Neuro Research Shows Ads Aligned With Video Content Have Stronger Impact

Neurological research into the human brain and connected television (CTV) advertising suggests ads that align with the video content being seen have a stronger impact with viewers, increasing ad memorability, brand impact, and other metrics.

Integral Ad Science (IAS), in partnership with Neuro-Insight, conducted a study measuring participants’ brain activity to understand the impact of context matching and ad repetition on CTV.

As ad budgets continue to shift to streaming, IAS and Neuro-Insight set out to identify ways to leverage the strengths of CTV content classification from the human brain.

The findings show how advertisers can increase ad relevance on CTV through both tone and context. The team also decoded the science of advertising frequency and why it is a critical concept for both advertisers and streaming publishers.



IAS and Neuro-Insight studied 137 participants in a controlled environment that simulated an ad-supported streaming experience. All participants watched the exact same content described as comedy with contextual themes of classroom settings, basketball, and students and children.

Participants were shown 20 ads from 20 well-known brands across five verticals, including food and beverage, telecommunications, entertainment, finance, and consumer packaged goods (CPG). The ads varied across length of time and narrative type.

Line charts in the report explain brain activity, indicating levels of global memory, engagement, emotional intensity, detail memory, and approach and withdraw. The line shows points in the ad tested that fall below, above, or within the average benchmarks for the aforementioned metrics.

The data shows that the brain becomes active and aids viewer engagement when watching a show, and reveal a more than 14% increase in brand impact when ads match the tone of the content being viewed on CTV.

The data identified an increase of more than 39% in brand impact when ads match the context of the content being viewed on CTV. A show featuring basketball would run ads about basketball, for example.  

It also found a 49% increase in brand impact when ads match both the tone and context of the content being viewed on CTV. For example, when a humorous ad appears in a funny show, or an emotional ad appears in an emotional show.

Ads that aligned with the video content can mitigate the impact of repetition and show better performance among viewers despite increased frequency.

While little to no dropoff can be seen in brand impact upon the third viewing of a CTV ad, a fourth viewing starts to show significant decline -- about 26% in brand impact.

Ensuring that ads with increased frequency match both context and tone of the content can help improve brand impact by up to 82%, according to the study.

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