The industry’s lack of understanding of transfer advertising means that many brands are not reaping its benefits in digital environments, says MediaScience CEO Dr Duane Varan.
Handoff refers to how an ad is influenced by the environment in which it is placed, a thematic audience research lab whose benefits MediaScience has extensively studied. According to Dr Varan, advertisers’ lack of understanding of how it works means brands are not taking full advantage of the transfer.
“The market has a pretty simplistic understanding of how the transfer works,” he says.
“The way the market generally understands it is based on emotional congruence. And that is certainly an effect. If there’s a sitcom and it’s funny, you’re more likely to laugh at an ad than you otherwise would. So people who have a funny ad are more inclined to put it in a funny program. This is usually how the market understood the transfer, but this is only one way that value can be delivered.
“For example, sport is about transferring excitement, it’s not about exciting advertising. Ads benefit people who are more likely to view the brand in a more favorable light because they are in an excited mood. It is an arousal transfer effect rather than an emotional congruence effect.
The way the transfer works means that advertisers can benefit from it in unlikely places. For example, inserting advertisements in news environments – even if it is negative reporting – can improve recall because audiences are more alert when consuming news.
“Our research shows that contrary to expectations, news is actually a better environment for advertisements. But, perhaps even more surprisingly, negative reporting does better than positive reporting, which is really counterintuitive, ”says Dr Varan.
“The reason is, usually, that you care more about negative stories. These stories mean more to them, so your brain is in gear than it is with a positive story that feels good.
But beyond that, MediaScience’s research for US TV Networks also found that with such stories, mood repair kicks in, where the ads help change their mindset.
“Ads often help people get back to being positive,” says Dr Varan. “A lot of ads are generally funny, they are generally enjoyable and can therefore play that role for a person subconsciously by restoring the mood.”
“People don’t do it knowingly, but it does help them regain their balance. So this is another reason why it may also be possible.
And MediaScience research has found support for at least seven other types of transfer effects, each working in very different ways.
ThinkPremiumDigital CEO Venessa Hunt said digital marketers tend to overlook the transfer because of their goal of simply reaching the right audiences.
However, Hunt says the increased focus on contextual targeting due to the demise of third-party cookies means it is becoming an increasingly important tool for advertisers.
“When digital had fewer points of contact for consumers and commanded a smaller share of investment, most branding was done offline,” says Hunt.
“However, as digital experiences have matured to become the primary or first point of contact for consumers, the opportunity to build a brand in digital has opened up. Understanding the different types of positive brand transfer will help brands better invest to build brands in digital environments.
Dr Varan adds that the market also needs a better understanding of addressability which, combined with context, can improve campaign performance.
MediaScience reviewed the merger of the two for sports channel ESPN. The broadcaster used data to target sports fans by serving them ads based on whether their team won or lost.
“The data showed that this was really powerful, because if you’re enthusiastic, the type of message that would work in that context is not the right type of message if your team is losing,” says Dr Varan. .
“So sitting down and trying to optimize the message based on the respondent’s emotional state is a great example of where context meets addressability. But the market is very far from this level of sophistication.
“We just need more appetite. We need more thirst to understand the context and understand the key to successful addressability, rather than just starting from market assumptions. There are players who are doing better, but as an industry we still have a long way to go.
Hunt is optimistic that the market will advance in this area, saying some customers are already there. However, the general lack of understanding means that many brands are not doing simple things like using dynamic creations to reach the right consumers in the right way.
“Finding that sweet spot between addressability and context means your results can be supercharged,” says Hunt.
“Historically, what has held us back is the cost associated with production. But using technology and automation to reduce some of those creative costs helps.
“I think there will be a hockey stick effect where we start to see a huge increase in the number of people bringing together both addressability and the ability to target or audience to get better results.
“With all of the data and privacy changes happening, we’re looking at the biggest change we’ve seen since the start of digital advertising and so the focus on context and creativity has never been more important. than today. “
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