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Study: The least trusted among top media channels is...


Social media networks may be a popular platform for ad delivery, but that doesn't mean they are the most trusted.

Despite listing social media as the source of the second-highest volume of ad messages they receive — behind television — consumers ranked such platforms last among their most trusted channels, according to a study by the Chief Marketing Officer Council. Web sites ranked as the most trusted, followed by search engines, television, and newspapers.

In the study, "How Brands Annoy Fans," respondents made it clear that they will no longer give brands a pass for even inadvertent display of ads near objectionable digital and video content. Nearly half of all consumers indicate they would rethink purchasing from brands or would boycott products if they encountered brand ads alongside digital content that offends them.

A large majority of consumers said they responded differently to the same ad, depending on its context, with 63% saying they responded more positively to ads run in trusted media channels. Some 60% said offensive context has already caused them to consume more content from trusted, well-known news sources and established media channels.

“CMOs and brand advertisers are increasingly concerned about various aspects of digital and programmatic advertising, including concerns about their ads showing up next to offensive content,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “This consumer survey demonstrates that those concerns are well founded. Advertising placed next to objectionable content is damaging to a brand while ads that accompany more trusted content and media are more accepted.”

The CMO Council research asked consumers about their response to the experience of finding brand ads in proximity to objectionable content or fake news sites—and their warning to advertisers was brutal. Some 37% said it would change the way they think of a brand when making a decision to buy. Another 11% said they would flat-out not do business with that brand. Another 9% said they would become vocal critics of the brand.

In other survey findings:

*The most annoying digital advertising formats, even when appearing on trusted media channels, were intrusive pop-up ads (22%) and auto-playing video ads (17%).

*Eighty-six percent (86%) of consumers are either extremely concerned, very concerned or moderately worried about how easily they are directed or redirected to hateful or offensive content.

*Attention to digital advertising overall was notably low, with only 14% always engaged and 58% saying they pay attention only when ads either interest them or are really interesting.

*Just over 40% of consumers have already installed ad-blocking software on their devices while another 14% said they planned to add these features.

The survey, which was conducted using the Pollfish platform, is part of a broader study of digital brand safety being conducted by the CMO Council, in partnership with Dow Jones, entitled “Brand Protection From Digital Content Infection.”

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