NEW YORK: Brand familiarity, trust and subject matter expertise are the main drivers for consumers open to in-feed sponsored content on news sites, although positive opinion about a publisher's credibility also matters, a new survey has found.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and market research firm Edelman Berland questioned 5,000 consumers who visit US news sites from PCs and showed them mock in-feed ads that resembled those that appear on business, entertainment and general news sites.

It emerged that when respondents had a positive opinion about the credibility of a news site, the perceived credibility of ads on the site increased by a third (33%).

And nearly two-thirds (60%) said they would be more open to advertising on sites that focus on a story rather than selling a product.

When it came to what factors generated interest about in-feed ads, or sponsored content, the vast majority (90%) cited relevancy.

Brand familiarity and trust were important for 81% while subject matter expertise was a key issue for 82%.

Respondents were also asked whether the mock content shown to them made it clear if it was sponsored or not, and the study revealed significant differences between those who viewed a general news site compared with the others.

A full 59% of those viewing a general news site found it difficult to recognise if content was sponsored or not, compared with 15% of those looking at entertainment sites and 18% of those on business sites.

"This new study shows that in-feed sponsored content can be a win for both brands and publishers, when consumers' viewpoints are taken into account," said Sherrill Mane, senior vice president of research, analytics and measurement at IAB.

"News publishers get greater impact when they work with familiar and trusted brands. By the same token, marketers see greater lift when publishers are perceived by consumers as credible news outlets," she added.

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc