Consumers and Marketers Alike Say Traditional Media Best for Advertising

Online advertising revenues are growing more quickly than traditional media revenues. But consumers and marketers both rate traditional sources, including TV and print publications, as best for marketing and advertising, well ahead of any digital media, according to survey findings by Adobe, released October 2012. Given up to 2 choices, 45% of consumers named newspapers and TV the best marketing and advertising sources, beating out other traditional sources such as consumer forums and publications (28%), as well as a host of digital channels such as websites (22%), social media pages (9%), and blogs (4%).

While in general, a smaller proportion of marketers than consumers rated traditional sources as their top-2 choices, their rankings generally aligned with those of the consumers surveyed. That is, TV and print, word-of-mouth, and consumer publications all beat out the digital channels identified. Marketers were also far more likely to choose industry publications than consumers (18% vs. 7%) as a top-2 marketing and advertising channel.

Overall, two-thirds of consumers said that TV commercials are more effective than online advertising, but only half of marketers agreed. That gap is somewhat surprising. Numerous studies, as detailed in a MarketingCharts data dive into TV advertising influence, have shown that TV consistently rates as the most influential advertising medium for consumers. Cost may be a factor figuring into marketers’ ratings of TV’s effectiveness; one that consumers don’t need to consider.

Magazines, TV Shows Are Preferred Ad Sources

Further results from Adobe’s “Click Here: The State of Online Advertising” indicate that only 31% of consumers claim to enjoy looking at ads. But when they do, their preferred source by far is their favorite print magazine, named by 45%, followed by their favorite TV show, chosen by 23%. Other preferred sources fail to get much share of the vote, including favorite websites (11%), billboards (10%), window displays (6%), and social media (3%). Mobile applications were among the selections, but no consumers chose them.

Online Ads “Annoying” And “Distracting”

Although only 3 in 10 consumers (and just 16% of marketers) believe that online advertising is not effective, consumers don’t appear to have warmed to online ads. When asked to select from a list of adjectives to describe them, “annoying” led the list at 68%, followed by distracting (51%), all over the place (46%), invasive (38%) and creepy (16%). Just 14% described them as eye-catching, 10% as clever and 7% as persuasive. 6% feel online ads are evil.

So consumer attitudes toward online ads are generally negative, and that appears to affect their attention spans. When asked to rank how much attention they pay to several sources of information on a scale of 1 to 5, just 7% gave online ads a top-2 box score. That’s behind radio ads (15%), billboard ads (16%), TV ads (18%), and print ads in magazines and newspapers (26%).

In fact, consumers pay more attention to celebrity gossip (11%) than they do to online ads.

About The Data: The study was commissioned by Adobe and produced by research firm Edelman Berland. It was conducted as an online survey among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, 18 years or older, and 250 professional marketers in the United States. Interviewing took place from October 8 to 16, 2012.