Contextually Aligned Ads Drive a 93% Increase in Brand Awareness, University of Southern California and Channel Factory Find

Ads, Business, Creativity, Marketing, Studies

Channel Factory,  a global technology and data platform that maximizes performance efficiency and brand suitability on YouTube, announced findings from a new study that show contextually aligned ads drive a 93% increase in brand awareness. Channel Factory partnered with the University of Southern California’s Applied Consumer Psychology department to survey 354 respondents to better understand brand awareness lift, and attributes such as shareability, engagement, entertainment, credibility, and believability caused by contextual alignment. In addition to the significant increase in brand awareness, the study also found that consumers are more likely to consider a brand (4.11%) and share (3.24%) contextually aligned ads compared to misaligned ads.

“It was surprising to see how significantly contextual alignment affected ad perceptions and brand outcomes. Most noteworthy, we found that contextually aligned ads were 93% more memorable than misaligned ads. Other research has supported that context matters for ad placement, but the results are rarely this impressive. This shows that there is a clear benefit to aligning ads with congruent content, rather than simply placing ads where there is larger audiences” says Dr. Jorge Barazza, professor of Consumer Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC).

In the survey, respondents were presented with a series of pre-roll ads followed by video content that was contextually aligned or misaligned. After each ad-video pairing, a series of questions were asked about brand relevant attributes and outcomes.

  • Ad attributes tested: shareability, engagement, entertainment, credibility, and believability
  • Brand outcomes tested: consideration, purchase intent, and brand recall

The study looked at the variance in the effectiveness of contextual alignment by industry category. In particular, respondents reported the following for contextually aligned ads over misaligned ads:

  • CPG – 9.7% lift in entertainment value
  • QSR – 9.1% increase in product consideration

The report finds that across all industries, a 2.5% improvement for all ad attributes and brand lift outcomes when ads and content are contextually aligned compared to when they are misaligned. The report also notes that consumers are more likely to be entertained and engaged, as well as believe, trust, consider, recall, share, and increase their intent to purchase a brand’s products if their advertisements are aligned with the content presented.

“The findings from the study support the results that we see for our clients that leverage contextual targeting on YouTube,” said Lauren Douglas SVP of Marketing at Channel Factory. “Viewers respond positively to contextually aligned content. As an industry, we swung away from contextual targeting, and with everything from brand safety concerns to limits to cookie-based targeting, we see contextual re-emerging as both a smart and effective strategy.”

Channel Factory worked closely with the USC team and targeted 354 respondents (50/50 male and female) serving them a series of contextually aligned or misaligned ads (like an M&M ad with an M&M unboxing video, or a cereal ad against car content). After each ad-video pairing, a series of questions were asked about brand relevant attributes  and outcomes. Participants were asked questions on a 5 – point scale, free response, and multiple choice. They were tested on ad attributes like shareability, engagement, believability, as well as consideration, purchase intent, and brand recall.

Jorge Barraza is an assistant professor of Consumer Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC). He is also co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at Immersion, which provides scalable technologies that leverage neuroscience to quantify deeply immersive experiences. As a scientist, Dr. Barraza has raised over 1.5 million in research grants and published numerous peer-reviewed articles on the neuroscience of emotional engagement, prosocial motivation, and the use of stories to influence costly decisions.

Channel Factory is a global technology and data platform that maximizes both performance efficiency and brand suitability, turning YouTube’s 5 billion videos and 500 hours per minute of new content into brand suitable, efficient advertising opportunities. Channel Factory’s mission is to create a suitable video ecosystem that connects creators, brands, and consumers – by providing advertisers access to the most relevant videos, channels and creators.

Through their proprietary platform that harnesses the power of the deepest YouTube dataset in the industry, Channel Factory has enabled advanced brand suitability, customized content targeting, and maximum performance for the world’s biggest brands. Channel Factory’s algorithm ensures not only that advertisers run against content that aligns to their brand, but also delivers outcomes by optimizing campaigns using active and historical campaign performance data.

Channel Factory has offices across the USA, and is present in over 30 countries worldwide including the United Kingdom, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Ukraine, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.