A TV commercial in the afternoon programme, a YouTube clip or a print ad in a special interest magazine? Most consumers in the digitalised world can’t remember where they have picked up an advertising message. That’s not surprising, given the fact that the boundaries between offline and online have disappeared in media use completely. Online platforms open up stores and snuggeries and attract new target groups through „real“ magazines. Information and products are available Vva QR codes at any time with one simple click. The advertising industry faces the challenge to manage their budgets across a tremendously increasing numbers of communication channels. But when does what kind of media have which influence on whom?

“Classic” advertising in the digitalised world seamlessly blends into online advertising, blogs, guerilla marketing activities and product placement. Personal aspects – such as personal attention span, openness to novelty, interests, need and mood – and aspects of the individual situation – such as distraction through interfering stimuli – have a systematic impact how advertising messages are processed. A certain content can have a completely different effects in various moments and reception contexts.

At the Annual Congress of the German Association of Journalism and Communication Science held at the University of Leipzig, I presented the psychological mechanisms of digitalized advertising. The key insight: detailed content, facts and arguments more and more lose their persuasion power whereas the quality of the production and story-telling as well as the personal relevance of the usage occasions and brand ambassadors used in advertising are key factors for advertising success. This phenomenon is caused by information processes involved in the perception of advertising. In a fully mediated world, the systematic and analytical processing of facts and details shrinks in importance whilst the automatic, fast and energy-saving processing through so-called heuristics leads to attitude change regarding innovation and brands. Who does not grasp this quickly will not keep pace with the digital transformation.