Cookies vs. Context: Maximizing Media ROI
ARF EVP’s Horst Stipp, Ph.D. and Jasper Snyder
Decades of research have shown that context effects can make advertising more effective. While the growth of programmatic may improve targeting and efficiency, it may also overlook the importance of ad context. ARF’s How Advertising Works initiative aims to uncover new insights on context insights, particularly in terms of types, best practices, and ROI.
There are three kinds of context that affect the impact of an ad: content, other ads, and devices / platforms / media brands. There is strong research evidence that more attention to content, platform, device, or media brand is likely to improve ad performance. Numerous studies demonstrate that priming generates halo effects, so congruence between content and the ad can boost the latter’s impact. On the other hand, there is strong evidence for the negative effects of clutter; adjacent ads can affect the impact of the message.
The following best practices were identified:
- Media and platforms that the target consumes attentively are likely to produce more of an impact. Consider both highly rated, popular content as well as niche programs with a devoted fan base
- Consider media brands and content that match with the brand and the ad, to take advantage of halo effects. Create ads that match content
- Beware of competing ads that may diminish positive context effects. Proximity to content (e.g. first pod position) may be advantageous
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