The Risk of Programmatic Advertising: Effects of Website Quality on Advertising Effectiveness

Edlira Shehu, Nadia Abou Nabout, Michel Clement

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Programmatic advertising is prevalent in online advertising. However, it offers managers limited control over the type of website where the ad appears, resulting in brand safety issues. Aware of the risk that ads may potentially display on websites of poor quality (nonpremium websites), managers have developed strategies to reduce this risk. Due to the lack of empirical insights, these strategies are based on “gut feeling” and depend on campaign type (branding versus performance) and brand type (premium versus nonpremium). Our research addresses this void and analyzes website quality effects for premium and nonpremium brands in branding and performance campaigns. Our results show that effects, indeed, vary depending on campaign and brand type, but not in ways that managers might expect. When a branding ad appears on a nonpremium website, attitudes towards the ad and the brand deteriorate, but only for premium brands. In contrast, website quality does not affect awareness for either type of brand. When a performance ad appears on a nonpremium website, it generates fewer clicks; this effect is stronger for premium brands. Overall, these findings enrich our understanding of the consequences of programmatic advertising and highlight the crucial role of website quality dependent on campaign goal and brand type.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)663 - 677
JournalInternational Journal of Research in Marketing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502019 Marketing

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