Contextual targeting delivers the right audience for your campaign, but have you thought about contextual creative? Contextual targeting is great. Contextual creative is not.
Good advertising must earn the right to speak to its audience. It has to stand out while also entertaining or informing in some way. For the audience to give its attention to your message, you have to be noticed.
Contextual creative is when you deliver a message that is too similar to the context where it is being delivered. I would argue contextual creative blends in too much to be truly noticed and effective. Think about showing an ad for a motorcycle jacket on a page dedicated to motorcycles. That ad is likely to get lost in the mix.
Now, put an ad for a weed whacker or a lawnmower on that page, and it is likely being delivered to the right audience, but it stands out. If you make that ad compelling or entertaining, it works — whereas if it is plain and minimally interesting, it just looks strange on that page. Balance and a creative spark earn the right to tap into the attention of that viewer.
Contextually targeted ads can be very effective when they do something unexpected. That’s why celebrity marketing works so well: Celebrities stand out. Maybe they are aspirational, or maybe they are simply unexpected, or at the least they tap into an emotional connection with the viewer.
Celebrities are one way to stand out. Others require creative thinking, or thinking differently, about your message. This is what 2024 will be about — the year of the creative.
Creative delivery of a message can be entertaining, emotional, informative, or all of the above. For too long, the digital space has overlooked being creative and instead focused on the media and the context of the message delivery. We’ve done so because it was easy to prove the value. Creativity is far more subjective and difficult to judge, but you know good creative when you see it (to paraphrase someone else’s context).
To be honest, we may have done all we can do with media. It has matured and it is structured and disciplined. Now we have to get creative. We must earn the right to speak to our audience, and we have to entertain at least a little bit going forward.
For those of a certain career experience, we can remember things like ‘Spotting the Web’ for ‘101 Dalmatians’ or the full-page takeovers that were the cream of the crop ads on Marketwatch and ESPN. Creativity became complacent, and especially so when you look at B2B advertising, but that’s a topic for another day.
This year, going forward, we are looking for new ideas that stand out.
So happy new year to each of you. I hope your New Year’s resolution involves tapping into that ‘other’ part of the brain. This is a wonderful opportunity to truly stand out.
Cheers to 2024!
Cory Treffiletti is chief marketing officer at generative AI-powered product placement platform, Rembrand. He was previously SVP at FIS. He has been a thought leader, executive and business driver in the digital media landscape since 1994. In addition to authoring a weekly column on digital media, advertising and marketing since 2000 for MediaPost‘s Online Spin, Treffiletti has been a successful executive, media expert and/or founding team member for a number of companies, and published a book, Internet Ad Pioneers, in 2012.