Controversial News Content Doesn’t Harm Brand Safety and Suitability: New IAB Study Finds 


IAB finds news advertising is beneficial for brands

IAB released the findings of its new study aimed at understanding how advertising in news benefits brands. The findings indicate that brands must consider news outlets as a critical advertising channel during crisis times to drive a positive brands impact across critical dimensions.

Also read: The Brand Safety Conundrum and What To Do About It

In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, we saw brands being skeptical about advertising on news outlets as concerns around brand safety and suitability peaked. While those fears follow the accepted industry position on controversial, unsettling, or volatile news content, blocking keywords, URLs and content that was critical to public knowledge was not a well-thought out move. Premium publishers and credible news media were blocked alongside more volatile and unreliable user-generated content.

In its new study, IAB says these “brand fears were unfounded, and in times of crisis publishers reliant on advertising support are particularly affected.” Here is a quick look at some of the key findings from the survey:

  • Consumers trust brands that advertise in the news. These brands are perceived as:
    • 49% more relevant
    • 47% customer centric
    • 46% high-quality
  • When consumers come across brand advertising on their favorite news outlet, they are:
    • 45% more likely to visit the brand website
    • 43% consider buying from the brand
    • 39% would be happy recommending the brand

Also read: Lessons from the YouTube, Pedophiles and Brand Safety Controversy

  • 3 in 4 consumers follow national/international news every week
  • The average consumer follows four news sources
  • 7 in 10 consumers believe their chosen news sources as trustworthy
  • 84% consumers trust news advertisers while only 16% consumers feel that their trust in brands decreases
  • Advertising in the news helps brands improve customer trust by 6%

Why Professionally Produced News Sources Are Good for Advertisers

The IAB study found that customers trust their preferred news sources more than most other product/service categories, and that trust can extend to brands advertising on news. 7 in 10 consumers say that news sources they use are trustworthy. In contrast, 53% consider the sources they do not use to be trustworthy.

News advertising benefits all product categories equally. While news organizations cover important topics that could be concerning for advertisers, consumers believe that they are comfortable with how news organizations deal with sensitive content.

Also read: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle Remind Marketers: Take Control of Your Brand Image and Story

For brands, advertising within sensitive news is a big opportunity. When serious or breaking news is potentially disconcerting or upsetting, most news consumers expect the impact on advertisers to be neutral (55%) while 31% will be more positive about the advertised brand. In fact, fewer than 1 in 10 news consumers think sensitive content would have a negative impact on an advertising brand.

The benefits for brands advertising within news do not just stop with trust, brands that advertise alongside news content are perceived as more current, caring, relevant, believable, innovative, and more.

How can brands advertising on news be perceived as more authentic and high quality? Do let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .