Conventional wisdom says that if the editorial content around an online ad is good quality, then the effectiveness of the ad is increased. While there is certainly some truth to this, a new study purports to show that the issue is far more complicated the many in the industry think.
Inskin Media compared the conscious and subconscious reactions of 4,370 people who were served online ads on websites either with or without publisher branding.
The results indicate that the publisher branding on some of the sites increased ad effectiveness (measured as “increased consideration”) by 60% as compared to those without. So, in other words, the reader’s perception of the publisher may have just as significant an effect on how well an ad does as the content that surrounds it.
If the ‘relationship’ between the reader and the publisher is a close one, i.e. the reader has a high opinion of the site, the effects are even more pronounced. If the reader liked the publisher, consideration for the ads was 152% higher than those sites without publishing branding.
“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,” said Steve Doyle, CCO at Inskin Media.
“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.”
The study didn’t seem to reveal any systematic pattern that would suggest that editorial content and the impact of the ad. This applied to whether the article was negative or positive, or whether it shared a similar theme with the ad.
For example, an ad for a supermarket displaying food discount next to an article about obesity did not have major effects on brand metrics.
“Brand safety is considerably more complex than the industry might like to admit,” says Doyle.
“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."