Coronavirus Ad Adjacency Study: mapping consumer sentiment & behaviour

05/04 By Nick Morley

Navigating brand suitability during the coronavirus pandemic


In the midst of the evolving coronavirus pandemic, the advertising industry continues to seek guidance on how to best navigate brand suitability.

Advertisers have been quick to make adjustments, but it’s important to remember that brand suitability requires a nuanced, strategic approach. When it comes to advertising amid the current global climate, marketers and publishers are searching for a refreshed perspective on best practices for brand suitability. But where do consumers stand?

Last month, IAS conducted the Coronavirus Ad Adjacency study to understand U.K. consumer perception concerning digital advertising and coronavirus content online. Since then, IAS followed up with consumers to see how their behaviours and sentiments have evolved as they continue to spend time at home. 

Key findings

Consumers are still seeking news online, and they feel that suitability regarding coronavirus content depends on the brand.

  • 81% of UK consumers actively seeking out coronavirus content
  • 88% of consumers actively seeking out news content due to coronavirus situation
  • 91% prefer premium news and publishing sites when consuming Covid-19 content online

Consumers generally agree that their sentiment toward brands would be unchanged with regards to brands whose ads appear next to coronavirus content.

  • 11% feel more favourable toward brands with ads adjacent to Covid-19 content
  • 63% report that their sentiment toward the brand is unchanged
  • Only 17% of UK consumers say they are not likely to engage with an ad adjacent to Coronavirus content
  • Consumers prefer to see Healthcare and Government alongside coronavirus content, with both increasing in relevance for consumers compared to the previous report.

Consumers have more favourable responses to advertisements that appear alongside positive coronavirus news and content.

  • Between 35% and 39% of consumers would have a MORE favourable sentiment toward the brand’s ad adjacency to examples of positive content
  • 44% would feel more favourable towards a brand whose ad provided information to help the public deal with the coronavirus situation

For advice on how to manage your digital advertising at this time, please head to this blog post that includes support for both advertisers and publishers or explore our Context Control offering here.


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