Study: How media contexts affect brand perception in online ads

New study by Inskin, Conquest and Research Now reveals:

Reader and publisher relationship has “catalytic” effect on ad effectiveness

Brand safety is considerably more complex than the industry thinks

London, 22 November 2017. The relationship a reader has with a publisher has far more impact on the effectiveness of online ads than the surrounding editorial content, which suggests concerns around brand safety may be misunderstood, according to a new study.

The study – by Inskin Media, Research Now and Conquest Research – compared the conscious and subconscious reactions of 4,370 people, who were served ads on websites either with or without publisher branding. It revealed that ads on the publisher-branded sites increased consideration for the advertiser by 60% compared to the ads on the site without publisher branding.

Furthermore, among readers with a close relationship to the publisher, consideration for the advertiser was 152% higher than among those who saw the ads on the site without publisher branding. Alongside this, advertiser brand warmth was 33% higher, brand empathy 20% higher and brand proximity (how close people felt to the brand) 19% higher.


“The relationship a publisher has with a user can have a catalytic effect in terms of boosting the effectiveness of the ads it displays, which reveals an important lesson,” said Steve Doyle, Inskin Media’s CCO. “It shows that if online publishers pay more consideration to the reader experience, the ads will be more effective, so they can optimise yield while carrying more selective types of advertising.”

In contrast, there was no systematic pattern to suggest that editorial content impacts the ad – be the article positive or negative or whether it had a similar theme to the ad. For example, a supermarket food advert next to an article about obesity did not overtly affect any brand metrics at all. Also, in isolated cases, a story that was both positive and had a similar theme to the ad could still elicit a negative brand association, suggesting individual parts of the article could have a disproportionate effect.

Doyle says this shows that brand safety isconsiderably more complex than the industry might like to admit. For example, we know brand safety is a “PR” issue but what effect does it actually have on readers’ brand perception? More research in this area is required to help marketers devise meaningful and effective brand safety policies, as the area is still a relative unknown. Technology will, of course, help us all understand how to better implement this by client and sector.”


Inskin Media and Research Now commissioned research agency Conquest to carry out an online test with multiple brands, display formats and publishers. From July – August 2017, a nationally representative sample of 4,364 UK respondents was surveyed using both explicit and implicit measurement methodologies in order to uncover both conscious and subconscious associations people held of the brands tested.

About Inskin Media

Inskin Media specialises in rich-media branding formats, combining a focus on design and technology to maximise the value of every single impression. We partner with over 190 publishers and deliver campaigns to more than 1,000 premium websites, globally. Inskin has delivered successful campaigns for over 1,000 blue-chip brand clients. Inskin is DTSG Brand Safe and Anti-Ad Fraud certified, supports direct and programmatic bookings, and works with leading data providers to support first and third party data targeting options. Since our launch in the UK in 2009, Inskin has grown from start-up into profitable, international business, employing 125 staff across its London, Hamburg, Kiev, Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai offices.

About Conquest

Conquest is a major independent market research agency and thought leader. They are experts in customer research: brand tracking, NPD, media & communications testing, retail, product and pack.
On top of all the benefits you’d expect from conventional research, their award-winning methods and Mind Model® uncover what others miss about implicit and emotional response. Their aim is to bring you the full picture of what drives your brand and product, giving you unique, actionable commercial insight denied to conventional methodologies.

About Research Now

As the established global expert in market research data and services, Research Now optimises your market research and decision-making to drive business results. They conduct rigorous consumer and B2B data collection and provide robust panel sampling via a variety of methods. They also provide expertise that includes such services as sample selection optimization, survey creation, and data visualization. Founded in 1999, they were a pioneer in originating online data sampling and created the first B2B panel, and continuously explore new ways to make you and your market research more effective.

Interested to find out more?

If you’d like to find out more about our research, feel free to contact us to set up a presentation for you and your team, or to receive the research report as a pdf.

Contact us

Press Coverage: