Excellent content can not only drive awareness, reach and sales but can also create environments where consumers are more open and receptive to advertising, a new study by Integral Ad Science has found.
The latest research dispels the myth that ads are inherently annoying and linked to poor digital experiences.
On the contrary, 91% of the UK consumers surveyed said that ads placed next to high-quality content are actually important to them and are fundamental to pleasurable browsing online.
The good news for brands is that the right ads served up next to engaging content leads to 65% of consumers interacting with these ads in a meaningful way, which can have a hugely positive impact on traffic and ROI.
Premium-quality ad placements are not just a preference for UK consumers either, as 90% of people in France said that they want to see ads next to content, while 83% in the US and 82% in Japan said the same.
However, an important aspect of this premium experience appears to personalisation and tailoring.
87% of UK consumers believe that bespoke ad usage is crucial, and this figure leapt to 93% for those in France.
It was not quite as important for US consumers (80%).
The findings suggest that the rise of ad blockers stemmed from consumers’ frustration at ads not being targeted to them specifically rather than being a blight on the internet experience.
While premium content and ad environments raise the bar and encourage consumers to interact and engage, the opposite occurs when consumers are faced with ads and experiences that do not live up to their high expectations.
Almost an identical number (88%) of UK respondents said that ads featured in close proximity to low-quality content trigger a feeling of annoyance, which then leads to a huge drop off in engagement.
Just 22% said that they would engage with an ad in these circumstances.
Low-quality online environments also irritated consumers in other countries, especially in France (92%) and Indonesia (90%).
There are even more downsides, as 55% of UK consumers said that they would view a brand less favourably if it was seen in a sub-par setting, while seven in 10 would boycott a brand entirely.
Consumers also put the blame for lacklustre placements squarely at the feet of brands, as 68% in the UK said that companies are accountable for actions, a figure that went even higher again in France (72%) and Indonesia (86%).
Integral Ad Science’s EME MD Nick Morley said that the latest ‘Ripple Effect’ study had highlighted a “clear link” between how ad quality is perceived and the subsequent response by consumers.
He noted: “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.”
Morley also warned that the “counterpoint” of ads served next to low-quality content can have disastrous consequences for a company as it often results in damage to brand reputations and a potential decline in revenue.
He concluded: “To ensure online ads drive the right reaction, brand suitability must be a top ad placement priority.”