Placing digital advertising in a relevant editorial context can significantly increase the attention it receives, according to new research from News UK and attention technology company Lumen Research.

Based on an analysis of 980,000 impressions on The Sun’s website, Lumen calculated that putting an ad in a relevant editorial context:

  • Increased attention on that ad by 31%, from 25 minutes per 1,000 impressions to 33 minutes.
  • Average viewing time for the ad also increased by 28%, from 1.8 seconds to 2.3 seconds.

Relevance drives results

Lumen’s research compared advertising with three kinds of adjacencies:

  • a relevant editorial context – for example, an ad for a sports TV package placed against sports-related content.
  • a non-relevant context.
  • a branded context, where the ad appeared against relevant sponsored content.

The branded context also showed a distinct uplift:

  • attention per 1,000 impressions was 20% higher (25 seconds vs 30 seconds).
  • average viewing time was 11.1% longer (1.8 seconds vs 2 seconds).

Editorial uplift

The research further underlines the importance of editorial context in driving enhanced advertising value, supporting earlier work by Newsworks which found:

Ben Walmsley, Commercial Director – Publishing at News UK, said: "This underlines what we know instinctively to be true, that advertising performs better when placed against content that is relevant to it.

"It’s also further evidence of the broader story that editorial context more generally is a hugely powerful driver of attention – premium environments drive better engagement and contextual relevance within that environment further enhances attention.

"This research also highlights the thinking behind the development of Nucleus, our new integrated data platform.

"Using Nucleus brands can tap into the power of context in new ways, whether that’s editorial context, emotional context or wider brand context."

What to know about contextual ad targeting

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