By Pedro Almeida
Edited by Ana Jovanoski
The impact of the context in which TV ads are displayed represents a critical point for advertisers. Understandably, it is also a major area in both academic and advertising research. Variables such as programming, format, and familiarity with the content, have been the research subject of many studies. These studies normally use self-report measures including ad recall and ad likeability as outcome variables.
One important meta-analysis (Kwon, King, Nyilasy, and Reid, 2018) shows that (1) involvement with the context, (2) compatibility between context and advertisement, and (3) attitude towards the program are key factors in promoting ad recall. Furthermore, this suggests that positive or enjoyable viewing experiences, along with relevant ads, have a significant impact on ad recall.
Positive or enjoyable viewing experiences, along with relevant ads, have a significant impact on ad recall.
Emotional context, ad position, and ad impact
In our work with broadcasters and brands, we have shown the main effects of emotional contexts in promoting positive brand outcomes. A repeated observation is that there is a strong carry-over effect from the content to the ads. When people are excited by the content, they are more reactive to the ads they watch during the commercial break.
What this means is that ads positioned immediately after engaging moments benefit from the excitement caused by the content. In other words, these ads are seen as more engaging themselves.
These results have powerful effects on media planning and raise big questions about the way TV advertising is traded. One suggestion is that advertising should be more effective if served in multiple smaller breaks rather than in longer ones. For better impact, each ad should be closer to the content.
A repeated observation is that there is a strong carry-over effect from the content to the ads. When people are excited by the content, they are more reactive to the ads they watch during the commercial break.
Ad placement: Testing the impact
To prove this, the MindProber research department designed a test. Moreover, we manipulated some features such as length, position in the content, and the number of breaks.
Why was this important?
Some markets typically have only one long break (~15 min) per program. In others, such as the UK, advertisement breaks are shorter (~5 min) and more frequent.
For this test, we recorded an entertainment show (Masked Singer), and created two versions:
- Impact C1 or Condition 1 with a single 15-minute ad break
- Impact C2 or Condition 2 with three 5-minute breaks (equally distributed within the content).
We showed this content to the members of a panel who had not seen this programme before (each group watched one version of the content). Participants watched the content as their biometric activity was collected in the comfort of their homes.
At the end of the test, participants filled a spontaneous ad recall survey.
Ad placement: Test results
The main results of our test show that ads displayed in Condition 2 (shorter and more frequent ad blocks) evoked higher galvanic skin responses than ads inserted in longer breaks.
For a clearer illustration, the following figure shows a comparison of engagement timelines for the two Conditions while a specific ad frame is displayed. The EDA level in Condition 2 is higher when compared to the first test Condition 1.
Ad recall and brand success
Finally, to test ad recall, participants were asked to name all the advertised brands they saw during the programme.
Once again, the results show that Condition 2 achieved a significantly higher percentage of ad recall. More importantly, the panelists mentioned some of the brands only after the Condition 2 test version.
Ad performance: Recap of major findings
The results of the MindProber platform for measuring the impact of media content show how ad impact and ad recall can be boosted.
They confirm that the way ad delivery is planned and measured is a highly important process for achieving positive brand outcomes.
Creating engaging content is key for superior ad performance.
Ads placed in premium contexts are lifted way beyond the sheer number of eyeballs they are exposed to.
MindProber uses cutting-edge science and technology to measure audience engagement with media content. We offer a full-fledged platform for media testing, powered by biometric monitoring of hundreds of viewers in their homes.
Contact us and boost your ad performance!