DV Study Underscores That Attention-Grabbing Ads Are Key to Performance, but Context Is Key — Consumer Concerns About Inflammatory or Misleading Content Surge

DoubleVerify, a leading software platform for digital media measurement, data and analytics, releases its 2022 ‘Four Fundamental Shifts in Advertising and Media’ report. Two years on from DV’s original report, this expanded edition analyzes insights from over 16,600 global consumers in 18 countries. At a time of significant macroeconomic change, these findings reveal the dynamic relationships between consumers, digital content, and advertising—arming stakeholders with the insights they need to make well-informed strategic decisions.

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“This study highlights that consumer consumption habits are evolving in response to macro social and economic trends—from intensifying concerns about inflammatory or polarizing content, to a continued shift in the platforms and channels consumers are turning to for content consumption”finsi

Key takeaways include:

  • Cost of living concerns drive “stay at home” content consumption—particularly on CTV and social media—with most (55%) consumers now spending more time consuming content daily than they did pre-pandemic.
  • Attention fuels media efficacy—two thirds (66%) of respondents claimed an ad that captures their interest in the first five seconds will make them more likely to pay attention.
  • Online shopping surges and is bolstered by a contextual approach—54% of respondents report buying more items online now than pre-pandemic, while 67% are more likely to pay attention to an ad if it’s relevant to the content they’re viewing—such as reviews or gift ideas.
  • Trust and shared values foster loyalty, but consumers are quick to judge—consumers are concerned about the spread of mis- and disinformation, and it shows—61% are even less likely to purchase/use a brand again if they see it advertised beside mis- or disinformation.

“This study highlights that consumer consumption habits are evolving in response to macro social and economic trends—from intensifying concerns about inflammatory or polarizing content, to a continued shift in the platforms and channels consumers are turning to for content consumption,” said Mark Zagorski, CEO of DoubleVerify. “Brands must react to these changing habits to ensure they reach the right audiences as efficiently as possible and maximize their digital investments. As our research shows, with digital content consumption rising, there’s a clear opportunity to garner consumer attention and power campaign performance. To unlock this opportunity, brands must evolve their ad strategies—meeting their audiences where they consume content and focusing on contextually relevant, attention-grabbing ad placements that also safeguard their brand reputations.”

Consumer appetite for content continues to soar—led by CTV, streaming, and social

Globally, most (55%) consumers are spending more time each day consuming content now than they did pre-pandemic. Inflation is a key driver here with almost half (45%) of respondents noting the reason they’re spending more time consuming digital content is because they are staying at home due the rising cost of living.

CTV (Connected TV) and streaming services have clear momentum, with 55% of respondents having subscribed to additional services in the past 12 months*. Meanwhile, globally, 27% expect to spend more time on social media in the year ahead—peaking at 41% among 18-24 year olds.

With costs under consumer scrutiny and digital content consumption rising, ad-supported content represents a growing opportunity for advertisers, with 59% open to ad-supported video streaming apps if it cuts prices.

Brands must address attention fragmentation—or risk losing consumers

Survey respondents reported that they believe they see between 1 and 50 ads per day—estimates suggest the true average figure is at least 4,000.**

Where an ad appears determines its impact, according to consumers. YouTube dominates as the number one proprietary platform for securing the attention of respondents in 15 out of 18 countries surveyed—followed by Facebook (39%) and Instagram (28%).*** Newer platforms continue to attract consumer time and engagement. TikTok is rapidly growing, and 43% of 18-24 year olds report they plan on spending more time in the app over the next 12 months.

Timing is essential with two thirds (66%) stating that they are more likely to pay attention if an ad captures their interest in the first five seconds.

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Shopping’s digital maturity presents a new opportunity for brands to make an impact

Online shopping continues to grow as most consumers, 54%, report buying more items online now than they did pre-pandemic.

Pre-purchase habits are also evolving, with over half (53%) highlighting they use digital content to inform planned purchases more often than they did before the pandemic. With two thirds (67%) of consumers saying they are more likely to pay attention to an ad if it’s relevant to the content they’re looking at—like reviews or gift ideas. This reinforces the importance of contextually relevant ad placements.

Brand values are key as consumers reward action against inflammatory content, mis- and disinformation

Likely exacerbated by polarized news and opinions, the majority of survey respondents (68%) are concerned that levels of mis- or disinformation are increasing—and brands must be conscious of ad adjacency. In fact, 61% would be less likely to purchase/use the brand again if they saw it advertised next to content that they determined to be mis- or disinformation.

The majority of survey respondents (82%) state they have been exposed at some point to mis- or disinformation on social media.

Brand action on mis- and disinformation will be rewarded with trust from consumers. The majority (69%) value brands that actively fight against mis- and disinformation and the same number (69%) state that companies that are genuine and authentic appeal to them.

Research Methodology

The survey was conducted among 16,608 adults aged 18+, across 18 countries. The interviews were conducted online by Sapio Research in June 2022 using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 0.8 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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