Brands held accountable for content next to their mobile video ads

Anne Freer | January 26, 2023

Mobile Advertising

There’s much to be excited about when it comes to mobile video ads. The format boosts ROI for small and large advertisers alike and viewability rates are significantly higher than those of other formats. Unsurprisingly, 63% of mobile advertisers consider short-form video a top marketing trend for 2023. But new research shows that video ad placement may require some refinement as most consumers will hold brands accountable for the content their ads appear next to. Let’s dive in. 

Content association matters

According to a survey of consumers in the UK, US and Australia by Magna Media Trials, almost half of UK consumers (49%) agree that a brand supports the content they appear adjacent to. In the US and Australia, slightly fewer consumers would agree at 41% and 36%, respectively. 

Adjacent here refers to ads shown before a video, ads appearing before creator content, ads played during videos, or those supporting influencers. 

Ad placement also aids in message recall. When messages were associated with standard content, message recall was higher (+14 points) compared to when it was placed next to questionable or grey content (+4 points).

Markets aren’t immune to grey content (brown; green = standard content) 

Source: Magna Media Trials

Purchase intent was also higher with standard content (+10%) versus grey content (+4%) as was search intent. 

Standard content (green) improves purchase and search intent versus grey content (brown)

Source: Magna Media Trials

Brands stand more to lose with Gen Z and millennials where purchase intent decreased 7% and 5%, respectively. 

What’s considered appropriate varies by sector

Interestingly, what consumers consider appropriate varies by brand sector. Not surprisingly, questionable content is considered most inappropriate for toy brands as these tend to cater to children. But financial service brand ads that are placed next to grey content are also a big no-no. Beverage and quick-service food brands are less likely to be judged harshly for grey content. 

Grey content is unacceptable in some sectors

Source: Magna Media Trials

Brands which regularly target B2B audiences should be even wearier in placing their ads next to questionable content as consumers will judge them even more harshly for it. 

Key takeaways

  • 49% of UK customers agree a brand supports the content their mobile video ads appear adjacent to
  • Messages associated with standard content improve recall (+14 points) 
  • Brands stand more to lose with Gen Z and millennials where purchase intent decreased 7% and 5%, respectively, when ads appeared next to grey content

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