Contextual advertising is fast gaining popularity in the marketplace by getting a special mention in marketers’ radar. The emergence of data privacy regulations like GDPR, CCPA, and browser crackdowns on cookies, are controlling and putting limitations on how data and tracking can be exerted to target digital advertising.

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The latest study titled “Cognitextual: A Neuroanalytic Study of Contextual Ad Effectiveness” conducted by GumGum in partnership with a neuro analytics company SPARK Neuro was focussed on how an advertisement’s contextual relevance to the content, influences consumers.

Simply put, the research show contextual advertising has unfolded as a compelling ad targeting method – among advances in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP). The study involves an experiment with 60 participants from the U.S., U.K., and Japan. They were given six articles on different topics with three ads. The researchers used biometric sensors – to track participants’ brain electrical activity, evaluate emotions, reactions, attention, and other physiological responses. Besides, a survey and in-person interviews were also conducted to understand which ads people remembered the most.

Citing Horst Stipp of the Advertising Research Foundation in the latest article for the Journal of Advertising Research,  “The new research clearly corroborates the premise that the context in which an advertisement is placed likely will influence consumers’ perceptions of and response to the advertising…It confirms that the processes that generate such effects are complex.”

The principal findings from the study:

  • Contextually relevant ads created 43% more neural engagement – about 2.2 times better ad recall. The ads were more engaging, nearly 10% than the content of the article overall.
  • The high contextually relevant ads are memorable – nearly 1.6X of the lower ones
  • Ads with banner are the most engaging; however, they are difficult to remember
  • With the rise in contextual relevance from low to high, neural engagement surged up to 13% – i.e., More contextual relevance = More neural engagement
  • To drive sales, the ads should have to be contextually relevant

As reported by the respondents, the study suggests that contextually relevant ads have prompted a notable statistical increase in the purchase intent. According to Phil Schraeder, CEO of GumGum reported to having said in the press release, “We know that contextual targeting done right delivers the reliable results that brands need, especially as the industry searches for solutions in the wake of the cookies’ demise…What’s significant about these findings is that they clearly show why contextual is so effective: Neural engagement is a big driver of direct response performance, memorability supports branding plays, and purchase intent moves the needle for both branding and direct response.”

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As the third-party data ecosystem is ending, many market leaders are being forced to re-think their marketing as well as advertisement strategies. However, the loss of data is not as awful as it is being made out to be. And, as mentioned in the report, “Marketers are still learning about the role that context plays in how ads are perceived—and in the digital age, they’re finding that it may be more important than ever.”