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  • Writer's pictureTeam AVCA

Press: Consumers Pay 4X More Attention to CTV Ads When They Are Contextually Targeted with AI

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Consumer Study Conducted by Alliance for Video-Level Contextual Advertising Found that Viewers Presented with Contextually Relevant Ads Have 300% Higher Brand Recall

New York, NY - October 26, 2023 - Due to the advanced targeting capabilities of CTV, advertisers can now get more granular in how they pair their ads with the precise contextual indicators within individual episodes. A new study by Alliance for Video-Level Contextual Advertising (AVCA), an organization dedicated to funding research into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for contextual advertising in streaming, found that consumers pay nearly 4X (3.9X) more attention to ads that are hyper-relevant to the content they are watching.

The research titled Driving Viewer Attention and Brand Metrics in CTV Advertising, sought to determine how effective contextual targeting enabled by AI is compared to current targeting methods (demo targeting and publisher-declared metadata), to increase ad relevance, viewer attention and brand perception.

“When we established the AVCA, our mission was to advance the knowledge and understanding of video-level contextual intelligence to deliver superior user experiences and the highest value for publishers and brands in ad-supported streaming environments,” said Rohan Castelino, CMO, IRIS.TV, and Principal Member of AVCA. “In our first study, we found consumers respond better when the ads they see are relevant to the specific content they are watching. Attention is a scarce resource and as CTV continues to grow, advertisers need to seek out deep contextual relevance to achieve strong return on ad spend.”

Consumers Recall Ads Targeted with Contextual Segments Created by AI

AI-enabled contextually targeted ads attract and hold consumer attention as these ads had 300% higher aided brand recall and double the unaided brand recall of ads that were targeted using standard demographic data and publisher-declared metadata such as keywords, genre, and rating.

The study also found viewers of AI-enabled contextual targeting were least distracted, generating 15% more total ad attention than ads targeted with demographic and publisher-declared metadata. In fact, 63% of respondents stated that they paid more attention to AI-enabled contextually targeted ads.

Nearly a quarter (22%) more AI-enabled contextually targeted ads were seen from the beginning as viewers were less likely to look away when programming transitions into an ad break.

"Hyper-relevance is paramount for CTV engagement," added Mike Renfro, VP of Brand and Agency Partnerships at Silverpush. "When it comes to bidstream targeting, it's all about hitting the bullseye with contextually aligned in-video moments – a capability only achievable through video-level pre-bid decisioning. Amassing a wealth of first-party audience data is insufficient if your ad goes unnoticed. AI precision guarantees your message reaches the right audience at the perfect moment and in the most fitting context."

AI-enabled Contextual Targeting Drives Value for Brands in CTV

Ads placed adjacent to relevant content can be a significant differentiator for brands understanding the effectiveness of their campaigns and brand recognition amongst consumers:

  • 42% of viewers said they were more interested in the brand and products.

  • 38% learned more about a product shown in AI-enabled contextually targeted ads.

“As advertisers continue shifting spend into CTV, the need for actionable, scalable video-level contextual solutions has become critical to improving transparency for buyers and increasing returns for programmers,” said Amit Nigam, VP of Product, Beachfront. “These findings and insights from AVCA demonstrate that, when enriched with AI, contextual data is a powerful driver of key branding measures and an impactful means for capturing viewer attention.”

Poor Brand Suitability Reduces Brand Favorability

Even though the panel knew the content was a comedy intended for mature audiences and often satirized serious situations, respondents expressed confusion and frustration for ad placements they perceived as misaligned to the content resulting in negative brand favorability. In one example a scene depicting the characters joking about a serious disease preceded a pharmaceutical ad for a drug that treats serious diseases.

“I feel like I almost go in my shell, pretend like it didn’t happen,” said one respondent. “I think that it would have more of a negative effect on how I would perceive the brand just because I don't like feeling uncomfortable.”

When analyzing how brand suitability impacts CTV viewers’ attention and brand perception:

  • More than half (54%) of respondents were less interested in the brand and products found in contextually misaligned ads.

  • More than one-third of viewers liked the brand less and paid less attention when an ad was placed in unsuitable environments.

Respondents stated that the generic nature of ads in those environments were the least engaging and inspiring. Respondents' feedback to these ads were similar to ads described as having poor brand suitability as they were likely to trigger disengagement and rejection of the ad.

“Brands must be more vigilant than ever about avoiding streaming content that may have a negative impact on their audiences,” said Matt Duffy, CMO of Pixability. “At best, viewers tune out and the spend is wasted; at worst, half of them have a negative opinion of the brand. The good news is that AI solutions now make it possible for us to target and filter for brand suitability with nuance so brands can reach the right viewer in the right moment.”

Castelino concluded, “In CTV, contextual relevance is the biggest driver of viewer attention and brand perception revealing that it’s more important that consumers are ‘in the mood’ for a brand’s ads than even being ‘in-market’ for their products. To engage consumers in streaming, brands must integrate deeper content data sets into their targeting strategies."


The AVCA engaged Tobii, a leading research organization specializing in eye tracking and attention computing to conduct a study to measure the impact on viewer attention and brand perception of CTV advertising. Participants wore eye-tracking glasses while watching three episodes of a popular sitcom rated TV-MA. Each participant watched the same sequence of episodes. The order of exposure to the control and test ads were randomized and distributed evenly across participants.

About AVCA:

Alliance for Video-level Contextual Advertising (AVCA) is an organization of advertising technology peers whose mission is to advance the knowledge and understanding of video-level contextual intelligence. The organization is dedicated to funding research into the use of AI for contextual advertising in streaming. Consisting of experts in advertising technology, artificial intelligence, and data connectivity, members strive to ensure that ad-supported streaming provides the best user experience for viewers and the highest value for publishers and brands. Learn more at

AVCA Media Contacts:

Kate Dougherty/ Brittany Tibaldi

551-265-2825 / 347-487-6794



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