Misaligned content for the test brands was determined as content that commonly produces visceral reactions in people, including skin conditions (e.g. pimple popping), ASMR (videos inducing autonomous sensory meridian response) and Mukbang (video host consumes various quantities of food). The study recruited users of popular video apps offering different video environments and had the users spend time on the platforms as they typically would (e.g. pre-roll video and video card). Users were served a mix of misaligned content and standard content.
A critical finding of the study is that misaligned content erodes the impact of hardworking ad creative that had proven strong performance in the standard content. In addition, the study found that brands need to be proactive about how to treat misaligned content to avoid diminishing the effectiveness of otherwise powerful ads.
Brands should also keep an eye on popular, trending content to ensure the appropriate steps can be taken to avoid unfortunate brand and content alignments, since not all trending content is suitable for all brands. Content can be categorized as icky, yet it’s engaging and watchable: while people rated misaligned content as less “premium” and more “triggering,” “embarrassing,” and “not safe for work,” most people chose to watch the misaligned content to completion, with 68% rating it as “entertaining.”
Additional findings of the study include:
- Misaligned content diminishes the impact of otherwise hardworking ads: The impact on purchase intent diminishes when the ad appears next to misaligned content. The study saw a loss of impact on purchase intent (-8%), brand respect (-9%), brand is high quality (-5%), and brand I trust (-6%) compared to standard content.
- People remember a brand’s ad, but for the wrong reasons: +41% recall ads in misaligned content while +32% in standard content. However, impact on perceptions of brand thoughtfulness (-10% loss of impact) and caring about customers (-7% loss of impact) diminishes when next to misaligned
- Consumers feel brands shouldn’t be aligned with certain types of content: Many people felt brands who had ads in misaligned content “leaves a bad memory attached to the brand,” and found the content association to be “weird” or “low caliber” for the brand.
- Brands are held most accountable in pre-roll environments: In a pre-roll environment, brands are more likely to be held accountable for the content they appear next to: consumers were 1.5X as likely to feel the brand endorsed misaligned content in pre-roll video compared to the video card environment.
- In a video card environment, the closer the ad, the stronger the brand association: Consumers were +10% more likely to believe the brand supported the misaligned content that the ad was immediately next to compared to two videos away. Brand KPIs were most likely to be harmed when the ad appeared immediately before the misaligned content, making it the biggest concern in video card environments.
“A major and critical finding of the study is that some of the most engaging misaligned content actually had the worst repercussions for brands,” said Kara Manatt, SVP, Intelligence Solutions, MAGNA. “The industry should continue to learn about the effects of misaligned content and build technologies accordingly to ensure appropriate and aligned placements regardless of the video environment.”
“We understand that content alignment and suitability is a spectrum and can vary by verticals, brands, and campaigns,” said Jed Hartman, President, Americas, Channel Factory. “Advertisers can see immense benefits from taking a deep dive into what their specific consumers’ thresholds are and working with video partners to custom-curate campaign content targeting to drive more positive brand results.”
To download report CLICK HERE.