Adverts which are relevant to the content of a website affect users in a more positive fashion than those which are not, according to a new study commissioned by Google.

The research, carried out for the search engine giant by Enquiro Research, indicates that test readers’ intent to buy a certain brand is increased by nearly a quarter (24 percent) with relevant ads.

In comparison, unrelated ads result in a 12 percent drop in purchasing intent for that brand, meaning that a non-relevant ad can actually hurt the bottom line of an advertiser.

The study indicates that inappropriate adverts stand out more than their relevant counterparts, with users 16 percent more likely to temporarily remember an ad which is not pertinent due to the "surprise factor" of it being out of context.

Andrew Spoeth, director of marketing at Enquiro, comments: "This study’s results show us the importance of sophisticated ad targeting."

Meanwhile, recently published data from the comScore Ad Metrix indicates that Microsoft has been ranked as the top US online display advertiser in June.