Can brands effectively target consumers without collecting their data? That’s the question an insightful collaborative study conducted by Interpublic’s Magna and IPG Media Lab and YouTube content targeting platform Zefr. Not surprisingly, it found the answer is “yes,” and not-so-coincidentally, the solution is using content, not personal data, to target people.
The insight is a nod to the pre-behavioral targeting days of media planning and buying when agencies and brands utilized the context of the content people were consuming as a proxy for the audiences they were targeting.
While the effectiveness and efficiency of using content to target people isn’t necessarily new, the study reveals interesting insights about the impact different forms of targeting -- content, demographics, and “channel” (using popular YouTube channels, as opposed to the explicit content of a video) as the proxy -- on consumers’ perceptions of advertising.
One of the most striking findings is that consumers deem ads contextually targeted based on the content they’re viewing to be inherently less “intrusive” than ads targeted other ways.
The content targeted ads were also perceived to be more relevant by twice as many respondents (67%) than ads targeted via demographics (31%) or YouTube channels (33%).
The content targeted ads also scored higher in terms of other attributes -- “informative,” “authentic,” “entertaining,” “interesting” -- as well as in terms of key persuasion metrics.
That insight is supported in recent years by a variety of neuromarketing studies that have shown ads that are contextually relevant with the content and media consumers see them in, create more relevant connections.
Attitudes and perceptions aside, the study also found stronger performance results for content targeted ads. Specifically, lower rates of skipping and highe rates of completion of ads viewed.