Rachel Smith

Do you remember the last time you tried to digest and memorise new information, such as a recipe or a trick-shot in your favourite sport? Do you remember how you did it?

Research tells us there is a universally preferred way to absorb information.

Understanding how individuals best consume information is vital for advertisers who want to create ads that really resonate with viewers. Consumers need advertisements to be experiential and provide something new. Ads that consider kinesthetic learning tactics meet this brief.

What is kinesthetic learning?

Most of us deploy a preferred approach to enhance our learning and understanding of the world around us. The adoption of these techniques is likely to be determined by self-categorisation of ourselves into specific ‘types’ of learners’. A universal approach to learning styles, developed by Neil D Fleming cites ‘VARK’ as the four sensory modalities necessary for processing most information. These refer to Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinesthetic learning.

Despite popular belief, these learning styles aren’t isolated and individuals don’t respond best to a singular learning style. In reality, the majority of us perform best when engaging with a combination of sensory modalities. For example, a video that is both visual and auditory (dual-modality) is more likely to be beneficial for the viewer than a solely visual experience.

The most appropriate learning style to apply when learning and teaching can depend on several variables, such as the task at hand and the individual. When personal preference is considered, research indicates that one method prevails, with 68% of people confessing to favour kinesthetic learning techniques¹. Kinesthetic learning is typified by a physical and ‘hands-on’ approach, whereby physical involvement in the task acts as a catalyst for encoding information into memory.

Why is kinesthetic learning effective?

In the past, the communication of information has often ignored kinesthetic learning techniques and focused on the other three learning styles. Growing research in learning systems reveals wide-reaching benefits for kinesthetic learning techniques on information consumption — particularly for the absorption and concretion of the information into the memory.

A key advantage of delivering information kinesthetically is a cognitive leverage which is not shared by other learning techniques like auditory and visual experiences. This is the movement involved in kinesthetic learning that increases blood flow, which in turn floods the brain with oxygen, facilitating higher cognitive abilities and increased attention.

In traditional practice, this ‘movement’ often refers to whole-body involvement. For example, a speaker might ask for audience participation in the form of standing up, rather than direct communication. However, the benefits of kinesthetic learning are not only restricted to large movements. Research shows that these benefits can be reaped from much smaller movements, such as playing with fidget toys, taking notes and even chewing gum.

Kinesthetic learning isn’t only great for enhancing our ability to focus on the information, it is a well-documented tool for remembering complicated concepts. Ideas and information that are expressed in sensory interactions with objects are extremely effective at creating concrete experiences that the individual will remember. This is because when we focus our attention on incoming information, the brain draws contextual cues from the environment that assists in the extraction and recovery of information. In other words, the brain will store contextual cues that help to ‘spark’ our memory at a later occasion. Therefore, when an individual actively engages with the information kinesthetically and has an active role, it leads to very rich cues and easier information retrieval.

How can kinesthetic learning techniques lead to better mobile ads?

According to eMarketer, the global digital advertising industry spend in 2019 will be $333.25 billion a year, a 17.6% rise from 2018². This escalation highlights a huge opportunity for mobile advertising as mobile ad spend, (for the first time) now accounts for half of the global ad expenditure.

It almost goes without saying, but in the business of communicating information, it is vital to ensure ads are easy to understand and memorable. Recent tech and cultural innovations have shaped the marketing landscape, cultivating a society of digital natives and discernable consumers. On a new level-playing-field, consumers have grown wise to their role as an audience and tend to actively avoid advertisements, or disregard them as immaterial. This is often because the backdrop of content available to consumers is too large and time-consuming and so they will decide what deserves their attention.

2D ads have clear communication and engagement limitations as they only tap into visual modalities and are often camouflaged into other content. As a result, they rarely make the cut anymore.

Consumers need advertisements to be experiential and provide something new. Ads that consider kinesthetic learning tactics meet this brief.

When ads employ the concept of learning kinesthetically into their design, consumers are much more likely to:

Be open to receiving the ad

Modern consumers have a colossal amount of content to consume and have therefore developed a dexterity for tuning in and out of relevant content. This has meant that ads need to work a lot harder. A brilliant solution to this problem is the creation of sensory ads that stand-out, by inviting the consumers to interact and partake in a sensory experience. We know that consumers seek and respond positively to dialogical communication between brands. They want to be involved and feel heard — hence why branded social media accounts are so important for developing connections with consumers. Consumers respond positively to interactive ads because they are given the opportunity of whether they want to engage, and because it’s a relatively unique ad proposition, it’s exciting.

Understand the ad

Ads aim to deliver messages so that the consumer understands exactly who the brand is, what the product is and the message that the ad wants to communicate. 2D non-sensory ads only provide a single opportunity to communicate with the viewer, which can create issues of misunderstanding and misinterpretations of the message. On the other hand, tactile ads provide a much richer context whereby the active role of the consumer helps to bridge the gap for mutual comprehension between the brand and consumer. 

Remember the ad

In a digital landscape that is peppered with ads, the task of a consumer recalling each unique encounter of an ad would be nearly impossible. Sensory advertising that requires the consumer to engage kinesthetically, profoundly enhances memory for several reasons. Firstly, the tactile interaction with ads creates an engaging experience, which elicits richer contextual cues to be encoded into the memory. Secondly, this interaction on the screen, such as a swiping motion, provides cues for memory through sensory feedback. Therefore, ads that require the consumer to swipe or drag & drop will have your consumer thinking about your ad for a lot longer! Now there’s some food for thought.

If you’re interested about how your brand can employ kinesthetic learning techniques to create ads that are 10x more memorable, 17x more favourable, and achieve 18x higher CTR than the MMA industry benchmarks, get in touch with the Adludio team at hello@adludio.com.

PS. Whilst you’re here, use this link to check out Adludio’s latest innovative and creative mobile campaigns which have all used kinesthetic learning techniques!



¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24814353

² https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-digital-ad-spending-2019