Have you always wondered which website you read was more effective" Advertisers have, and thanks to a new study commissioned by Facebook, the scientists at Neurofocus report that website is none other than … Facebook. On Thursday, Business Insider's Jim Edwards blogged about the study, which monitored users brainwaves while they looked at the homepages of Yahoo and The New York Times compared to when they scanned Facebook's newsfeed. The "overall effectiveness" of the "three premium online sites," the study says, " represents a composite score that combines Attention, Emotion, and Memory responses in a single composite measure of the overall cognitive impact of the website viewing experience. Facebook totally dominated as far as emotional engagement but tied The Times in both attention and memory retention; Yahoo was a close third. You can read the full results at Neurofocus's website (PDF).
What's it mean? In Neurofocus's words, "All of these differences appear to be related to the expectations people bring to these sites when they visit them, and these expectations, in turn, appear to impact how people respond to advertising on these sites." These sorts of independently funded studies aren't uncommon methods to talk advertisers into buying ads, but the brainwave-monitoring part is a little unsettling. Maybe this is what Sean Parker was getting at when he said, "There is good creepy, and there is bad creepy."