Interest and reaction time analysis of credit card offers: Response times for individual elements

There is a broad range of response times for concept elements (see right hand column in Table 2). The additive constant 62, is estimated. Again, this additive constant can be interpreted as the estimated number of tenths of seconds (62, or 6.2 seconds) that it would take for a respondent to rate the concept, but one that has no elements. There are of course no such concepts, so that additive constant is a baseline number, against which elements either add response times (ie they increase the time necessary to respond to the concept) or decrease them.

The interesting thing is the difference in the response time for specific concept elements. The typical response time for the element lies between 15 and 20 (corresponding to 1.5 to two seconds). A sense of the distribution of these individual response times can be obtained from the density plot in Figure 1. Most of the estimated response times are between four- tenths and 20-tenths of seconds (corresponding to a range of 0.4 to two seconds).

The information about the additive constant and the individual response times allows an estimation of the likely total response time to be observed for a typical four-element concept. At the minimum, the four-element concept would require a total of 62 + 3 + 3 + 3 + 3 = 74- tenths of seconds (62 for the additive constant, and a minimum of three-tenths of seconds for each element). This corresponds to a total time of 7.4 seconds to respond. In contrast, the maximum response time for a four-element concept would require a total of 62 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 20 or 142-tenths of seconds, corresponding to a total time of 14.2 seconds. As one might expect, the pictures of credit cards are processed more quickly than the text, because there is little in the way of cognitive processing of the pictures.

Figure 1 Distribution of response times for the full set of elements. The xs refer to text elements, the filled circles refer to picture elements (of the credit card)

At a more micro-level one can easily see that the response time for the different elements is partly a function of the length of the message (in terms of either words or of letters). Figure 2 shows the relation between response time and these two features of the text elements. From a marketing point of view, the message needs to be kept short and simple in order to maximise the chances that it will be read and understood.

Figure 2 Response time (time to process) in tenths-of-seconds for the different elements (ordinate) as a function of number of letters (left panel) and number of words (right panel) in the particular element. Data only from text elements

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