- Consumers are more concerned about brands that advertise near offensive content than near heavy news, according to a survey by Verizon Media and Insights Now provided to Marketing Dive.
- Almost all (90%) of consumers reported that aligning with news content did not impact their brand perceptions, while 40% would have a negative perception of a brand that advertises near offensive content. Consumers reported that such offensive content was more likely to be user-generated posts on social media than news. Consumers reported encountering offensive content on a weekly basis on Facebook (59%), Twitter (55%) and Snapchat (48%).
- The survey of over 2,000 Americans also found that 41% of consumers are getting more news coverage now than in 2017. Half choose their news sources based on credibility, and 29% said they feel more favorable toward brands they see advertising on news sites they trust.
As marketers continue to grapple with brand safety, the Verizon Media survey demonstrates that advertising on trusted news sites might be better than advertising on social media that are increasingly home to "offensive" content. About 60% of marketers think brand safety remains a serious problem in the industry, according to a separate survey by GumGum and Digiday Media. While that's down from the 90% mark reported last year, there are clearly still concerns about the type of content that runs near ads in digital media.
Advertisers have focused on news sites as one potential source of brand safety issues, with 42% of advertisers avoiding placing ads alongside news because of concerns about unpredictable or "too heavy" content, according to an Advertiser Perceptions study referenced in the Verizon Media survey.
Verizon Media, which owns the Huffington Post and Yahoo News, tapped Insights Now to see whether these fears were shared by consumers.
"The findings show that consumers have been increasingly turning to trusted news sources. If you have been avoiding or not thinking about leveraging premium news content in your marketing mix, you're missing an opportunity to connect with users who are increasingly staying informed and who feel more favorable towards advertisers on trusted news sites," wrote Marinn Jackson, Verizon Media's head of premium sales and strategy, in a statement.
The idea that consumers are tired of heavy news, especially as the 2020 presidential election campaigns ramp up, has been explored by brand marketers. Mike's Hard Lemonade this year launched "The Brighter Times," a campaign that included a partnership with The Washington Post's creative agency WP BrandStudio and kicked off with a WashingtonPost.com homepage takeover that "blocked" negative news and directed readers to positive stories.
Verizon Media's survey also notes that trusted publishers can use third-party blocking, verification and targeting tools to ensure brand safety and better serve advertisers. The Washington Post this week launched Zeus Prime, an ad platform that marries programmatic with direct ad buying, an effort that could attract advertisers.