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Advertisers have many means of targeting at their disposal, from contextual to audience-based to behavioral and beyond. While some of those targeting types—notably behavioral—can lead to a negative reaction among internet users when they believe they have been used, web users do agree that relevant ads make them better-disposed toward brands, as well as toward the publishers who run the ads.
In the case of online video ads, Dynamic Logic surveyed US online women in March 2012 on behalf of contextual advertising firm Vibrant Media to discover their attitudes about contextual targeting. The women surveyed said contextual video ads made them feel more favorably toward both the brand (62%) and the site where they saw the ad (56%), making contextual targeting for video a win-win for publishers and advertisers. Half of respondents said their overall browsing experience was more valuable because the ads were perceived as relevant to what they were doing at the time—that is, relevant to the content of the webpage.
Most of the online women surveyed indicated, at least indirectly, that contextual relevance was particularly important to them. Asked about online video ads “irrelevant to the site” (though not necessarily irrelevant to them), 70% said they were more likely to ignore them. Meanwhile, nearly as many said they were more likely to pay attention to ads that were contextually relevant to the site.
Surveys on other ad targeting types, or targeted ads in general, have tended to indicate that relevance leads to consumer attention. Even behavioral ads, which get poor marks from many web users due to perceived lack of transparency, are often still appreciated for their relevance to the viewer. But contextual ads offer the benefit not just of relevance in general, but relevance to the specific online task web users are accomplishing at the moment they see the ad—and it appears that relevance does not go unnoticed.
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