Want Extra From Your Digital Advert Spend? Undertake Contextual Alignment | Advertising and marketing


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A recent study of eBay Ads found that the effectiveness of advertising for digital brands is overestimated by up to 4,100 percent. A similar analysis of Facebook ads found a figure of 4,000 percent.

If these high numbers make you wondering whether you are wasting way too much advertising dollars on your business targeting the wrong audience, Dr. Jorge Barraza, professor of applied psychology at the University of Southern California, offer solace for doing just that.

He agrees with current research that many digital advertisers are spending too much on targeting an already loyal customer base rather than tapping into new streams. But comfort yourself. He has a plan to help advertisers reach consumers who would not normally buy their products.

Barraza advocates the use of contextual targeting to help businesses get the most out of their digital advertising spend. His expertise in the psychology behind costly decisions enables him to know a few things about how digital advertisers can connect with new customer bases.

Barraza’s work focuses on the neurophysiology of emotional states, as well as decisions and motivations for costly behavior. He argues that contextual alignment is an integral part of consumer engagement with new brands.

“We found that contextual ads are 93 percent more memorable than misaligned ads. There’s a clear benefit to targeting ads to congruent content rather than just serving ads where there is a larger audience,” he told CRM Buyer .


Barraza’s own research confirms many times that two principles of traditional advertising don’t work reliably well for the rising tide of digital advertising happening today. In fact, his research puts a pen in the bladder that typical ad salespeople inflate. Maybe two pens.

These two bubbles form the basis of the jargon and sales rules known as “lift” and “conversion rate”. The explanations are simple. Marketing reps sell ads on the premise that they will create behavioral changes in buyers known as a lift. Ad salespeople are delighted to see how sales increase after customers view the display ads. This process is known as the conversion rate.

Barraza took part in a special research project last year that tested the effectiveness of contextual ads. This study was conducted in collaboration with Channel Factory and USC’s Applied Consumer Psychology Division to interview 354 respondents. The aim was to better understand the increase in brand awareness and attributes such as divisibility, engagement, entertainment, credibility and credibility that arise from the contextual orientation.

In addition to the significant increase in brand awareness, the study also found that consumers were more likely to consider a brand (4.11 percent) and share contextual ads (3.24 percent) than misaligned ads.

All research shows that there is a clear advantage in targeting ads to congruent content rather than just placing ads where larger audiences congregate, according to Barraza.

Omnichannel campaigns

Callum Campbell, CEO of corporate automation company Linnworks, finds these findings to be extremely meaningful, even though they are not involved in any of the psychological foundations that Barraza’s research uncovered. It ties in with the notion that an effortless economy is necessary after the shopping shift caused by the pandemic.

This shift is creating increased consumer demand for direct-to-consumer purchases powered by digital advertising. It offers another point of sale, he said CRM Buyer.

“As more brands go direct to consumers, they need to sell in their own web store as well as marketplaces. They also need to be on social networks. Brands will be looking customers for different types of experience platforms,” ​​he explained.

This new process and the success of digital advertising will have an impact on digital advertising spending. They are all part of this holistic strategy called total trade by trading platform providers, Campbell said.

“The idea that different channels serve different customer needs and possibly the same customer in a different environment with a different attitude towards a purchase” is key to realizing better digital ad spend.

Cutting factors

Barraza’s specialty is the interface between emotion neuroscience and decision making. Much of his work has focused on consumer behavior.

Know how brands communicate with audiences, especially audiences who are changing their behavior for their new goals. Many habits change in the process. People are either introduced to new companies, products, or brands, or they can rethink them in certain ways, he explained.

“Advertisers spend too much time targeting the wrong audience segment. We’re targeting people who are already attuned to the product and they (advertisers) need to change their approach to marketing,” said Barraza.

The new field of digital research must essentially focus on what advertisers can do to get the synapses in the brains of their target audiences to tune in to what they are not attuned to. Typically, marketers have few potential goals in mind: forming an opinion about that audience, changing an impression for that audience, or being up to date, he noted.

“In both cases where attention, memory and emotion are involved, the advertiser in the digital space has not received much attention,” added Barraza.

Refine the tests

The types of tests marketers still use for digital ad effectiveness come from experience with non-digital knowledge. According to Barraza, these are typically A / B tests where you just throw content away and see how many clicks it gets.

“Well, if you create these types of ads and you choose the ads based on the number of clicks they get, you basically get the clicks from the people who are already picking those things,” he said.

Instead, you really need to keep track of different data, not in terms of the number of total impressions they are receiving, but in terms of the number of novel impressions things are receiving, he countered. This means that you need to determine if you are reaching new markets with these particular marketing approaches.

For example, find out if an ad is actually better when it has fewer impressions, but those impressions are reaching new markets, new sparkling segment groups that may be of interest that you haven’t reached before with such a classic approach, Barraza explained.

Evaluation of ad spend

Marketers should consider certain key questions when targeting their digital ads to the right recipients. Often times, they shouldn’t be aimed at people who don’t need to be targeted. Whenever you are looking for new audiences, clear goals should be kept in mind.

Barraza suggested this list of things marketers should focus on when targeting your digital ads:

  • Are these new target groups?
  • Are these people who don’t buy from you or people you don’t know?
  • Do you form an opinion or an attitude about your brand or your product or do you change your impressions?
  • Is this a group that really doesn’t care about you and the brand because they don’t have you on their mind?

Barraza also recommends asking yourself if your digital ad is being received in a way that needs to be addressed to this audience. The viewers can be emotional, or the ad can suggest the type of relationship you want to build with them.

“In this age, it’s hard to get people’s attention and it can really be about resonating with audiences in certain ways,” he concluded.

Jack M. Germain has been a reporter for the ECT News Network since 2003. His main focus is corporate IT, Linux and open source technologies. He is a well-respected reviewer of Linux distributions and other open source software. Jack also deals extensively with business technology and data protection issues, as well as developments in e-commerce and consumer electronics. Email to Jack.

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