While the finding was a small part of a wide-ranging
study, it suggests some softness in the long-held belief that ads shown in context are more valuable than those seen out of context. The study is notable because it gauged the most valuable customers:
those passionate enough about subjects to spread messages--including brand messages--among their peers.
The study supports earlier research by behavioral targeting companies like Tacoda and Blue Lithium. A Tacoda study in late 2005 found that users actually noticed out-of-context placements based on behaviors more than in-context placements. And according to an Oct. 2006 study by Blue Lithium, out-of-context, behaviorally targeted ads yielded higher conversion rates, though fewer clicks.