Attention favours context: 14% increase in purchase intent when display ads placed in context

New eye-tracking highlights increased brand favourability and recall when display ad was placed in a relevant context.

In-context display ads capture attention quicker and more instantly than ads placed out of context, according to new eye-tracking research. 

An in-context ad for hardware specialist HP was found to outperform the same ad as when it was placed in a non-context relevant environment. In-context, there was a 5% increase in consumer brand favourability on viewing the ad, while the study also found a 14% increase in purchase intent. 

Integral Ad Science (IAS) partnered with Swedish eye tracking and attention tech specialist Tobii Pro Insight to track consumer attention to visual stimuli, measuring how a HP display ad performed in context versus out of context.

When placed in a contextually relevant situation, it took consumers just 0.4 seconds to notice the ad, compared to one second when placed out of context. In context, the display ad was the first asset consumers noticed on the page, the study found.

The findings suggest “persuasive evidence of contextual targeting’s return on investment in a brand’s advertising strategy”, said IAS.

Increased brand recall for in-context ads

Eye tracking heat maps visualise data gathered to highlight the most and least attention-capturing elements of a display page. By tracking consumers’ eye movement in the study, heat maps measured the impact contextual relevance had on brand engagement, favorability, and memorability.

The research found that consumers spent more time viewing the in-context ad versus the same ad when it was placed out of context – on average a 3% increase.

Memorability was also increased with contextual relevance. When unaided by a list asking consumers which brands they recalled seeing on the page, they were four times more likely to recall HP (73% memorability) on seeing the in-context ad versus its out of context equivalent (18% memorability). 

With a list to aid them, brand recall for HP scored twice as much for the contextually relevant asset.

Tony Marlow, CMO at IAS, said: “With a cookieless future on the horizon, marketers are seeking alternatives to maintain and improve their advertising ROI. Our new report shows that desired outcomes can be significantly influenced through contextually relevant ad placements, which have the capacity to influence audience recall and overall response.”