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AOP reveals results from “The New Rules of Engagement” study

AOP unveils new UK Advertising Engagement Research

The new research examines advertising engagement: the relationship between consumer engagement with website content and how it impacts on their reaction to advertising on different website types: original content sites, portals and social networks.

The findings in the study, conducted by GfK NOP, show that engagement and advertising responsiveness is strongest on original content sites compared to other site genres. Respondents are almost twice as likely to trust advertising and brands on content sites vs. social media sites, while they are almost three times more likely to believe that content sites are better than social media sites at influencing positive brand opinion.

AOP Members can download a copy of the report here. (Login required.)

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By examining the complex relationship between site and audience, the study also reveals that measures such as dwell time and frequency of visit are not as indicative of engagement as previously thought.

AOP Director Lee Baker comments, “This is the first research to highlight the inadequacies of metrics to measure engagement that the industry currently employs. This study offers publishers, advertisers and agencies compelling data; and ultimately offers advertisers business-critical solutions around advertising engagement. The results of this new study represent a marked evolution in how to view advertising engagement online.”

“The New Rules of Engagement” study is endorsed by AOP members. A select group of publishers have been briefed to present the findings, over the next few weeks, to the advertising community and key stakeholders including advertisers, creative and media agencies and other industry bodies through an active programme of presentations, debates, forums and through the AOP’s Committee activity.

The study identifies five key dimensions of engagement for users, of a site being trustworthy (recognition of and confidence in a brand); authoritative (consistent, reliable thought-leadership); unique (original content); offering community (featuring like-minded user forums); and entertaining.

The study also suggests there are three key characteristics of advertising behaviour: trust (consumers who particularly trusted the site brands they used, were more likely to trust the brands advertising on these sites - and more likely to respond to advertising on these sites); action (consumers were more likely to click on advertising links and/or purchase from sites they trust) and awareness.

The AOP’s Research Committee commissioned GfK NOP to conduct the project to examine engagement levels across segments of the online landscape content sites (eg: UK Newspaper sites, UK commercial TV and radio sites, UK magazine sites and trade/business publication sites) portals (eg: MSN, Yahoo!) and social network sites (eg: Facebook, MySpace). A survey of 1,340 interviews via an online panel took place from 13-20 October 2010 with UK respondents only.

Is responsiveness to advertising really likely to be higher or better among audiences where engagement with content is strong?

AOP Ad Engagement Research Video

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Tim Cain, AOP Head of Research and Insight says, “This is a significant piece of research in that it has sought to understand better the underlying factors that can really ascribe “engagement” and create a framework for determining how and where it exists. This study has created a model that can be replicated for comparative analysis at individual site, category or genre level.”

Sarah Messer, Chair of AOP’s Research Committee and Head of Commercial Research & Insight at ITV adds, “Online is known as the ‘accountable’ medium, and while direct response is a persuasive metric, this research shows that some indicators, such as ‘dwell time’, are not an accurate measure of ‘engagement time’. Users will visit social network sites daily and for long periods of time, yet by visiting a B2B, consumer or business site and obtaining relevant information or news quickly, doesn’t make the user any less ‘engaged’.”

“In fact, we’ve found users are more likely to respond to advertising on content sites than social networks. The comprehensive methods used for this study, we feel, not only give the industry much more potent data, but also greater insight, into consumer behaviour in relationship to online advertising engagement.”

Lee Baker, Director of AOP concludes, “The research was commissioned to help us inform our publisher members, but the findings apply across the board to advertisers and agencies. We are in a unique position to define advertising engagement online, and we feel this study gives a deeper understanding and more accurate analysis to the metrics used to date. The AOP aims to add depth to the challenges of determining engagement.”

AOP Members can download a copy of the report here. (Login required.)

Download the New Rules of Ad Engagement Whitepaper (free access.)

Press Contact

For further details, please contact Lorette Nettar.

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