Who (Dis)likes Advertising the Most?

May 31, 2016

This article is included in these additional categories:

Advertising Trends | African-American | Boomers & Older | Creative & Formats | Hispanic | Household Income | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

YouGov-US-Adults-Like-Advertising-May2016American adults are more apt to generally dislike (61%) than like (34%) advertising, according to a recent YouGov study [pdf]. In fact, intense dislike (“dislike a lot”) outweighs liking advertising “a lot” by an almost 6-to-1 margin (28% vs. 5%) among the 1,000 adults surveyed. However, some groups have a more positive view of advertising’s likability than others.

The study breaks down its results by demographic group. Some key highlights from those results follow.


  • Females are 12.5% more likely than males to say they generally like advertising either “a little” or “a lot” (36% vs. 32%).

Age Group

  • Older age groups appear to have a dimmer view of advertising than younger ones.
  • The 30-44 age bracket has the most positive outlook towards advertising, with 42% liking it to some extent (versus the 34% adult average).
  • Fully 37% of adults aged 65 and older say they dislike advertising “a lot,” more than the proportion who like it to any degree (32%).


  • An impressive 63% of Black Americans say they generally like advertising “a little” or “a lot.” That makes them 85% more likely than the average adult to say that’s the case.
  • Hispanics are also far above-average in this regard: a slight majority (51%) report liking advertising to some degree.
  • By contrast, just 26% of White Americans like advertising, making them about half as likely as Hispanics and only slight more than one-third as likely as Black Americans to have that sentiment.

Household Income

  • There appear to be few trends when sorting by household income, although respondents with less than $50k are the most apt to generally like (37%) advertising.

Party Identification

  • Self-identified Democrats (45%) are considerably more likely than Republicans (31%) and Independents (28%) to say they like advertising. (Perhaps none will at the end of this election cycle?)

While the YouGov question was about advertising in general, it’s worth remembering that specific ads’ likability doesn’t always translate to effectiveness. An Ace Metrix study released a few years ago demonstrated that funny ads correlated fairly strongly with likability, but not with purchase intent. A more recent Advertising Benchmark Index (ABX) study (reported here by The Measurement Standard) found that ad likability did not correlate well with brand linkage or messaging. In other words, a likable ad isn’t necessarily one that viewers associate with a brand or grasp well when it comes to the message being delivered.

Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see that some of the demographic groups in the YouGov study that had more dislike for advertising also report being less influenced by advertising. In a MarketingCharts study on stated advertising effectiveness, men were less likely than women to say that they had been influenced to make a purchase by one of the various advertising media presented, and older Americans were likewise less likely to report being influenced by ads. (Tempering any link: the lowest-income group also said they were the least likely to have made a purchase based on one of the ad media.)

For an in-depth look at the various advertising media that influence US adults the most (by gender, age group, and household income), see MarketingCharts’ report, “Advertising Channels With the Largest Purchase Influence on Consumers.”

About the Data: The YouGov report is based on a survey fielded May 20-23, 2016, among 1,000 US adults.

Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in internet panel using sample matching. A random sample (stratified by gender, age, race, education, voter registration, political ideology, party identification, geographic region, and voter registration) was selected from the 2014 American Community Study. Voter registration and party identification were inputed from the November 2014 Current Population Survey Registration and Voting Supplement.

The sample was weighted using propensity scores based on gender, age, race, education, political ideology, geographic region and voter registration. The weights range from 0.135 to 6.139, with a mean of one and a standard deviation of 0.808.


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