8 in 10 Adults Believe Brands Should Worry About Ad Adjacency

November 2, 2021
AdAgeHarrisPoll Concerns Brands Ad Adjacency Nov2021

Consumers are paying attention to where online ads are appearing, and if a brand’s ad appears next to content that is negative or controversial it can have negative consequences for that brand. A recent survey from Ad Age and Harris Poll confirms that, in the eyes of consumers, brands should be concerned about what kind of content their ads are next to.

Close to 8 in 10 of the more than 1,000 US adults surveyed either strongly agreed (27%) or somewhat agreed (41%) that brands should be concerned about their ads appearing next to negative content on a website or app. Older adults (ages 65+) were more likely than average to say brands should be concerned about their ads appearing next to negative content, with 86% at least somewhat agreeing to the statement. At the same time, with 71% in agreement, younger adults (ages 18-34) were less likely than average to agree that brands should be concerned.

Looking specifically at social media sites, more than half (54%) of respondents say that when they see an ad on social media, they associate the brand or company with other content such as posts, videos and images around their ads. Fortunately, advertisers do seem to be aware of the potential damage ad adjacency poses for brands. An IAB survey from last year shows that the vast majority of advertisers were at least slightly concerned about their brand’s ads being adjacent to controversial content on social media sites

About 7 in 10 consumers say their decision to engage with an ad on social media is impacted by whether the platform shows them deceptive content. Moreover, it turns out consumers don’t necessarily think social platforms have their best interests at heart. More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents who were familiar with Facebook say that the company cares more about making money than protecting the people who use its products or platforms. This could be a reason why close to 6 in 10 (56%) agree that social media companies should be regulated by the US government, and why 59% of those familiar with Facebook feel that it should be regulated.

About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 1,014 US adults (18+).

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