalised background music caters for individual preference, it is not the music selected by the brand or advertising professional.  This project has shown that personalised background music in digital video advertising has a positive impact on consumer engagement and interaction.

Music identification and selection is equally as important if not more.  It is also suggested that brands regularly neglect the impact that music has on its brands values when advertising objectives with an over-emphasis on using music due to popularity or familiarity in the marketplace to develop increased levels of consumer engagement within a market [s].  This can be expensive and result in unexpected consequence depending on consumer personality type and indeed consumer engagement.  Recent studies suggests that brands looking for unique pieces of music either from past or new independent artists can add value to their advertising efforts and ignite greater attention and engagement from consumers.

Impact of project 

The use of music within advertisement serves the purpose of increasing the level of consumer engagement and interaction within consumers through entertainment, providing structure and continuity for the consumer experience.  It also serves to deliver memorability, targeting capabilities and authority establishment within a market [s].  Within consumers it helps to attracts consumer interest, communication key information and acts as a mechanism of memory.  Brands regularly seek to connect advertisements with music to facilitate the recruitment of favourable brand attitudes, awareness and positively influence purchase behaviour within consumers.  These consumer engagements add value to brands.

Personalised background music is selected using music classification technology deployed by Spotify online music service.  The project tested for cognitive, attitudinal and conative [impulsive] effects when consumers engage with video advertising that features background music.

As a result, the project tested the following;

  • The level of recall of the background music in non-personalised and personalised video advertisement after consumers have engaged and interacted with the advertisement.
  • The level of recall of the advertisement itself featuring personalised background music compared to that of non-personalised background video advertisement.
  • Consumer engagement with personalised background music in video advertisement and its production of feelings when compared to non-personalised background music.
  • The level of consumer engagement with personalised background music when compared with non personalised video advertisement and the level of consumer preference for the advertisement.
  • The level of intention to purchase produced from consumer engagement with the personalised and non-personalised video advertisements.

It is proposed that personalised background music which, by definition, reflects the personal preferences of the consumer with respect to music and genre would be more familiar and therefore more likely to influence attitudes towards advertisement, recall and purchase intention. However, as personalised background music in this project is selected by music classification and caters for individual preference, it may not necessarily benefit fitting with the brands core values. As such, in line with Park et al. (2015) personalised background music may interfere with information processing in the advertisement and thereby impact attitudes towards the advertisement and purchase intention.

Findings

The findings of this project suggest that the personalisation of background music can result in significantly higher results for advertisement recall, attitudes towards the advertisement and emotional effects and also purchase intention. At the same time, the results also suggest there is no impact on perceived fit with the brand where the background music is selected using music classification technologies. It is the matching of music metadata which enables the fit with a specific brand. By achieving high degrees of match between the original background music from a technical perspective (e.g. duration, BPM, mood etc.) a higher degree of fit is achieved. From this platform, personalisation takes over and delivers the greater effects.

The ability to personalise background music for advertising opens up a substantial realm of new consumer insights and knowledge and not merely validating this projects findings but also exploring whether there is a need to renovate the extensive established industry knowledge that explores the execution factors, consumer behaviour factors, processing models and effects in a much more comprehensive and systematic way.

Implications [General]

The implications of personalised background music are significant for practitioners. It represents a shift from mass consumer broadcast advertising to personalised advertising not merely within a channel, such as Pandora Radio, but within the advertising creative.   However, familiarity need not necessarily be as significant a consideration as in the past, particularly in broadcast advertising. This has ramifications for licensing and may result in a significant change in the economics of background music licensing. This project suggests that music classification can be used as a mechanism within the background music selection process to select less expensive and more unique pieces of music to be used in advertising. From a wider perspective, as more and more consumers view and hear advertisements from digital devices, the introduction of programmatic personalised advertisement elements, whether background music, messaging or otherwise, will not only transform the creative industry but also the wider advertising ecosystem as new technology and data driven participants enter the market with enabling technologies.  The findings also suggest that consumer engagement will significantly increase when compared against original digital video advertising.

This projects results suggest two implications of personalised background music in advertising using music classification. Firstly, it would suggest that music classification can be used as an effective mechanism for selecting less expensive and more niche pieces of music for use in advertising without impacting music congruence within the advertisement creative while also enables brands to increase consumer engagement in the advertising process positively. Secondly, background music need not be a ‘one size fits all’ homogenous element of an advertisement. It has the potential to be a heterogeneous personalised experience that can affect marketing outcomes without negatively impacting the brands values or consumer engagement. Consumers emotions are positively influenced while engagement rates within personalised advertising are significantly higher when compared against standardised video advertisements.

Innovation

Research design

Subjects were first exposed to a video advertisement featuring non-personalised background music, and then they were exposed to a video advertisement featuring personalised background music selected using music classification technology. Participants were exposed to both stimuli and their results were then compared.  This type of study methodology is a one of a kind and as a result was extremely innovative.

Procedure

In Stage 1, subjects received an online pre-questionnaire. Participants selected their top five most liked tracks from a selection of thirty tracks, and their most liked genre from a selection of five. This data was utilised to create the video advertisement featuring personalised background music for Stage 3. Participants also answered questions related to demographics and general attitudes towards video advertising. The duration of this stage averaged one week. During Stage 2, participants received an online hyperlink to watch a video advertisement featuring non-personalised background music and answered a questionnaire based on cognitive, affective and conative behaviours. The duration of this stage averaged one week. One-week after exposure, participants received an online questionnaire to measure recall and recognition.  In Stage 3, participants received a hyperlink to watch a video advertisement featuring personalised background music, and answered a questionnaire based on cognitive, affective and conative behaviours. One-week after exposure, participants were once again sent an online questionnaire to measure recall and recognition.

Stimulus

The stimulus was customised according to participants’ music profile. The customised track selection criteria included:

i)Participant’s most liked genre of music, music (Rock, Pop, Hip Hop, Rock, R&B/Soul) in line with Clarke et al (2012); and

ii)Participant’s top five most liked tracks from the top thirty of the Irish Top 100 Singles for the week of 25th of May 2015 as sourced from IRMA (2015) in line with Areni and Kim (1993) and Kellaris andRice (1993).

The music profile for each participant was mapped. A selected music piece based on a similar tempo, as measured by beats per minute (BPM), to the original music within the video advertisement was then used as the basis for selecting appropriate personalised background music using Spotify. The nearest music piece recommendation generated by Spotify that featured a similar BPM to the participants liked music selection and that of the original music was then used as personalised background music in the video advertisement presented to each individual participant. The new video advertisement featuring the personalised background music was then tested accordingly. The selected advertisement video was ‘The Big Pony Collection’ by Ralph Lauren featuring original background music from the band One Republic and their music piece entitled ‘Secrets’.

Innovative Research Methodology

The music profile for each participant was mapped. A selected music piece based on a similar tempo, as measured by beats per minute (BPM), to the original music within the video advertisement was then used as the basis for selecting appropriate personalised background music using Spotify. The nearest music piece recommendation generated by Spotify that featured a similar BPM to the participants liked music selection and that of the original music was then used as personalised background music in the video advertisement presented to each individual participant. The new video advertisement featuring the personalised background music was then tested accordingly. The selected advertisement video was ‘The Big Pony Collection’ by Ralph Lauren featuring original background music from the band One Republic and their music piece entitled ‘Secrets’.

 

This project extends the discussion to begin to examine the impact of personalised background music in advertisements on cognitive, attitudinal and conative [impulsive] responses among consumers engagement and interaction with video advertising.

It is proposed that personalised background music which, by definition, reflects the personal preferences of the consumer with respect to music and genre would be more familiar and therefore more likely to influence consumer attitudes towards advertisement, recall, purchase intention and consumer engagement.

The findings of this project study suggest that the personalisation of background music can result in significantly higher results for advertisement recall, attitudes towards the advertisement and emotional effects and also purchase intention. This provides professionals who actively work in creating valuable consumer experiences and engagement, the opportunity to provide a unique experiences that resonates with consumers on an individual basis.  This provides a greater opportunity to connect with consumers on a personal level and ensure that brands can effectively and efficiently connect with consumers on a personal level to ensure a higher level of engagement through their marketing and communication activities.

Professional Impacts

The implications of personalised background music are significant for professional consumer engagement practitioners. It represents a shift from mass consumer broadcast advertising to personalised advertising not merely within a channel, such as Pandora Radio, but within the advertising creative.  As a result, this has huge potential to increase the level of engagement that consumers have with advertisements, as there is a great ability to resonate with consumers on an individual basis.  This study suggests that music classification can be used as a mechanism within the background music selection process to select less expensive and more unique pieces of music to be used in advertising. From a wider perspective, as more and more consumers view and hear advertisements [engagement and interaction] from digital devices, the introduction of programmatic personalised advertisement elements, whether background music, messaging or otherwise, will not only transform the creative industry but also the wider advertising ecosystem as new technology and data driven participants enter the market with enabling technologies.

This project has shown that brands and advertisers have now the ability to introduce a new mechanism to increase consumer engagement with their digital video advertising while also providing a unique personalised consumer experience to the end consumer.  This has huge implications for the advertising industry by revolutionising the way brands communicate with their audience.  As consumer become more exposed to advertisements through various mediums [TV, Online, Radio etc.] personalised advertising through the use of background music has the ability to influence consumers while also increasing their engagement with the construct.

Firstly, the results would seem to suggest that music classification can be used as an effective mechanism for selecting less expensive and more niche pieces of music for use in advertising without impacting music fit with the brand within the advertisement creative. This has positive impact with regards increasing the rate of consumer engagement with the advertising creative.  Secondly, background music need not be a ‘one size fits all’ homogenous element of an advertisement. It has the potential to be a heterogeneous personalised experience that can affect consumer and marketing outcomes without negatively impacting the brands core values. As such it is worthy of implication from consumer engagement professionals as an innovative and creative mechanism to increase the rate of engagement with consumers.

The main innovative and creative takeaways for professionals from this study is that personalised background music which can be achieved by utilising music classification technologies and consumer data can enhance the consumer experience while also increase consumer engagement and outcomes.

This project study recently won a European Digital Marketing & Communication Award in Berlin.  It was also awarded a Global Marketing & Communication Award out of 6,000 entries in 35 countries.  A number of brands have commenced discussed with the author to see how they can utilise the project findings into their future campaigns to increase the levels of consumer engagement with their brand.

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