LONDON: When considering brand safety issues, online advertisers should pay more attention to the general effects of publisher attributes than the specifics of neighbouring editorial content, new research suggests.

A study of media context and brand perception conducted by Inskin Media and market research agency Conquest, and previewed at the IAB Engage conference, used neuroscience techniques to assess responses to two brand ads in two formats on three different news publisher sites that embraced 11 environment exposure scenarios.

On a range of measures, the research demonstrated a significant incremental value from publishers – what Sebastian Schindler, Global Insights Lead at Inskin, described as “the halo-catalyser effect”.

This was most evident for brand consideration, which rose 60% overall and, among engaged readers, leapt 152%.

Other metrics rose less dramatically: brand proximity was up 11% overall and 19% among engaged readers, while brand warmth was up 7% and 33% respectively, and brand empathy 1% and 22%.

But publisher attributes don’t transfer directly to the advertiser, Schindler cautioned. The three news publishers selected for the research were chosen on the basis of user perceptions around consideration, feelings and impressions (trust, etc), and graded into three levels of “premiumness”.

The expected impacts did not materialise, he reported, as the most premium publisher came bottom of the three in terms of results, while the least premium came top.

There is a mediating effect, he reported, which may relate to things like the perception match of the publisher and advertisers from a user perspective, or the level of visual engagement.

While the research demonstrated clear evidence of a publisher effect, it could not find any systematic effects around editorial content, in terms of either story sentiment or a thematic match between content and advertiser.

That said, Schindler observed that individual [story] attributes do seem to trigger a reaction. So, for example, a story that was both positive and congruent could still elicit a negative response from readers.

“Brand safety is a topic that requires considerably more research,” he concluded.

Sourced from WARC