A better way to identify brand-content (sponsorship) fit – The ABCs of Neuro-segmentation

A better way to identify brand-content (sponsorship) fit – The ABCs of Neuro-segmentation

Brainsights’ neuro-segmentation identifies relationships in the brain between Audiences, Brands and Content. It’s a much more effective way for brands and content owners to find their match and drive mutual value.

Identifying the best fits between a brand and a property has become increasingly complex. Whereas celebrities were once the preserve of professional sports or Hollywood, now they’re more likely to come from Youtube, Instagram, Twitch and Snapchat. Whereas advertisers would once seek out TV and radio properties to sponsor, the democratization of content creation, production and distribution has made it more of a buyer’s market for big advertisers.

But an abundance of choice brings its own challenges. For marketers, the question becomes: what’s the right fit for my brand among the multitude of options? Audience alignment is no longer enough – the fragmentation of audiences means that you’ll find that audience elsewhere. And just because you can reach a specific audience doesn’t mean you can be sure you’ll capture their attention, or connect with them.

To fix this for advertisers, Brainsights has developed an innovative method we call ‘neuro-segmentation’.

Here’s how it works:

Using our database of neural engagement data mapped to content, we can pinpoint those audiences that connect significantly with specific brands or content (say, the top 10% or 25%) and get a sense of what else they like and connect with. It’s like the Amazon or Netflix “People who have bought/watched this, also bought/watched…”, but for the brain.

Neuro-segmentation in practice

Using this method, we helped to identify white space for Coors Light in the Fantasy Football realm. We mined the brain data of their target audience, identifying which connected most with the Coors Light brand, and then investigated what other themes and content resonated greatest. As it happened, non-game action football content performed considerably better on the target’s brain than game action content – a finding that helped to inform the overall strategy. Activating these insights drove a significant bump in market share for the brand.

We’ve also used this method for a travel company to identify specific Youtube creators that resonated with its target audience, thus reducing the risk of brand integrations with these creators.

Neuro-segmentation also enables the refinement of target markets for brands and the content they create. For example, our work with a large bank and their branded content agency revealed that their branded content series resonated much more strongly with a completely different audience than intended. Furthermore, through neural data mining we could predict the exact moments this new audience would drop off (abandon watching) in each episode. This in turn shaped both the development of the storyline – in terms of storyline refinement, thus mitigating drop off – and the activation (audience targeting) of the series.

The same principles apply for content owners, answering questions like: What brands would be a great fit for my property? Which brand(s) would derive the most value from this integration opportunity? Which company should sponsor this segment?

It gets at a level of depth that goes beyond “we have a couch in Big Brother, who sells couches? Let’s pitch a sponsorship opportunity to all of them” and gets to: who should sponsor that couch (if anyone) based on Big Brother’s most engaged fans and the home furnishing/designers with whom they connect strongest? And how does this compare in terms of persuasive potential versus that brand’s TV spots? In other words, does the integration offer better value for money than simply advertising?

Or, if it’s not a right fit, is there another opportunity in our content portfolio that’s a better fit?

Neuromeasurement as the way forward

And fit is important. I’ve been in too many conversations where the brand and property have disagreed on both the composition and the intensity of commercial content integrated into the publisher’s content. The tug of war leads to destroyed value for both partners.

This is because too much of the conversation is left to conjecture, opinion and subjectivity. By delivering a data-based understanding of audiences, brands and content, neuro measurement and segmentation offer a superior way for brands and content owners to ensure money isn’t left on the table.

What’s next:

Beyond these challenges of fit are questions of activation. How best can we activate the sponsorship? Is a “brought to you by” the best performer, or can the brand be more fully integrated, mentioned and interacted with and how do these compare on the audience’s brain?

And then, how can a content owner price those interactions accordingly based on their proven value?

We get into those topics in more depth in later articles in this series, including:

  • The Science of Effective Storytelling
  • The Business End of Branded Content and Sponsorships


image cred: Havas Media

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