Context trumps data

Context trumps data

Now it’s been proved – context is super important for ads in digital media. With the right audience and the right context advertisers can triple their effect.

This is shown in a study on how advertisers should navigate the digital landscape of new technology, data and purchasing methods. The study is conducted by Schibsted Sales and Inventory (SSI) and Erik Modig, researcher at Stockholm School of Economics, together with 16 advertisers from major Swedish brands.

The fact that an advertisement’s impact is significantly affected by the type of media in which it appears, might not sound like a big surprise – it has been a well-known truth within print for decades.

But within digital marketing there are many opinions about what matters, not least now that programmatic buying is growing. Some say that the context does not matter as long as the right pairs of eyes are reached, others consider the context to be key. There are also differing opinions on how to build brands and create sales. Should you advertise broadly – or focus on target audiences?

And finally, when it comes to conversion and call-to-action – what should be done then? Should slow-moving brands think in the same terms as fast-moving brands? What distinguishes high-engagement products from those with a lower degree of involvement?

The effect doubles

The SSI study focuses on the importance digital context has on the effects of advertising and how an advertiser should think regarding broad and targeted communications. It’s divided into three parts:

• The importance of the digital channel context in creating advertising effects when advertising online.
• When advertisers should choose a broad audience for their communications and when is it better to focus on a specific target audience.
• What effect different types of target audience data have.

The result shows that the context in which the advertising message is published is of great importance. On average the effect doubles with the right audience and triples with the right context and the right target group.

Therefore, even when there is a lot of data about who is being reached, the context almost always trumps data, especially when it comes to getting customers to act and, not least, with lesser-known brands.