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Out-of-Context Ads Prove Effective

  • Adweek, Thursday, September 27, 2007 10:45 AM
MediaVest casts doubt on the belief that online ads are most effective when placed near content related to the product. In a study of consumers passionate about a particular subject area, product ads displayed out of context had roughly the same impact on brand preference as identical placements shown next to related content.

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.

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