This presentation, from the 2017 ARF ReThink conference, previews the original research on “context effects” that the ARF did in connection with its “How Advertising Works, Today” project. (The findings from the new studies were unveiled later that year during the Audience Measurement conference. The data presented here are based on the ARF’s literature synthesis and on analysis of new studies that members shared with the ARF.)
Context effects are defined as the positive or negative impact of factors surrounding commercial messages on how consumers perceive and process those messages. One of the main reasons for studying such effects today is the growth of programmatic buying strategies, which are focused on better targeting, but usually do not see ad context as important. This ignoring of context contradicts decades of research that documents such effects, even though the body of research does not fully explain how such effects come about and does not address ROI.
Based on the available data, including a number of new studies summarized in the presentation, the ARF researchers concluded:
Based on the existing research that shows more attention to ads imbedded in content that consumers pay attention to and studies that suggest alignment between content and ads can improve ad effects, the ARF recommends that marketers “explore making context work for your brand” by considering the following:
Finally, the presentation notes the ARF will continue to explore this topic.