New Consumer Perceptions Study Shows a Ripple Effect for Ads

IAS study finds 84% of Canadian consumers want to see ads placed next to high-quality content

TORONTO — Integral Ad Science (IAS), the global market leader in digital ad verification, released insights into consumer perceptions of ads in the context of content quality. Findings reveal that seeing ads beside high-quality content is important for the majority (84%) of Canadian consumers and drives greater returns, with 55% of consumers more likely to engage with ads when surrounded by high-quality content.

A new study from @integralads shows that placing ads beside low-quality content has significant consequences: carrying a high risk of damage to brand perception and even revenue – which, over time, will also impact the publisher.

High-quality content drives engagement

The study indicates widespread favourability for premium-quality ad placements. Consumers across markets not only share Canada’s preference for high-quality ad environments – additionally France (90%), the U.S. (83%), and Japan (82%) – but also an inclination towards tailoring. Almost nine in ten (87%) UK consumers perceive ad relevance as important, alongside 93% of respondents in France and 80% in the U.S.

The higher likelihood of consumer engagement, when surrounded by high-quality content, creates a ripple effect, climbing to 66% in Singapore and 78% in Indonesia.

Low-quality content has consequences

Consumer response swings in a negative direction as ad quality drops. Almost nine in ten (88%) Canadian consumers are annoyed when ads appear next to low-quality content and the chances of engagement fall, with less than two in 10 (14%) likely to engage with an online ad. Annoyance is also reflected at an international level, with poor placement driving irritation for 92% of consumers in France and 90% in Indonesia.

Also impacted is the effect on brand reputation and appeal: over half (53%) of Canadian consumers state they feel less favourable about brands after seeing ads in sub-standard settings and 63% would stop using those brands altogether. Meanwhile, a further 61% of Canadian consumers hold brands accountable for poor placements and this figure only increases globally: reaching 72% in France and 86% in Indonesia.

“The Ripple Effect study shows there is a clear link between contextual ad quality and consumer response,” said Tony Marlow, Chief Marketing Officer, IAS. “Brands have a real opportunity to harness the dual power of tailored ads and high-quality placement to drive greater audience engagement. However, it’s also vital to acknowledge the counterpoint. Placing ads beside low-quality content has significant consequences: carrying a high risk of damage to brand perception and even revenue – which, over time, will also impact the publisher. To ensure online ads drive the right reaction, brand suitability must be a top ad placement priority.”

The Halo Effect

The correlation of ad quality environment and consumer favourability supports biometric research conducted by IAS earlier this year. As part of an investigation into ‘The Halo Effect’, the neurological research found that the context that advertising is placed in makes a substantial difference to how ads are perceived. Advanced biometric analysis showed ads viewed in high-quality mobile web environments were found to be 74% more likable and fuelled 30% higher memorability; signaling the need for marketers to consider the full context instead of purely the creative and audience.

Integral Ad Science’s ‘Ripple Effect’ study ran across the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore markets to determine consumer perceptions on ad relevance and content quality. It surveyed a general population sample of male and female consumers, between 18 and 65+ from August to September 2019, to understand how consumers’ reception towards brands changes in relation to the environment in which ads run.

About IAS

Integral Ad Science (IAS) is the global market leader in digital ad verification, offering technologies that drive high-quality advertising media. IAS equips advertisers and publishers with both the insight and technology to protect their advertising investments from fraud and unsafe environments as well as to capture consumer attention, and drive business outcomes. Founded in 2009, IAS is headquartered in New York with global operations in 18 offices across 13 countries. IAS is part of the Vista Equity Partners portfolio of software companies. For more on how IAS is powering great impressions for top publishers and advertisers around the world, visit