The study, from Integral Ad Science (IAS), looked into consumer perceptions of ads in the context of content quality.
Findings reveal that seeing ads beside high-quality content is important for the majority (91%) of UK consumers and drives greater returns, with 65% of consumers more likely to engage with ads when surrounded by high-quality content.
High-quality content drives engagement
The study indicates widespread favourability for premium-quality ad placements. Consumers across markets not only share the UK’s preference for high-quality ad environments – additionally France (90%), the U.S. (83%), and Japan (82%) – but also an inclination towards tailoring. Almost nine in ten (87%) UK consumers perceive ad relevance as important, alongside 93% of respondents in France and 80% in the U.S.
The higher likelihood of consumer engagement when surrounded by high-quality content creates a ripple effect, climbing to 66% in Singapore and 78% in Indonesia.
Low quality content has consequences
Consumer response swings in a negative direction as ad quality drops. Almost nine in ten (88%) UK consumers are annoyed when ads appear next to low-quality content and the chances of engagement fall, with only two in 10 (22%) likely to engage with an online ad. Annoyance is also reflected at an international level, with poor placement driving irritation for 92% of consumers in France and 90% in Indonesia.
Also impacted is the effect on brand reputation and appeal: over half (55%) of UK consumers state they feel less favourable about brands after seeing ads in sub-standard settings and 70% would stop using those brands all together. Meanwhile, a further 68% of British consumers hold brands accountable for poor placements and this figure only increases globally: reaching 72% in France and 86% in Indonesia.
“The Ripple Effect study shows there is a clear link between contextual ad quality and consumer response,” said Nick Morley, EMEA MD at Integral Ad Science (IAS). “As a positive takeaway, there is an opportunity for brands to harness the dual power of tailored ads and high-quality placement to drive greater audience engagement. However, it’s also vital to acknowledge the counterpoint. Placing ads beside low-quality content has significant consequences: carrying a high risk of damage to brand perception and even revenue – which, over time, will also impact the publisher. To ensure online ads drive the right reaction, brand suitability must be a top ad placement priority.”
The Halo Effect
The correlation of ad quality environment and consumer favourability supports biometric research conducted by IAS earlier this year. As part of an investigation into ‘The Halo Effect’, the neurological research found that the context that advertising is placed in makes a substantial difference to how ads are perceived. Advanced biometric analysis showed ads viewed in high-quality mobile web environments were found to be 74% more likeable and fuelled 30% higher memorability; signalling the need for marketers to consider the full context instead of purely the creative and audience.
Integral Ad Science’s ‘Ripple Effect’ study ran across the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore markets to determine consumer perceptions on ad relevance and content quality. It surveyed a general population sample of male and female consumers, between 18 and 65+ from August to September 2019, to understand how consumer reception towards brands changes in relation to the environment in which ads run.