Top lessons for advertisers
As outlined in the introduction to this special section, it is important that advertisers take context into account to improve campaign effectiveness. Of course, the “right context” is a broad concept. It can mean, for instance: focusing on media with a strong relationship with its users; ensuring that your message is displayed in the right Umfeld; or matching the mood of your ad with the mood of your consumers. To illustrate the broad application of this study for advertisers, we will highlight how its results can help to improve contextual advertising in three ways:
- The right fit between message and medium
- The right fit between brand and medium
- The right fit between audience and medium
The right fit between message and medium
Whether the message of an ad is about sustainability, trust, or another elemental advertising theme, one thing is for sure: when that message is consumed in a relevant and fitting context, it is better processed and thus realizes more impact. So it’s extremely important to consider how well a media partner is perceived across these core advertising themes. With this study, we were able to compare media brands across a huge number of dimensions. We have highlighted four core attributes that correspond with popular campaign themes and brand objectives, and identified the top performing media brands across these attributes.
- Creative: Video is the category that ranks highest on creativity, while news media is the lowest. Looking at the top three brands, we see a mix of media categories, with Vtwonen, Pinterest, and YouTube claiming the top spots in that order.
- Fun: When it comes to Fun, the audio category has the strongest position, surpassing even video brands in this area. On an individual media brand level, Donald Duck outperforms all others, followed by Comedy Central and YouTube.
- Idealistic: Between categories of media brands, we don’t see huge differences in perceived Idealism. However, we do see clear distinctions on the individual brand level. For instance, the news dailies Trouw, NRC, and De Volkskrant are all in the top four, while AD and De Telegraaf score way lower in the rankings for Idealism.
- Trustworthy: One of the dimensions with the largest differences between categories is Trustworthiness. News media brands outperform all other categories on this attribute, with only video getting close. In contrast, negative headlines about Facebook have clearly had an impact on the Trustworthiness of social platforms: the social category ranks lowest for this attribute, and Facebook and Snapchat are in the bottom four brands for Trustworthiness (while six social platforms are in the bottom 11 brands for this attribute).
The right fit between brand and medium
At MediaCom, we have done many studies on the impact of branded sponsorships. One of the key elements for success here is the fit between the brand itself and the sponsored item or program. The better the fit – that is, the more natural the sponsorship is – the more likeable the partnership will be, and the more impact it will have. You can think of this dynamic as akin to two people meeting each other: the better their characters match, the more likely it will be that they have a good time. One thing BrandZ™ can do is help to match the characters of brands with media partners. This is done by identifying a brand’s personality attributes, and fitting it into one of 10 archetypes (for which there are corresponding media brand partners that share these archetypes). We have highlighted four of those personality archetypes, and matched each with media and consumer brands in the extensive BrandZ™ database. Doing so reveals, for instance, that a Rebellious media brand like VI would be a great match with brands like Desperados or EasyJet. In the same way, we could match NPO with brands like Douwe Egberts or Volvo.
The right fit between audience and medium
A final dimension of "advertising in context” is ensuring that a media brand has the right authority or meaningfulness for your target audience. We know from readership research that the stronger the bond is between an audience and a media brand, the more attention they pay and the more time they spend with content from that brand. Therefore, this bond will have a clear impact on the effectiveness of a campaign. Identifying a media brand’s strength across different audiences is thus a key element to building smarter media plans.
For example: we looked at the age groups 18-34 and 55-65, and identified the brands for which we saw the biggest differences in favorability between the two audiences. We found that Netflix, Instagram, and Spotify clearly had a much greater brand strength amongst youngsters than they did amongst the 55+ set. Conversely, from the perspective of our 55+ respondents, brands like NPO 1, Radio 2, and Facebook score much higher than they did among younger consumers. The trend of youngsters turning away from Facebook and switching to Instagram is clearly reflected in these results.
Do keep in mind that a relative high score for 55+ consumers doesn’t have to mean that a brand is performing poorly in an absolute sense among the younger set. For instance, Facebook is still the number 13 brand amongst 18-34 year olds, and its reach is actually higher in this age group than among older users. However, Facebook is the number three brand in overall measures of brand strength for 55+ consumers, so we can nevertheless say that Facebook generally performs better with older consumers.