Native advertising, the notoriously popular subset of today’s digital ad industry, appears to be here to stay. And with marketers being told they must label their advertising as, well, advertising, a slew of short disclosure phrases have become popular. Ranging from the straightforward -- “Advertising” -- to the passive -- “Brought To You Buy” -- which one is the best?
TripleLift, a native ad exchange, partnered with eye-tracking and consumer survey company Sticky to find out.
TripleLift surveyed 209 consumers and presented each user with five versions of the same branded content, and each piece of branded content had a different disclosure label. The branded content was from Sargento, and it was placed inside a feed of recipes and food-related articles.
The five disclosure labels used in the study were: Advertisement, Sponsored By, Brought To You By, Presented By, and Promoted By.
When surveyed after being exposed to the ad, 71% of respondents said they noticed the Sargento content, but only 38% recognized it as a paid advertisement.
The data collected by Sticky’s eye-tracking technology may help explain this divide. The company noted that the majority of users looked at the native ad’s image and headline copy almost three times more often than they viewed the areas where the disclosure language appeared.
When the disclosure language is noticed, it’s best to avoid using the word “Advertisement,” according to TripleLift’s study.
While about half (49%) of respondents felt the disclosure “Advertisement” was the most straightforward of the five labels, over one-third (34%) said it was their least favorite disclosure label -- tops among all options. "Promoted By" was liked least by another 30% of respondents, while "Presented By" (13%), "Brought To You By" (12%) and "Sponsored By" (10%) were the least irksome labels.
“Looking at the eye-tracking data, the ad featuring the ‘Advertisement’ label was seen by only 23% of responders, the lowest percentage of eyeball on any of the disclosure labels, which could be a reflection of consumers’ natural instinct to ignore anything associated with blatantly being an ad,” writes TripleLift in its report.
TripleLift concludes that “consumers seem to respond to, and appreciate, softer language that makes it seem like they are receiving the ad as part of a value exchange for the opportunity to engage with free content.” TripleLift theorizes that labels such as “Sponsored By” or “Brought To You By” are passive enough to not turn the consumer off, yet still straightforward enough as to not trick the consumer into thinking they are looking at editorial content.