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Quantifying the Value of Meaningful Media

Havas and Teads reported on eye-tracking research that they did with Lumen on a number of websites on both desktop and mobile. They then analyzed a number of factors related to attention to digital display and video ads including ad format, demographics, category of the site’s domain, type of content on the site and characteristics of the publisher environment. The research generally confirmed their hypothesis that deeper engagement with content, with lower scroll speeds, led to longer amounts of time that ads are in view and greater attention to those ads. Ads on Teads publishers’ sites, in particular, garner greater attention than other digital ads, and Teads’ formats garner more attention than standard ads in the same category, particularly for display. This research has helped Havas to quantify the value of their inventory to optimize planning for attention and develop a curated approach to programmatic. They refer to this approach as the “Havas Meaningful Market Place.”

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Last Words on Day 1

Elizabeth Tarpinian (Senior Director, Consumer & Market Insight, Unilever NA)

  • “We feel we are in this incredible digital and technological revolution.”
  • “You have this context where the consumer is feeling trust issues.”
  • (There is a) “War for attention.”
  • “Continuous disruption where everything is massive, complex and it is moving….… (All of this) can feel unsettling….”
Vas Bakopoulos (SVP, Head of Industry Research, MMA Global)
  • “Some things are still under the radar, although they are huge. For example, retail media has fantastic growth. There are new media companies because of that, the Walmarts and Targets.”
  • “A few years back not a lot of people could have seen the scale of TikTok, (and) it has become a dominating culture.”

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What is the Value of Time in Advertising? (Part I: How Value is Created)


Fairly measuring the quality of an ad impression is challenging, and it differs across platforms. In this first part of a two-part discussion, about ad time duration, a panel of researchers explored whether or not ad time duration provides a signal to advertisers of the value of an ad impression. Different platforms have different strengths, and understanding the logistics of a platform is one key aspect in understanding how viewers will interact with an ad. Aside from the length of time an ad is viewed, and what platform it is viewed on, creative implications can also play a role in garnering up viewer enthusiasm and interest, during key moments of an ad. This ARF Town hall examined three studies regarding different aspects of ad time duration. Studies were presented by the ARF’s Chief Research Officer Paul Donato, Meta's Ads Research Lead of Marketing Science Sophie Macintyre, and TVision's SVP of Product, Data & Analytics Tristan Webster. These studies were presented in efforts to understand the similarities and differences regarding measurement across a variety of platforms on the value of time. In closing, challenges and opportunities for each platform were discussed by the panel, led by Cesar Brea of Bain & Company.

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NYCU: How to Make Ad Creative More Effective

Innovations in attention measurement reveal new insights that help marketers improve ad creative and place it in optimal environments. Here is a summary of key insights from new studies by Realeyes and TVision. (Please see the attached sources links for detailed findings as well as descriptions of their attention measures and research designs).

  • A study of YouTube cleaning brand ads confirmed that showing humans draws attention to ads and that product demonstrations convey the value of the product. However, advertisers must consider that people don’t like watching other people do unpleasant tasks – such cleaning. Demonstrating the pain of cleaning can dramatically reduce attention, especially if the ad dwells on that. The research suggests keeping it short and focus on the product’s benefits.  
  • This newsletter has frequently reported on research demonstrating context effect, that is, ad impact is affected by the context in which the ad is placed. Additional insights were generated in this study by comparing high and low scoring ad creative in different TV environments. The findings, low scoring ad creative is particularly likely to benefit from a high-attention context (high scoring ads perform well even in low-attention contexts). In addition, the study revealed that attentiveness to ads with high attention scores is likely to decline faster than attentiveness to low scoring ads. In other words, marketers should adjust frequency based on the power of the creative.
Sources: O’Brien, K., Pye, C., & Seslija, B. (2021, Q4). The CMO Guide to Unlocking Creative Attention Performance in FMCG Brand Advertising. Realeyes. Realeyes, TVision. (2021). The CMO Guide: Improving Media Efficiency Through Creative Attention. Realeyes, TVision.

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NYCU: Values in Advertising

An ARF Cognition Council event focused on new data that can help advertisers signal support for social causes and place such ads in a suitable context.

This ARF Cognition Council event on December 8 built on a previous event (October 18) that was held to address advertisers' concerns with research-based insights. This includes responding to social activism and consumer support for brands and aligning with social causes while safeguarding from possible negative consumer reactions as a result of appearing in (what might be considered) risky content. In addition, the researchers discussed how to develop ad creative and messages that not only support social causes but also improve the brand's image and sell products. Key takeaways:
  • Jessica Canfield (Lundquist School of Business at the University of Oregon) presented research on, "Advertising in a Politically Polarized Environment." One of her studies found that consumers who identify as being very liberal or very conservative were impacted by the political content surrounding an advertisement, confirming advertiser concerns. However, most consumers were not affected. In fact, her research indicated that, in general, advertising on news channels seemed effective, judging by the amount of search generated by these ads.
  • Josh Baines of Oracle Advertising showed trends in altruism content and discussed opportunities for advertisers to align with context to optimize ad impact.
  • Mike Follett of Lumen Research, working with Oracle, found that online ads next to altruistic content often had lower view times, unless the content is specifically about a charity. However, his analysis suggests this finding is driven by the amount of attention to the content. This corroborates context effects research showing that ads benefit from attention to the surrounding content.
Finally, presenters suggested the continuance of exploring these topics considering research by Peter Fields (IPA, the UK Institute of Practitioners in Advertising), who found that many ads with altruistic themes were not effective and recommends a number of strategies to optimize such ads.

Sources: Stone, H. (2021, December 1). Values In Advertising And The Content Around It, Part II (Event Summary). The ARF Cognition Council, The ARF.

Field, P. (2021, November 10). The Effectiveness Of Brand Purpose. EffWorks Global 2021, IPA.

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NYCU: Supporting Brand Safety

A new tool is designed to help marketers avoid placing ads in misleading TV news contexts.

IPG Mediabrands is partnering with NewsGuard to empower responsible, digital programmatic advertising into a pre-planning capacity. They are also co-creating a tool to evaluate and rate individual broadcast and cable news programs and networks. The new rankings will encompass 117 shows on 27 networks and will launch in spring 2022. "In this age of misinformation and disinformation, one of the most important things we can offer our clients is greater assurances that their media dollars are not supporting misleading content," said Dani Benowitz, President, US, of MAGNA. "NewsGuard is rapidly earning trust among viewers as an unbiased evaluator of news networks and sites."

Source: CynopsisMedia. (2021, December 3). IPG Mediabrands Is Expanding Its Partnership With NewsGuardCynopsis.

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NYCU: Consumer Mindset Matters!

Reaching people when they are in a relevant mindset is the driving force behind advertising effectiveness, according to a new study by MAGNA Media Trials in partnership with gumgum. The new report, "Mindset Matters: Deconstructing Contextual Video," confirms that ads delivered within contextually relevant environments are seen more positively by consumers and work harder for brands. Contextual video targeting drives metrics for brands, with brand favorability up 4%, recommendation intent up 5% and search intent up 6%. Further, contextual improves ad experiences for people: they are more likely to feel the ad was relevant to them and that the ad was entertaining. "While we've seen the power of contextual in our research, it was fascinating to finally identify the strongest driver of contextual performance—mindset," said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. "Reaching the right people is always important, but reaching people at the right time, when they are in the right mindset for the message, strongly contributes to impact on brand KPIs, such as brand favorability and purchase intent."

Source: (2021) Mindset Matters: Deconstructing Contextual Video. MAGNA Media Trials, gumgum.

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NYCU: Music & Sports Can Make Ads More Effective

Two presentations (both based on research conducted by MediaScience) demonstrated how the context in which ads are placed can have a strong impact of the ads’ performance. Context Matters: Music Television Learnings on Engaging Audiences Laura Vanison - Director Consumer & Artist Insights, Vevo; Bryon Schafer - SVP, Research, Vevo; Dr. Duane Varan - CEO, MediaScience. This presentation described a research project that confirmed the power of context effects, especially when there is alignment between the content and the ad creative, in a music video environment.

  • Vevo’s consumer surveys have shown that most viewers of music videos want to alter or improve their mood and they seek out the music that fits the mood they’re after. This research explored how mood states evoked by music videos impacted the performance of ads that were aligned with those moods.
  • Using neuro-metric measures in lab experiments, the study found that ads paired with music videos of a similar mood drove greater brand impact.
  • The researchers point out that this finding is consistent with other data that found “mood repair.” This context effect is where the emotions evoked by the content transfers the to the ads, especially if the ad is aligned. (Different context effects have been found for other content, such as “excitation transfer” from sports programs to ads in those programs). The researchers recommend that advertisers take advantage of the opportunity to increase engagement with the ad and enhance brand impact though alignments with the context.
The Power of Live TV & Sports - TV's Advantage or Unrealized Potential for OTT? Marc Sommer - VP, Strategy & Consumer Insights, FOX Sports; Amy Rask, Ph.D. - Chief Operating Officer, MediaScience This study explored “The Power of Now” – the role of live sports, for viewers and advertisers – with an in-lab experiment that used biometric measures as well as a survey. Special attention was given to the role of sports betting.
  • The study found that watching sports (NFL games) live resulted in more attention and more positive evaluations of the game, and it resulted in more purchase intent compared to watching the next day.
  • Watching sports live also resulted in better ad recall and brand memory than watching other primetime content.
  • The study found a strong effect for sports betting, concluding that “Gambling amplifies emotional engagement.” Gamblers watch more and, importantly, their engagement during the game carries over into ad breaks.
Marc stressed that these findings confirm that sports ratings points are worth more and that sports deserves a premium. Finally, two issues were raised.  First: Are live sports an unrealized potential for streaming services? Second: Can sports betting be integrated into live sports streaming?

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NYCU: Brands and Controversial Content

An ARF Cognition Council event featured new research on ads with altruistic appeals and studies that provide different views on "brand safety."

On October 14th, The ARF Cognition Council's Context Effects Working Group hosted a panel to discuss the importance of values in advertising and the content that surrounds it. Moderated by Horst Stipp, the Working Group included talks by Manuel Garcia-Garcia (Ipsos), Kimberly Rose Clark (Merchant Mechanics and Dartmouth College), Bill Harvey (RMT), Nathaniel Greywoode (Twitter), and Stefan Wojcik (Twitter). Here is a summary of the presentations and the discussion:
  • Innovative research by Merchant Mechanics, using neuroscience and traditional methods as well as AI algorithms, showed that altruistic appeals in ads can be very successful in engaging viewers and also stimulate altruistic behaviors. Also discussed were a number of peer-reviewed research studies focused on altruism's influence on decision making, attitudes and behaviors. Clark shared ways in which some of this basic research can be implemented in creative strategy in advertising communications.
  • Research based on the RMT method explored how other emotions are related to altruism, pointing to opportunities for ad creatives to develop a variety of appeals related to altruism. In addition, this research stressed the positive impact of alignments with the ad context as well as alignment between ad creative and brand image.
  • Ipsos reported on their finding that over half of consumers expect brands to take a stand on equality issues. This sentiment is particularly strong among young, Hispanic, and Black consumers. The conclusion: Companies should connect with consumers by signaling their commitment to addressing racial justice issues (and also act in this area). Not doing so, the researchers concluded, presents a risk for companies and brands.
  • A presentation by Twitter looked at risks for brands in the current cultural and political climate from the widely discussed 'brand safety" perspective, that is, their research explored whether proximity of promoted tweets to controversial content present a risk for companies and brands. Twitter's analysis found that well over 90% of tweets were not "controversial" and that ads that were adjacent to controversial content had only small reductions in attention, while other metrics were not affected.
  • The discussion further explored advertiser opportunities using altruistic appeals and alignments with ad context. The issue of how to best connect with consumers and the possible risks of controversial context raised some questions: Do the Twitter data suggest that "brand safety" concerns have been exaggerated? On the other hand, to what extent should advertisers embrace social issues given that many of those issues are controversial and polarizing? Do we need more data on the impact of brands' social activism before drawing conclusions?
Note: The full summary is available to members. Another Cognition Council event addressing similar issues will take place December 1.

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