The relationship a reader has with a publisher has far more impact on the effectiveness of online ads than the surrounding editorial content, which suggests concerns around brand safety may be misunderstood, according to a new study.
The study – by Inskin Media, Research Now and Conquest Research – compared the conscious and subconscious reactions of 4,370 people, who were served ads on websites either with or without publisher branding. It revealed that ads on the publisher-branded sites increased consideration for the advertiser by 60% compared to the ads on the site without publisher branding.
Furthermore, among readers with a close relationship to the publisher, consideration for the advertiser was 152% higher than among those who saw the ads on the site without publisher branding. Alongside this, advertiser brand warmth was 33% higher, brand empathy 20% higher and brand proximity (how close people felt to the brand) 19% higher.
Steve Doyle, Inskin Media’s CCO, said: “The relationship a publisher has with a user can have a catalytic effect in terms of boosting the effectiveness of the ads it displays, which reveals an important lesson.
“It shows that if online publishers pay more consideration to the reader experience, the ads will be more effective, so they can optimise yield while carrying more selective types of advertising.”
In contrast, there was no systematic pattern to suggest that editorial content impacts the ad – be the article positive or negative or whether it had a similar theme to the ad. For example, a supermarket food advert next to an article about obesity did not overtly affect any brand metrics at all. Also, in isolated cases, a story that was both positive and had a similar theme to the ad could still elicit a negative brand association, suggesting individual parts of the article could have a disproportionate effect.
Doyle says this shows that brand safety is “considerably more complex than the industry might like to admit. For example, we know brand safety is a “PR” issue but what effect does it actually have on readers’ brand perception? More research in this area is required to help marketers devise meaningful and effective brand safety policies, as the area is still a relative unknown."
By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine
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