What we know about the context and positioning of TV ads

The positioning of television advertising, whether first in the ad break, ‘mid-pod’ or the last commercial can have varying degrees of effect and resonance with viewers. Further, the placement of ads adjacent to contextually relevant programming can enhance the impact of the communication on the viewer, with new technologies enabling this process to achieve greater results.


Television advertising positioning is the place where commercials fall within an advertising break – sometimes also known as a pod. Both context and positioning can have a bearing on the success of the advertising. Context refers to the tone and topics of the surrounding content, and the other ads in the break.

Key insights

1. Consideration of placement can lead to increased effectiveness

Research carried out in the US found that message delivery may differ for commercials when they are placed in various positions of an advertising break. The first commercial may receive a high level of exposure before channel changing occurs. If advertising breaks are long the last spot can be seen as advantageous as viewers have returned to the programming. However, thought should be given to where the commercial break lies. If the first or last break surrounding the television programme, pod position advantages may differ from breaks within the programming itself.