NEW YORK: The great majority of digital marketing decision-makers in the US (88%) say making emotional connections through digital media would encourage them to spend more on digital branding campaigns, a new study has found.

But almost one-third (30%) also believe that programmatic methods lead to negative customer experiences, damaging brand loyalty or negating their branding objectives in other ways, according to the survey by Millward Brown Digital.

Conducted on behalf of MediaBrix, the social ad platform, Millward Brown Digital polled 300 digital marketers who work at a Fortune 5000 company or a leading ad agency in the US.

It found one of their biggest concerns with programmatic buying was about where to improve their ads and 37% stated that "banner blindness" concerned them the most.

However, banner blindness – when visitors to a website or app consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like or advertising information – could be reduced, 81% of respondents thought, through the deployment of emotional targeting.

"Programmatic clearly has a place within digital media, but the industry has not addressed quality and effectiveness," said Ari Brandt, CEO and co-founder of MediaBrix.

"Until that time, seamlessly integrating ads during emotional moments – that fortify a brand's relationship with users and add to the overall experience – is the most powerful and effective form of advertising in existence," he added.

Elsewhere, the survey revealed that just over half (51%) of digital marketers saw social media ads as the most effective advertising format, AdWeek reported.

This was followed by native advertising (46%), email (36%), paid search marketing (23%), mobile web (23%), and emotionally-targeted in-game ads (20%). Programmatic and text-messaging were cited by just 18% and 12% respectively.

While their support for email marketing may appear surprisingly low, Marketing Charts pointed out that the survey participants were specifically asked about digital ad formats they thought were most effective for achieving their branding objectives.

It argued that it shouldn't be surprising that social media topped native and email because branding is the main purpose of social ads.

Respondents said their top branding objectives were promoting products or services (62%), increasing purchase intent (57%) and promoting their website, unique landing page or mobile app (47%).

Data sourced from MediaBrix, Millward Brown Digital, AdWeek, Marketing Charts; additional content by Warc staff