New Study Reveals Native Ads on Premium Publisher Sites are 44% More Trusted Than Ads on Social Platforms

Outbrain and independent research agency Lumen studied the relationship between consumers’ trust in advertising and premium publisher environments. The study draws on the responses of over 900 consumers in the UK, France, and Germany, and looks at how trust, clicks, and purchases are impacted by the online environment or ad formats. The study goes on to reveal how those consumer behaviors differ by verticals (Finance, Travel Sporting Goods, Toys and Kidswear, Home & Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty and Electronics) and during major sales events such as Black Friday and Christmas.

The halo effect of premium environments

The study found that native ads shown on premium news sites are more likely to be trusted (+31%), clicked on (+16%) and lead to future purchases (+18%) than ads that appear on social media platforms. The same was applicable across all three markets measured.

“Trust amongst consumers is not just a passing trend; it is the key to building a sustainable digital economy amongst marketers. Unfortunately, right now, trust is at an all-time low,” said Alexander Erlmeier, Managing Director, International at Outbrain. “The whole industry, Publishers, Advertisers, and technology partners, have a shared responsibility to create a sustainable ecosystem and earn back the trust of consumers. Supporting quality journalism is an important step towards that goal.”

Native formats are better perceived by European consumers compared to both social and display formats

The study goes on to explore consumers’ perceptions of ads based on their format and their likelihood to drive further consideration or action. When comparing native recommendations to social and display ads, we found that native recommendations came out strongest across all metrics including:

  • Being easy to understand: Scoring 62% higher than displays ads and 31% higher than social ads
  • Informative: Scoring 60% higher than display ads, and 14% higher than social ads
  • Trustworthy: Scoring  9% higher than display ads and 28% higher than social ads
  • Furthermore, native recommendations scored as the least annoying or intrusive vs both display and social.

The full study is available for download here.


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