Adobe Unveils Comprehensive Report Analyzing Effectiveness of Premium Versus Non-Premium Media

YouGov Survey reveals that shoppers are more likely to purchase goods and services via ads on premium content channels.

Adobe today released the findings of a comprehensive premium vs. non-premium content channel comparison, enabling advertisers to better understand how they can reach and activate viewers in an increasingly fragmented content landscape. To put it simply; quality matters.

Adobe Digital Insights (ADI) combined unique, anonymized data analysis with a YouGov comparison study that polled more than 3,500 consumers and found that broadcast OTT premium channels overwhelmingly shone through as the premier option for advertisers. Additionally, according to Adobe’s anonymized data analysis (separate from the YouGov study), ads placed on premium content channels were found to deliver CTRs of 4.5x and 2.3x higher than non-premium on desktop and mobile respectively.

“Achieving the right mix between tried and true channels and things that are emerging (like connected TV) has been a challenge, especially because premium channels tend to carry a higher cost,” said Julia Nizinski, Digital Media Director of Platforms at Heineken. “Across the board, the more premium content is, the better usually performs as consumers are very engaged with it and it tends to be quite credible too.”

The Adobe report certainly backs up Nizinski’s credibility beliefs, as video ads rated significantly higher on premium channel properties according to survey participants. Across all seven KPIs (appealing, believable, credible, trustworthy, relevant to me, makes me want to learn more_​ and lastly​, makes me want to purchase)_ video ads rated 20%-50% higher in the context of premium channel properties compared to non-premium channels.

VP Advertising Cloud at Adobe, Justin Merickel, said there’s no underestimating how impactful premium video ads are and that if the engagement and the level of affinity consumers have for content is strong, then the associated marketing messages are able to break through in different ways.

“That’s where you’re going to find more engaged consumers with the content,” Merickel explained. “They care about the content and they tune in at higher numbers so what happens in premium I believe is differentiated than other channels.”

Viewable completion and click-through rates showed that users are more ready to engage with ads on Premium sites. Adobe compared the overlap of advertisers who placed ads on both UGC and Premium to conclude that ads on Premium sites offer better engagement.

Measuring true performance can be difficult given the disparity in ad content. To adjust for stylistic and brand differences, Adobe compared the best advertisers* showing ads on Premium and UGC sites to better evaluate the value of Premium placement.

The data revealed that the ceiling for engagement performance is significantly higher for Premium.

“The most interesting thing about this for me is the purchase intent lift on premium vs non-premium channels,” added Product Marketing Manager, Data & Experience Cloud Integrations at Adobe, Ian Monaghan. “When we laid out the hypothesis, we probably thought more of the soft metrics like credibility and trustworthiness and believability would be the highest differential. While they were still 20% to 30% higher, I was actually surprised how much seeing an ad in a premium context through purchase intent was higher than seeing it in a non-premium context.”

Millennials challenge stigma by watching TV

In contrast to common perceptions that younger people don’t watch TV, video ad KPI ratings on premium vs non-premium channel properties showed that ads on TV were rated significantly higher by ages under 30, across all KPIs. As an example, 30% of respondents aged 18-29 rated ads on TV as being the most trustworthy, compared to 16% who trust non-broadcast video.

“We assume the millennials are these super cynics of advertising, but they don’t seem to be, Monaghan said. “Perhaps the reason for this is that as there’s so much cord cutting and choice within the younger generation, when they do watch TV, they watch it much more purposefully.”

In looking at makes me want to purchase KPI for under 30s, 22% voted that TV was most likely to have that impact when seeing an ad on that medium, compared to 8% who feel compelled to buy when seeing the video ad on non-broadcast video.

Highest and lowest rated channels


The survey base, which breaks down to be 52 percent male and 48 percent female and is representative of the US online population age 18-64, asked people advertising-related questions to determine their views on ads on certain channels. Respondents rated three 30-second video advertisements imagined on specific channels based on seven common brand KPIs of being ​_appealing, believable, credible, trustworthy, relevant to me, makes me want to learn more_​ and lastly​_, makes me want to purchase._

The channel types rated included four premium content areas of ​_TV, broadcast OTT_ ​(such as on DirectTV Now and ESPN+), ​_national news and magazine websites_​ (such as CNN and The New York Times) and ​_premium digital properties_​ (such as BuzzFeed, IMDb and local news).

Three non-premium content areas were also looked at including ​_user generated content_ (such as Reddit, Tumblr and Quora), ​_non-broadcast video_​ (such as YouTube, Vimeo and Twitch) and ​_social media/newsfeeds_​ (such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter).

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