In a digital advertising landscape that’s constantly evolving, the power of contextual targeting through Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking center stage. According to a groundbreaking study conducted by the Alliance for Video-Level Contextual Advertising (AVCA), a pioneering organization committed to advancing AI’s role in contextual advertising within streaming, consumers are showing nearly four times more interest in ads that align precisely with the content they’re watching.
Titled “Driving Viewer Attention and Brand Metrics in CTV Advertising,” this research delves into the effectiveness of AI-enabled contextual targeting compared to conventional methods like demographic targeting and publisher-declared metadata. The goal is to enhance ad relevance, viewer engagement, and brand perception.
“When we established the AVCA, our mission was to advance the knowledge and understanding of video-level contextual intelligence to deliver superior user experiences and the highest value for publishers and brands in ad-supported streaming environments,” explained Rohan Castelino, CMO of IRIS.TV and Principal Member of AVCA. “In our first study, we found consumers respond better when the ads they see are relevant to the specific content they are watching. Attention is a scarce resource, and as CTV continues to grow, advertisers need to seek out deep contextual relevance to achieve a strong return on ad spend.”
AI Spells the Difference in Ad Recall
AI-enabled contextually targeted ads are capturing and maintaining consumer attention in a way that standard demographic targeting and publisher-declared metadata can’t match. These ads boast a remarkable 300% higher aided brand recall and double the unaided brand recall compared to their counterparts. Furthermore, viewers exposed to AI-enabled contextual targeting were significantly less distracted, generating 15% more total ad attention than ads using demographic and publisher-declared metadata. Impressively, 63% of respondents admitted to paying closer attention to AI-enabled contextually targeted ads.
But the benefits don’t stop there. The study revealed that viewers were 22% more likely to stick around for AI-enabled contextually targeted ads from the beginning, reducing the likelihood of viewers tuning out during ad breaks.
Context Is Key for CTV Engagement
The importance of hyper-relevance in CTV engagement cannot be overstated. As Mike Renfro, VP of Brand and Agency Partnerships at Silverpush, pointed out, achieving contextually aligned in-video moments, a feat only possible through video-level pre-bid decisioning, is the bullseye of bidstream targeting. First-party audience data, while valuable, is insufficient if your ad doesn’t grab the viewer’s attention. AI precision ensures that your message reaches the right audience at the perfect moment and within the most fitting context.
AI-Enabled Contextual Targeting’s Boost to Brand Impact
The impact of AI-enabled contextual targeting on brands cannot be understated. The study’s findings shed light on how this cutting-edge advertising approach is reshaping the landscape and delivering tangible benefits for brands, ultimately enhancing the effectiveness of their campaigns and brand recognition.
Increased Brand Interest: One of the standout results from the study was the revelation that a significant 42% of viewers reported a heightened interest in brands and their products when they were exposed to AI-enabled contextually targeted ads. This statistic speaks volumes about the power of relevance. When viewers see ads that seamlessly align with the content they are consuming, it piques their curiosity and draws them closer to the brand. In essence, it’s not just about watching an ad; it’s about engaging with it and developing a genuine interest in what the brand has to offer.
Enhanced Product Understanding: The impact goes beyond mere interest; it extends to an increased understanding of the products featured in these ads. According to the study, 38% of viewers stated that they gained a deeper understanding of the products showcased in AI-enabled contextually targeted ads. This finding underscores the educational role of such advertising. When ads align with the content contextually, viewers are not only more interested in the brand but also more informed about the products being presented. This, in turn, can lead to informed purchasing decisions and a more positive brand perception.
Amit Nigam, VP of Product at Beachfront, emphasizes the profound significance of these findings, particularly for the advertising ecosystem. He highlights that enhancing transparency for buyers and boosting returns for programmers is of paramount importance. In this era of data-driven marketing, AI stands out as a powerful tool for advertisers seeking to improve key branding measures and capture the attention of their target audience. By enriching contextual data with AI, brands can achieve a level of precision and relevance that was previously difficult to attain. This, in turn, helps them stand out in a crowded advertising landscape and ensure their message reaches the right audience at precisely the right moment and in the most fitting context.
The impact of AI-enabled contextual targeting on brands goes beyond superficial impressions. It fosters genuine brand interest, deepens product understanding, and contributes to the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. As brands continue to seek innovative ways to engage with their audience, the strategic use of AI in contextually targeted advertising is proving to be a game-changer in the world of marketing.
Brand Suitability: The Cornerstone of Viewer Engagement
In the dynamic world of digital advertising, one crucial factor has emerged as a linchpin for success: brand suitability. This concept revolves around the alignment of ads with the content they accompany, and it has a profound impact on viewer engagement and brand favorability. The study underscores the pivotal role that brand suitability plays in the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.
The Impact of Misalignment: The consequences of misaligned content and ads can be profound, as the study reveals. When content and ads fail to synchronize, viewers can become disoriented and frustrated, resulting in a negative perception of the brand. An illustrative example from the study vividly demonstrates this point. Imagine a scenario where a lighthearted comedy scene, filled with jokes about a serious disease, is immediately followed by a pharmaceutical ad promoting a drug for treating that very disease. The juxtaposition of humor and a serious subject matter creates a jarring and dissonant experience for viewers, leaving them with a negative impression.
Viewer Responses: The study found that more than half of the respondents (54%) displayed decreased interest in brands that featured contextually misaligned ads. This statistic underscores the significance of brand suitability in maintaining viewer engagement. Furthermore, over one-third of viewers expressed a diminished liking for the brand and reduced attention when ads were placed in unsuitable environments. Such adverse reactions to contextually misaligned ads highlight the importance of ensuring that advertising content resonates with the context it inhabits.
The Role of Generic Ads: It’s evident that generic, one-size-fits-all ads in contextually unsuitable environments are the least engaging. These ads often lead to disengagement and, in some cases, rejection by viewers. This underscores the need for precision and nuance in ad placement to avoid alienating audiences and negatively impacting brand perception.
Matt Duffy, Chief Marketing Officer of Pixability, emphasized the critical importance of vigilance among brands in ensuring their ads align with content to avoid negative effects on their audiences. In the age of AI-driven advertising solutions, it’s now possible to not only target but also filter for brand suitability with the utmost precision. This ensures that brands reach the right viewers at precisely the right time and in a context that enhances, rather than detracts from, the viewer experience.
The landscape of CTV advertising is undergoing a profound transformation, driven by the shift towards contextual relevance. This transformation reflects the evolving preferences of consumers, who are increasingly inclined to engage with ads that seamlessly blend with the content they are watching. As a result, it has become imperative for brands to integrate deep content data into their targeting strategies to thrive in the ever-evolving world of streaming. The study’s findings underscore that, in this new advertising paradigm, brand suitability is the cornerstone of viewer engagement and brand favorability, making it a critical consideration for any successful advertising campaign.
To conduct this study, AVCA partnered with Tobii, a leading research organization specializing in eye tracking and attention computing. Participants wore eye-tracking glasses while watching three episodes of a popular TV-MA sitcom. Each participant watched the same episodes, with the order of exposure to control and test ads randomized and distributed evenly.
Alliance for Video-Level Contextual Advertising (AVCA)
The Alliance for Video-Level Contextual Advertising (AVCA) comprises advertising technology experts dedicated to advancing the role of video-level contextual intelligence. Their mission is to fund research into the use of AI for contextual advertising in the realm of streaming. With expertise in advertising technology, artificial intelligence, and data connectivity, AVCA members aim to ensure ad-supported streaming offers the best user experience for viewers and the highest value for publishers and brands. For more information, visit www.avca-tv.org.
This article was written by AI and edited by Bill Hartzer.