Study: Contextually relevant ads increase memorability

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Integral Ad Science (IAS), a global player in digital media quality, has released The Context Effect, the company’s latest biometric research on the importance of context in advertising.

Conducted with IAS and Neuro-Insight, a neuromarketing and neuroanalytics company, this study goes beyond traditional survey data on consumer preferences and examines brain activity in response to contextually matched ads, showing context can significantly impact ad memorability.

“Using the latest neuroscience and neurometrics, this groundbreaking study demonstrates the specific ways that a webpage’s context can dramatically alter how audiences recall and respond to ads,” said Tony Marlow, CMO, IAS. “As our industry prepares for a cookieless future and increasingly moves away from audience targeting, advertisers have a significant opportunity to be intentional with contextual targeting tools, such as IAS Context Control, to drive greater campaign outcomes.”

In The Context Effect, consumers evaluated content across three types of contextual matching and IAS uncovered these key findings that can help brands ensure their ads resonate:

●  Endemically matched ads drive higher memorability: Endemically matched ads, or those that align with and match the surrounding content based on vertical (e.g. auto ad near auto content), drove a 23 per cent lift in activation within the part of the brain responsible for memory of practical details, which includes key messages, calls to action, and branding elements. These ads also boosted global memory by 27 per cent, or the memorability of broad themes, overarching narratives, or audio and visual elements.

●  Informational ads perform best when matched with an article’s key message: According to the findings, matching informational ads with an article’s message creates a very strong detail memory response, and drove a 36 per cent lift in detail memory compared to when there was no match. This can be especially relevant for campaigns that focus on a clear call to action that brands want consumers to respond to.

●  Ads focused on an emotional response are best paired with content themes: Ads that aim to leave an emotional memory, a particular feeling or overarching brand perception among consumers performed best when placed alongside articles with a matching theme (for example, an ad with a seasonal Summer thematic adjacent to summer season content). The study found that emotive ads drove 40 per cent higher global memory within thematically-matched articles compared to when there was no match.

●  Consumers recognise ads as part of their online experience: The vast majority of consumers (63 per cent) viewed ads as part of their online reading, not disruptive or a distraction. Only 36 per cent of participants said they scrolled past an ad without reading it.

IAS says that these findings demonstrate that digital marketers can achieve higher brand memorability and elicit positive emotional responses from consumers by activating contextual strategies.

The Context Effect study from IAS monitored 60 US consumers during a 30-minute mobile experience using Neuro-Insight’s Steady State Topography (SST) to track and record brain activity in real-time. Respondents were also asked to match ads to the context they appeared within.


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