Brand safety is considerably more complex than the industry thinks
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.
E.g. Brand proximity sentiment towards the ad among visitors to the branded publisher site was 11% higher than among those who saw the ads on the site without publisher 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, Inskin Media’s CCO. “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."