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Contently-Trust-in-Sponsored-Content-July2014Some 54% of internet users aged 18-65 say they generally don’t trust sponsored content, with most of the remainder only trusting such content if they trust the publication it runs on (19%) or they already trust the brand (23%). That’s according to survey results from Contently, which also found that two-thirds of respondents have at some point felt deceived upon realizing that an article or video they read was sponsored by a brand.

The results bring to mind a study released in late 2012 by MediaBrix, which revealed that a majority of online adults find advertising that appears as content (“native ads”) to be misleading. The results are interesting in light of a Polar analysis of data within its native advertising platform suggesting that the more closely aligned a native unit is with the publisher’s content (on a style basis), the better it will perform.

Separately, a survey conducted by Hexagram and Spada found that 8 in 10 publishers and 2 in 3 brands that have used native advertising reported having received no backlash at all to their use of the campaigns. That’s despite almost 6 in 10 respondents to the Contently survey claiming that they think a news site loses credibility if it runs articles sponsored by a brand.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of respondents to the Contently survey said they would not be as likely to click on an article sponsored by a brand as they would to click on editorial content. And, intriguingly, a majority 57% said they would prefer that their favorite news sites ran banner ads instead of sponsored articles (assuming the sponsor would have some influence over the content).

Finally, in a relative ranking of perceived quality, respondents ranked articles in print newspapers and print magazines as having the highest quality, followed in descending order by: articles on a news website; advertorials in a printed magazine; sponsored articles on a news website; articles on a brand’s website, and blog posts by mommy bloggers.

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 542 US internet users aged 18-65. Some 53% are male, and close to 6 in 10 are aged 18-44.

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