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Context is King: A Million Examples of Creative Ad Campaigns Getting it Right

June 20, 2016
Aaron Polmeer

By Daniel_Marks

Posted by Daniel_Marks

[Estimated read time: 6 minutes]

This was one of the first television commercials to ever air:

Talking to the camera on a mic was the obvious way to leverage television: after all, that’s how radio commercials worked. Now, advertisers could just put radio commercials on television. What an exciting new advertising medium!

As it turns out, putting radio commercials on television wasn’t really the best use of this new medium. Sound familiar? This seems awfully similar to the current practice of turning your television commercial into a YouTube pre-roll ad. However, the difference this time isn’t the media format, which is largely similar (YouTube videos are still video, banner ads are still text + image, podcast sponsorships are still voice, etc.) Instead, the difference is how people are consuming the content; in other words, the context.

A television commercial is a relatively static experience: 30 seconds of video placed within a few appropriate time slots, reaching people in their living room (or possibly bedroom). A Facebook newsfeed ad is a little more dynamic: it can be seen anywhere (home, office, bus, etc.), at anytime, by anyone, in almost any format and next to almost any content. The digital age has basically exacerbated the “problem” of context by offering up a thousand different ways for consumers to interact with your marketing.

But, with great problems comes great opportunity — or something like that. So, what are some ways to leverage context in the digital age?

Intent context

Different channels have different user intents. On one end of the funnel are channels like Facebook and Snapchat that are great fillers of the empty space in our lives. This makes them well-suited for top-of-funnel brand advertising because you aren’t looking for something specific and are therefore more receptive to brand messaging (though you can certainly use Facebook for direct marketing purposes).

BuzzFeed, for example, has done a great job of tailoring their Snapchat content to the intent of the channel — it’s about immediate gratification, not driving off-channel behaviors:

This feels like you’re watching your friend’s Snapchat story, not professionally produced branded content. However, it’s still the early days for Snapchat — all companies, including BuzzFeed, are trying to figure out what kind of content makes sense for their goals.

As for Facebook, there are plenty of examples of doing brand awareness right, but one of the more famous ones is by A1 Steak Sauce. It was both set and promoted (in part) on Facebook:

Critically, the video works with or without sound.

On the other end of the funnel is something like AdWords: great when you know what you’re looking for, not so great when you don’t. This subway ad for health insurance from Oscar feels pretty out of place when you use the same copy for AdWords:

Getting intent right means that you need to actually experience your ad as a user would. It’s not enough to put a bunch of marketers together in a conference room and watch the YouTube ad …read more

Source:: Moz Blog