In recent years, the rise of online media and programmatic platforms have appeared to threaten premium publishers, by offering marketers the ability to reach the same audiences using cheaper inventory on lower quality sites – apparently achieving the same goal at a lower price.
New research suggests that it’s not just a question of price points. The old conventional wisdom still holds true: Ads benefit from adjacency to premium content.
The latest evidence comes from comScore, which compared the effectiveness of digital display ads for branding purposes on premium and non-premium sites.
The premium sites were drawn from the member base of online publisher industry organization Digital Content Next; however DCN did not commission the study, which was performed by comScore independently.
To assess the effects of different adjacencies, comScore analyzed brand lift results for 15 big brand display campaigns that appeared on both DCN and non-DCN publishers, as reflected in comScore’s survey results.
According to comScore, display ads appearing on DCN member sites showed brand lift 67% higher than non-DCN publishers on average, at 0.89 versus 0.53.
The study also found that ads appearing on premium publishers are over three times as effective at raising favorable brand perceptions, consideration, and intent to recommend, all “mid-funnel” metrics important to established consumer brands; here the DCN publishers led non-DCN publishers by 1.87 to 0.51.
ComScore attributed some of the increase in ad effectiveness to simple higher viewability on premium sites, with DCN sites having an average viewability rating of 50%, compared to 45% for the non-DCN sites.
The study pointed out that this may correspond to differences between ads bought directly versus ads bought programmatically, which have average viewability ratings of 55% and 42%, respectively.
ComScore also noted that the DCN sites had a lower volume of invalid traffic (including fraudulent bot traffic), at 2.2% of total traffic compared to 3.5% for non-DCN publishers.