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In the attention economy, contextual ads are currency

The average human brain is simply incapable of processing the bombardment of content that it's exposed to on a daily basis: on average, 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements (according to Red Crow Marketing). As a result, the vast majority of ads that are seen are ignored or forgotten within seconds.

While access to information has exponentially increased in the digital age, our processing capacity has not changed. Most digital users are more aware of their own consumption and actively try to distance themselves from screens. Furthermore, they are very good at disregarding advertisements, both by physically avoiding them and mentally blocking them out.

Essentially, all content in the digital sphere is competing for our time and attention. Making Science asserts that marketing needs a data-driven approach to effectively advertise to those who truly want to pay attention. "The most important factor to get customers’ attention is to get them to care about what the ad has to say."

This requires a customer-first perspective to identify benefits that consumers can gain from engaging with the ad. Above all, this is achieved using contextual and native ads, as they foster more interest and information exchange compared to interest-based or demographic advertising. Additionally, people find these ads less intrusive when viewed.

Contextual and native ads

Currently, artificial intelligence is being employed to place relevant ads on websites without the need for cookies, allowing for audience targeting while respecting their privacy. According to Forbes, various eye-tracking studies demonstrate 95% accuracy in predicting where consumers will look in any type of ad.

In this regard, attention span on social media is 37% higher for contextual ads compared to any video or graphic ads, and they also generated three times more engagement than traditional formats. Most importantly, there's a 23% higher chance of remembering the key message of an ad when it aligns with the content of the hosting site. Emotional response-seeking ads were 40% more memorable when contextualized with relevant content.

"In this attention economy, trust is vital. If brands and advertisers leverage AI to deliver content that resonates with consumers while respecting their privacy, they will make the transition to a cookieless future no longer seem like a burden, but an opportunity," concludes Making Science.