Why proper use of contextual targeting needs to focus on mindset more than metadata, report

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November 17, 2021 by Michael Bürgi

In the latest chapter of the never-ending search for effectiveness married with efficiency, IPG’s MAGNA unit, through its MAGNA Media Trials arm, has joined forces with GumGum to study optimal times and ways to employ contextual targeting. Their ultimate revelation: it’s all about using context when the consumer’s in the right mindset.

Given that contextual targeting is GumGum’s principal line of business, it comes as little surprise that the study’s bottom-line finding is that, when used properly, the tactic can deliver better results for clients. It may sound a bit obvious, but when you dive into the details of properly leveraging mindset, contextual pulls off a few statistical surprises, according to the research, said Kara Manatt, senior vp of intelligence solutions at MAGNA. 

Sharing the report exclusively with Digiday, Manatt noted that the Media Trials team came back to the topic of contextual targeting because of the advancements in machine learning and other technology that enable a more nuanced understanding of content beyond just reading metadata. It’s also why MAGNA chose GumGum as a partner to conduct the report, entitled “Mindset Matters: Deconstructing Contextual Video.” 

Four of IPG’s clients were recruited to participate, in the categories of retail, beauty, real estate and telecom, but Manatt declined to identify them. 

Some of the report’s results: 

* When there’s alignment between a given ad and the content it appears in, search intent rises by 7 percent while brand relevancy rises 6 percent.

* The study also found that contextual video targeting has the potential to bump up brand favorability by 4 percent, recommendation intent by 5 percent and search intent  by 6 percent. 

* Video content is 47 percent more effective at reaching the right people at the right time, with 60 percent of respondents feeling the ad was something they were open to at the time, and 52 percent feeling they were in the mood to view the ad. 

“Contextual is always going to be very important because you’re not using personal information, you’re simply targeting the content,” said Manatt. “But is it the right people or the right mindset that’s driving effectiveness? What we found was, while it’s always important to reach the right people, really the powerhouse behind contextual is the fact that you’re reaching people in a relevant mindset.” 

“This study proves why the distinction between the two types of contextual technology is important for advertisers to understand,” said GumGum CEO Phil Schraeder in a statement shared with Digiday. “In order to use contextual to drive campaign outcomes, the technology needs to be able to understand the actual video not just the words describing it.”

Although contextual video was the only medium explored in the study, Manatt said she believes the findings can apply to any use of contextual targeting. “With more accurate and better data, you’re going to do a better job aligning and identifying what is and isn’t contextually relevant for a brand.”

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