Automated Contextual Targeting

ITV has launched a game-changing new tool for advertisers - Automated Contextual Targeting (ACT) - providing insights into moods, objects and moments in programmes they can use to fine-tune campaigns.

Developed by ITV’s AdLabs advertising innovation group, ACT launched this week with Boots and Sainsbury’s as pioneering launch partners, and will soon be available via Planet V to pre-agreed advertiser partners.

ACT uses AI technology to scan through every show across ITVX, categorising every scene in them by mood, object or moment.

The technology, which has the ability to recognise facial expressions and words spoken within shows, has allowed the team to draw up three key themes for the pilot:


  • Food, Drink And Mealtimes

  • Moments of Joy

  • Beauty And Cosmetics


Where an advertiser might typically buy Food as a Contextual theme and target shows like Ainsley’s Mediterranean Cookbook, the ACT algorithm surpasses this by giving them the ability to target moods, objects and moments.

That means they can then target Food, Drink and Mealtimes moments when they include ACT within their package, whether it be via a mealtime shown on Coronation Street, or contestants having a dinner date on Love Island. 


Bought via PHD, Sainsbury’s will be targeting Food, Drink & Mealtimes as an ACT buy for their brand new Christmas campaign, starring ITV favourite, Alison Hammond. The campaign features ACT ads showcasing hero products from their festive food offering.

More than ever, brands want to buy adjacency to the biggest and most talked shows on TV, but do so with relevance. Following months of development and testing under AdLabs, our ACT pilot utilises cutting-edge tech to help brands fine tune the contextual relevance of their ITV addressable campaigns. Jayesh Rajdev, Controller of Advanced Advertising for ITV
We are excited to partner with ITV on their latest innovation. Participating in Test & Learn initiatives with AdLabs has been hugely valuable, not just for our learning but for our brand results. Aligning with contextual moments is hugely important in our marketing activity, but particularly at Christmas, as aligning with those moments of joy is integral to our strategy. Pete Markey, CMO at Boots


Bought via MediaCom, Boots will be targeting Moments of Joy and Beauty And Cosmetics themes for their new Christmas campaign which this year focuses on ‘Joy for all’ and encapsulates the joy of finding just the right gift for the right person.

In 2023 ITV AdLabs will be adding further buyable categories to their ACT offering, alongside a host of further innovations for advertisers to trial across addressable products, partnerships & insight.

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