What Do People Expect from Ads – And What Don’t They Like About Them?

May 24, 2021

GWI What US Consumers Want From Ads May2021While brands spend a lot of time thinking about which channels are going to be most beneficial for their advertising, it’s also worth considering what consumers want from the ads they see. Here’s what data provided by GlobalWebIndex (GWI) reveals about what consumers want from ads and what turns them off a brand’s advertising.

The survey of more than 2,000 US internet users ages 16-74 shows that what consumers most want from ads is information. Indeed, half (49.7%) say they want ads to give them product information, while one-third (33.3%) want ads to teach them something new.

Others are interested in ways to save money, with 4 in 10 (39.9%), saying they want ads to provide discounts or special offers. Also high on the list is enjoyment. A fair share of respondents say they want ads to be entertaining (38.6%) and to make them laugh (28.9%).

About 3 in 10 (29.2%) express a desire for ads to be relevant to them or their identity. What makes an ad relevant varies, but research from DISQO found that about two-fifths (42%) of consumers said an ad is relevant if it is of interest to them. And, although marketers put a lot of stock in personalization, fewer than one-fifth (17.8%) of respondents to GWI’s survey say they want ads to give them personalized recommendations.

What Negatively Impacts a Brand?

While the above ad qualities are desirable for consumers, one of the top things that could potentially turn consumers away from a brand is seeing too many ads. More than half (51.9%) of respondents said too many ads would most negatively impact their view of a brand. This is followed by ads that block content they are trying to access (39.4%).

Although only 3 in 10 consumers wanted ads to be relevant to them, some 36.6% say ads that are not relevant to them would negatively impact their view of a brand. Yet, they do signal that there is a difference between relevant and creepy, with one-fifth (20.3%) saying ads that are too targeted have a negative impact on brand perception.

Ad adjacency is also an issue for consumers. GWI’s data shows that close to one-third (31.7%) of respondents’ views of a brand would be negatively impacted if its ads appeared next to inappropriate content.

Ad Qualities by Platform

When respondents were asked which words best describe the ads they typically see on different platforms, “excessive” was the top descriptor for ads on social media (31.5%), websites (32.2%) and emails (33.7%).

However, when it came to describing TV ads, “excessive” appeared further down the list. Instead, “entertaining” (35.4%) was the most popular response, followed by “informative” (31.7%). This suggests that although ad spending on TV is dropping, from a consumer’s perspective, TV advertising is fulfilling some of the top elements they want from ads while avoiding some of the pitfalls.

About the Data: Findings are based on a February 2021 survey of 2,013 US internet users ages 16-74.


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