It is not only the creative that counts, but also the content around it. This is one of the conclusions of a new research published by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) in August. The group, which represents large online publishers such as the New York Times, McGraw-Hill, CNN and many others, suggests that placing ads on content sites increases ads’ effectiveness, compared to placing them on portals and ad networks.
In the research, the OPA tracked five key effectiveness metrics: Aided brand awareness, online brand awareness, message association, brand favorability and purchase intent. By using Dynamic Logic’s MarketNorms database, the study tracked metrics on OPA member sites as a proxy for content sites, portals and ad networks.
Unsurprisingly, video remains one of the most effective mediums to convey marketing messages. Video ads on content sites increased purchase intent by 163 percent compared to MarketNorms average and by 93 percent compared to portals.
The research indicates that content sites had significantly higher effectiveness in raising awareness, creating message association, generating brand favorability and driving purchase intent over portals, ad networks and the overall MarketNorms average. Online ad awareness metrics were 21 percent greater for ads on content sites than overall MarketNorms and portals, and 50 percent more than ad networks. Purchase intent was about two-thirds higher on content sites than portals, nine times that of ad networks and 50 percent greater than overall MarketNorms.
What is the reason for this increase in effectiveness? While providing abundance of numbers and charts, the OPA’s only explanation for the higher effectiveness is that its members provide “quality content”.
This portrays only a part of the picture. A deeper look into the results suggests that content ebsites allows advertisers to reach a more targeted audience, compared with portals or ad networks, and to tailor their marketing message for this audience. Relevant and tailored marketing messages in ads tend to be stickier. For example, advertisers of a new action film may find it easier to reach their audience of young teenager males on sites with content that appeals directly to that group.
The conclusion of this research offers a broader message than the increased effectiveness of content websites. It speaks to the importance of targeting and message tailoring to increase marketing effectiveness-getting the right message to the right ears. To do that, the creative’s message should coincide with the content around it-and this research provides a quantifiable justification for that.
Ariel Geifman | Research Analyst