Jun 19
Brands risk losing customers with ads near offensive content, report confirms

Brands risk losing customers with ads near offensive content, report confirms

by Jo Cook

A new How Brands Annoy Fans study has again highlighted the potentially detrimental impact of publishing ads near offensive content after it found that two-thirds of consumers think more negatively about a brand if it delivers poor advertising experiences.

The study, conducted as part of a Brand Protection From Digital Content Infection whitepaper by CMO Council and Dow Jones, takes a closer look at the impact of ad environments on consumer perceptions and purchase intent, a subject that has grown in importance for marketers since the turn of the year due to the high-profile extremist ad content fallout on YouTube.

Numerous high-profile brands briefly pulled ads from the platform due to concerns about brand safety, and the latest study suggests that they were right to be wary, as 86 per cent said that they are currently either moderately worried, very concerned or extremely concerned about being directed or redirected to content that is either fake, distressing or hateful.

The study shows a trend towards consumers embracing trusted content providers due to the concerns; 60 per cent said that they now consume more engaging written website content from established media channels. Consumers also respond more positively to any ad content displayed in these trusted environments.

“CMOs and brand advertisers are increasingly concerned about various aspects of digital and programmatic advertising, including concerns about their ads showing up next to offensive content,” CMO Council Executive Director Donovan Neale-May said. “This consumer survey demonstrates that those concerns are well founded. Advertising placed next to objectionable content is damaging to a brand, while ads that accompany more trusted content and media are more accepted.”

Consumer response to content placed near offensive content is alarming for brands, as more than one in ten said that they would not even consider purchasing a product or service from them if they did so, nine per cent would become vocal critics and more than a third would think differently about the brands when deciding to do business with them.

When asked about the most annoying digital ad format across all platforms, intrusive pop-up ads (22 per cent) topped the list ahead of auto-playing video ads (17 per cent). Consumers are also more likely to trust ad messages viewed on search engines than on social sites.

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