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Advertising needs to feature in a trusted online environment in order to deliver the best engagement levels, according to a study by AOL.

Almost one third of respondents (29%) said they would feel more positive about a brand if it was advertised on a site they trusted.

Plus, once a user feels they can trust a site, they are much more likely to click on a link and buy a product.

Phil Bird, AOL’s research and trade marketing director, said, “The most important thing is to isolate trust. Once you can isolate those who trust in a site – those who visit regularly, who share content, who do everything – the more likely they are to be interested in the ads that feature on that site.”

The research, which was conducted in collaboration with GfK NOP Media, sampled almost 1,200 consumers (695 AOL users and 495 non-AOL users) as they interacted with the site to examine engagement levels.

Three quarters of AOL users (74%), compared with 66% of non-AOL users, said they are more likely to notice advertising if it directly relates to the content on the site, and 84% of AOL users, compared with 74% of non-AOL users, said they are more likely to engage with an ad if it is relevant to their needs.

The quality of an ad also comes into play. Almost three quarters (74%) of AOL users said they were more likely to favour high-quality ads, while 66% of non-AOL users said the same.

AOL identified good-quality information, emotional attachment, prominent involvement and modernity as the four factors of website attributes, which it measured alongside two factors of advertising attributes – relevancy and trust and call to action.

Good-quality information is directly related to how trustworthy a user finds the advertising on a website, according to the report, and if users think a site is authoritative and passionate, it drives the best advertising response.

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Published 8 December, 2011 by NMA Staff

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