Consumers More Likely to Buy From Ads on Media Sites Than Social Media?

    June 15, 2010
    Chris Crum

The Online Publishers Association has revealed some findings from research on how brands are perceived across content in different online environments. Specifically, it looks at how environments like media publications (such as, iVillage,, Wall Street Journal, etc.), portal channels (such as AOL News, MSN Money, Yahoo Sports, etc.), and social networks (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) impact content and its advertisers.

OPA President Pam Horan "The goal of our research was to help brand marketers better understand why consumers receive and respond to online brand advertising differently depending on the content environment in which the message appears," explains OPA president Pam Horan. "Our findings show that site destination matters as trust and relevant content are perceived differently across content environments.  This study concludes that consumers perceive and take action differently depending on where the advertiser’s message appears."

According to the research, 80% of participants who have purchased brands as a result of online ads say they have a strong, positive emotional connection to the sites where the ads ran.

The OPA and Harris Interactive ran statistical correlations to understand whether there is a relationship between how content is perceived in these environments and how advertisers are received and responded to. For reference, correlations measure the strength of the relationship between two variables, and can range from -1 to +1, with zero being no relationship. With that in mind, here are some key findings:

– Sites with relevant content correlate strongly with audiences being loyal to these sites (a correlation score of .445)

– Sites with trusted content correlate strongly with the sites’ advertisers being perceived as reputable (a correlation score of .388)

– Brands perceived as relevant are more likely to have a response to their online ads (a correlation score of .353)

More interesting yet are the environment-specific findings. According to the research, consumers are more likely to trust content on media sites (72%) than on portal channels (60%) and social media (23%). Audiences on media sites are significantly more likely to believe these sites’ advertisers are high quality and reputable (24%), compared to portal channels (20%) and social media (8%), the OPA says.

"The study clearly concludes that online media proprieties offer advertisers a distinct brand halo effect for their advertising messages," says Horan.

Of course social media gives advertisers a direct connection with consumers, by letting them become fans/followers, which can be a brand’s most loyal customers.


Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.