The value of environment in advertising

Recent growth of audience targeting and programmatic implementation has downgraded the importance of environment as the focus for advertising placement. However, we believe that the value of environment in advertising is still an extremely important factor to consider when you are planning an ad campaign.

Recently there has not been much of a focus on the importance of environment in advertising. However there have been a number of independent studies that show the value of context in digital environments on a number of key business and brand measures.

The importance of context

Before we dive into the importance of context in advertising we need to understand how context affects the way we perceive information.

“Information is not processed neutrally. We are swayed by contextual cues.” – Richard Shotton, Deputy Head of Evidence at MG OMD

Take a look at these symbols…

The CAT symbolsTo most people when they look at the above symbols together they read ‘THE CAT’. However if you look closely you can actually see that the same symbol is used for the ‘H’ in ‘THE’ as the ‘A’ in ‘CAT’. Most people can’t tell this on first glance as our brains immediately see ‘THE CAT’ as we try to make sense of the symbols. This exercise demonstrates the impact that context has on our perception of information. 

Original beats social

“Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” – Andrew Davies, Marketing Keynote Speaker

In 2012 AOP and comScore carried out a study to discover levels of trust among consumers. They found that 30% of consumers trusted publishers on social networks. Compared to 60% who trusted publishers on original content sites. Furthermore they found that only 23% of consumers trusted advertising they saw on social networks. While 45% of consumers trusted advertising they saw on original content sites.

The study also found that original content sites saw a 23% uplift over social networks in the usage of branded search terms. Consumers were also 153% more likely to visit an advertiser’s site after seeing their ad on an original content site, compared to social networks.

These results all point to the overwhelming fact that advertising on original content sites is measurably more effective versus other online media in delivering on all levels of the purchase cycle. From awareness all the way through to making a purchase.

So, where does the market stand on trust?

We ran a study in 2018 to find out how consumer trust has changed. We found that 43% of consumers say their trust in advertising on social media has fallen over the past year. 61% of consumers believe that more than 50% of the information they read on social media is fake.

These figures are not surprising given the amount of negative press that has surrounded social networks over the past year. Including the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal, brands boycotting YouTube due to their ads being displayed alongside inappropriate content, and the rise in fake news appearing on social networks.

The study also found that trust amongst consumers was 68% higher for information that appears on newspaper sites compared to social media. Reinforcing the fact that consumers still believe that premium environments offer higher credibility.

Why are premium environments still so effective?

As people aren’t aware of the way in which context impacts their perceptions, it can be hard to articulate why premium environments are so effective. However, removing explicit and conscious responses can give us a greater understanding of their impact.

In 2018 Newsworks ran a study by gathering data from consumers brains when they viewed ads in different environments. We created the below graph from the data they collected in order to show how ads in premium environments produce greater levels of engagement and long-term memory encoding amongst consumers compared to ads on social networks.

2018 Newsworks study graph

As we’ve seen, rather than just serving your ad to the right person, with the right message, at the right time, you also need to consider that it’s in the right place. It’s an overused phrase, but context is still king and the value of environment in advertising is still extremely important. With trust being at the forefront of consumer’s minds, especially when it comes to social media, it’s important to consider which environment you decide to post your ad on as it could make or break an advertising campaign.

To find out more about the importance of trust and environment in advertising, and to discover our unique emotional testing and targeting capabilities, exclusive premium inventory and industry-leading brand safety certifications, head over to our advertisers page or get in touch with one of our team filling in your details on our contact us page.