New IAS Report Uncovers How Consumer Perception of Misleading Content Impacts Brand Favorability

New research demonstrates the impact of misleading content to a company’s reputation

Integral Ad Science, a global leader in digital media quality, released its “Advertising in the Age of Misinformation” report that uncovers how consumer perception of misleading content impacts brand favorability. This follows the  “Misinformation & Media Quality” report released in June that explores what actions advertisers are taking to protect their campaigns against these growing threats.

Today’s report on consumer perception explores the challenges that misinformation poses for media strategies, as well as how consumers’ perceptions of misinformation affects brand sentiment, in turn influencing the way they interact with brands. 42% of media experts are concerned about the impact on their company’s reputation in the event of an ad appearing adjacent to misinformation as well as about consumer distrust in legitimate content and advertising after an adjacency near misinformation.

The majority of the survey participants echoed that misinformation is a serious issue in digital media and consider many different types of content under misinformation such as: misleading content, fabricated content, manipulated content, false content, false connection, imposter content, propaganda, satire or parody.

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IAS surveyed over 1,150 adults to examine how they perceive and interact with misinformation in digital environments, revealing consumers’ expectations for brands whose ads appear adjacent to misleading content.

The research revealed the following trends:

  • Digital media consumption is high among consumers, which increases the chance of encountering misinformation: The majority of consumers surveyed said that social media is the content type they consume the most, with 71% of them regularly encountering misleading digital content. 73% of consumers check digital media several times a day on their smart devices.
  • Consumers view misinformation as a major problem, and are confident in their ability to detect misinformation online: While the majority of consumers believe misinformation is a serious issue in digital media, 91% of consumers are confident in their ability to detect misinformation. While consumer confidence is high, misinformation is not always simple to detect, increasing risk for brands.
  • Consumers feel unfavorably toward brands whose ads appear alongside misinformation, impacting future purchase decisions: An alarming observation was that 65% of consumers say that they are likely or very likely to stop buying from a brand that advertises next to misinformation. 73% of consumers agree or strongly agree that they would feel unfavorably towards brands that have been associated with misinformation. However, consumers are also likely to take action and remember when a brand’s ads appear near misinformation and will perceive a brand more positively if it actively denounces misinformation.

“Our research demonstrates that there’s a gap between consumers’ unfavorable views of content alongside misinformation and how prepared marketers are to address it,” said Yannis Dosios, Global Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at IAS. “Context-based strategies provide an incredible opportunity for marketers to avoid misinformation and reach their target audience for maximum ROI with minimal impact on reach.”

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