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Are Ads Adjacent to Offensive Content Viewed as Endorsing That Content?

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Nearly one-third of Americans think ads adjacent to offensive online content imply that the advertiser endorses or approves of that offensive material, according to recent research from YouGov.

The report was based on data from a poll conducted in April 2017 of 2,269 adults in the United States age 18 and older.

Most (86%) people polled say they sometimes come across offensive (racist, sexist, hate-promoting, etc.) content online.

Some 30% of respondents say when they see a brand being advertised alongside offensive material, they believe the advertiser is somehow endorsing that material; 20% do not see it as an endorsement, 33% say the brand may or may not be endorsing the material, and 16% have no opinion.

Older consumers (age 55+) are more likely than younger consumers to view ads accompanying offensive content as endorsements.


Some 47% of respondents say they view a brand more negatively if its ads appear alongside offensive online content.

About the research: The report was based on data from a poll of 2,269 adults in the United States age 18 and older.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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