We won’t bury the lede: we could have titled this article, “Once More With Feeling: Consumers Prefer Ads in Traditional Media.” And we almost did. For whatever reason, consumers just seem to tolerate legacy media ads more than online ones. We’ve seen it before, and a recent study from Kantar Media [download page] is the latest to add to that body of research.
[NOTE: If you’re interested in media consumption and advertising, check out our latest premium reports:
– (3rd Edition) US Media Audience Demographics – offering a look at the composition (by age, income and race/ethnicity) of a host of media audiences, including TV, radio and print.
– (3rd Edition) Advertising Channels With the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers – provides insights as to how various media ads rank as a stated purchase influencer among various demographic groups.]
This latest study is based on a survey of 5,213 connected adults (18+ with access to the internet) across 5 countries: Brazil; China; France; the UK; and the US.
Respondents were asked their attitudes towards advertising in main media forms, choosing between dislike, neutrality, and general appeal. (Some reported not knowing or not having the question be applicable.)
For this particular reading, we’ve constructed a score that is calculated as the percentage of respondents who said they “dislike it generally” subtracted from those who “like it generally, it can be enjoyable.” As such, a positive figure indicates a net positive sentiment, and a negative figure the opposite.
Here’s how the results shook out:
- Magazines: +20 (33% positive vs. 13% negative);
- Billboards: +18 (31% v. 13%);
- Cinema: +16 (37% v. 21%);
- Newspapers: +15 (28% v. 13%);
- Online Print: +2 (26% v. 24%);
- TV: +1 (33% – 32%);
- Social Media: -1 (27% v. 28%).
- Radio: -2 (24% v. 26%);
- Online TV: -5 (24% v. 29%);
- Online Video: -6 (24% v. 30%);
- Print media has a generally positive swing in perception. Could this be the reason why consumers ascribe more influence to print (relative to reach) than any other medium?
- The top advertising media tend to be non-interruptive. Interruptive ads frustrate consumers, as evidenced by our in-depth article on how digital advertising can be improved.
- Print and video advertising are far more tolerated when in offline than online format.
- Social media ads are among the most tolerated digital types, which may also be why they’re rising in influence.
- Cinema ads garner the most positive perceptions, while digital video ads garner the most dislike.
Attitudes towards TV ads – the most influential medium – are fairly neutral. However, when respondents were separately asked to identify where they had seen ads that fit well contextually, TV was the runaway winner (57%), with the next-placed websites (20%) well behind.
Does Multi-Media Advertising Work?
For big brands, of course, media diversification seems to make sense in order to reach the broadest array of audiences. Research has shown, for example, that supplementing a TV campaign with a Facebook ad campaign can provide incremental unique audiences.
But what about those audiences that see ads in both – or more – media? How do they feel about it?
Before tackling that question, how often do consumers believe they notice ads for brands across multiple media? For a slight majority (51%), exposure to multi-media advertising campaigns occurs often (37%) or always (14%), with another third (34%) at least sometimes exposed to them.
So do the ads have an impact? For 43% of respondents, they don’t make a difference to attitudes about a brand. Luckily for brands running multi-media campaigns, respondents were more likely to say that these types of ads help them better understand what the brand offers than to say that they’re not a good way to communicate with them. Worth noting is that by far the most positive reception to multi-media ad exposure came from respondents in Brazil and China.
So do consumers believe there’s a purchase influence? Actions speak louder than words, of course, but attitudes are always worth investigating. On average, roughly half of those who claimed exposure to a multi-media campaign said it made no difference to their likelihood to take a range of actions, but there was also a sizable portion that claimed a positive reaction:
- 46% said it made them more likely to look for the brand in stores;
- 43% said it made them more likely to seek more information about the brand online;
- 41% said that it made them more likely to talk about the brand with friends, colleagues or family;
- An equal share (41%) said it made them more likely to purchase the brand.
So there you have it. Consumers might have some apathy towards multi-media campaigns, but at the same time they do believe that they impact them to some degree.
Now just choose your media carefully…