Mauricio Martínez
Managing Director - Insights Division
Kantar Mexico
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Expert Contributor

The Importance of Placing Ad Creativity in the Right Context

By Mauricio Martínez | Mon, 12/13/2021 - 15:56

If content is king, then context is queen. Marketers who don't test their advertising in the right context risk undermining the power of their content.

While it might be easy to assume that digital advertising penetration has reached its equilibrium, Kantar's 2021 Media Reactions study reveals otherwise. In fact, this trend will continue to accelerate, with 90 percent of marketers in Mexico reporting that they intend to further increase their online video spend by 2022 and 79 percent globally.

Given such high levels of spending, the study shows something incredibly important about digital media advertising in Mexico: Different channels are perceived to have different personalities, and this affects how consumers perceive the content on them.

TikTok stands out in its perceptions this year, as consumers have the most positive attitudes overall toward this medium. The platform is described as having a Joker personality type, meaning it is a fun and playful environment. Instagram, on the other hand, is seen by consumers as a Rebel. And Facebook, as a Networker personality type, as it projects a warm and friendly personality in the minds of most consumers.

These personality types are indicative of consumer expectations about the type of content they expect to see in each channel. To be effective in a specific context, the ad must meet consumer expectations about how the content should behave in that environment. For example, an ad that might be considered quite entertaining on another platform might be perceived as relatively boring on TikTok; given the humor the platform has become known for. Simply put: If the voice and messaging of your content is not aligned with the tone of the environment in which it appears, then it can feel terribly out of place, which could easily make your brand seem inauthentic and even irrelevant.

Context Can Make the Difference

However, it's not all bad news. While getting the context wrong can limit your success, getting it right can have a huge positive impact on your brand.

When we evaluated advertising to test a Mint Mobile ad featuring Ryan Reynolds, the results for the same ad on different platforms varied greatly. Simply seeing the ad on TikTok meant a 22 percent increase in consumers taking away the ad's intended message. Without any change in creative, the brand could choose to invest its digital media budget for this ad on one platform rather than another and expect to increase the desired message association by more than one-fifth.

We can speculate on what has driven this, but it seems likely that an alignment between the fun personality of the celebrity and the fun, entertaining personality of the platform is amplifying the impact of the creative. In cases where the alignment may not be so obvious, evidence in context becomes even more important to allow you to take the guesswork out of placement decisions.

As expected, a general trend is emerging in which marketers are increasingly realizing the importance of in-context testing. Marketers’ confidence in adapting content across contexts is also growing, rising from 49 percent in 2020 to 65 percent this year. However, as more and more investments are redirected to digital advertising, this still leaves a third of advertisers with a large blind spot that could be helped by context testing. The reasons for not testing context are well articulated: tight budgets and time pressures. Of course, this is magnified by the fast-moving, multiple executions, last-minute optimization and dynamic nature of digital advertising; but there is good news: Testing today is cost efficient, so fast that you have results in hours and contrary to what you may think, it can save a fortune for all brands investing in advertising.

Photo by:   Mauricio Martínez