Millward Brown’s pre-testing data suggests that people’s reaction to advertising content does not vary much by channel. That makes me think that it is how the content is delivered that makes people dislike digital advertising more than other forms. People’s receptivity to advertising varies by context, and many digital ad formats violate what is considered acceptable.
Very few people in developed economies regard the idea of advertising positively. However, there is a lot of evidence that people dislike digital advertising more than most. AdReaction Video found that people were more favorable to advertising on live TV than digital formats. Autoplay and mobile pop-ups were the least popular formats.
If stated opinions are not enough for you, then the rapid rise in the number of people installing ad blocking software should confirm that many have reached a tipping point where attitude leads to behavior change. Some people are even paying to see ad-free content. Do you realize just how big a change that is? For years content companies struggled to get people to pay for news, movies, and music, and now people are paying not to see advertising. That’s pretty damning if you ask me.
So what is the root cause of the problem? Is it the content – let’s face it there are some pretty banal ads out there – or is it the placement, how the ad is delivered? To get some insight into this question we compared Link pre-testing results for digital and TV video ads, display and print ads. What we found surprised me. On average, there is little difference in response to any of the creative types. People were slightly more likely to voice a negative opinion about digital video ads than the other types, but not enough to point to a smoking gun behind the disenchantment with digital advertising in general.
To my mind this points to the way digital advertising is being delivered as the main problem. AdReaction Video suggests that it is the lack of control over advertising in an environment where the user expects control. Display ads can be avoided easily enough, but pop-ups and in-Read videos require action if they are to be avoided. They may be more ’engaging’ but they are also far more annoying, and create a negative perception of advertising in general.
So what does all this imply for advertisers? It suggests that they need to pay as much attention to how an ad is delivered as what is delivered if they expect to maintain a positive relationship over time. It is no longer good enough to shrug and say, ‘That’s just the way it is done’. Why? Because unless changes are made to the way things are done today, it might not last.
This article was originally posted on Millward Brown’s website and is republished with permission.
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