Too Much Advertising Is Digital Suicide

The findings on a range of digital advertising issues in the 2012 Digital Advertising Attitudes Report from Upstream and YouGov, polling UK adults and U.S. adults aged 18+, show that 27% of British, and 20% of American consumers online would stop using a product or service, such as the social networking site, if they were subjected to too much advertising. This, as 66% each of British and American online consumers already claim they feel subjected to excessive digital advertising and promotions.

The 2012 Digital Advertising Attitudes Report reveals that while 20% of US consumers would stop using a company’s products or services entirely as a result of receiving too many advertising messages, 28% would be less likely to respond positively to that company in the future. Furthermore 14% of US 18-24 year olds would publicly complain about that company to their friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Responses to Digital Advertising Overload (% of Respondents; February 2012


% of Respondents




Would unsubscribe from a brand’s promotions if they were too frequent



Would respond negatively to future messages from that brand



Would stop using the brand’s product or service



Would protest on social media sites



Source: Upstream/YouGov, February 2012

However, says the report, consumers are not generally dismissive of digital marketing and advertising but understand that it can be useful. 69% of US adults are happy in principle, to receive marketing and advertising on their PC, mobile, tablet or MP3 player.

However, to make the US user more likely to respond positively to the marketing, the advertising must be:

  • Tailored to the consumer’s personal interests (26%)
  • Contextually relevant to what they are doing (21%)
  • Specific to their location (19%)

As a general rule:

  • 55% of US consumers do not wish to be targeted more than once a month
  • 33% of 18-24 year olds are most amenable to being targeted as frequently as once a week or more

Marco Veremis, President of Upstream “... companies need to put effectiveness first, reducing the frequency with which they speak to consumers, delivering only high quality, relevant and timely messages... not heeding this stark consumer warning is likely to have the opposite effect intended...

As speculation mounts, says the report, over Facebook’s imminent first steps into the world of mobile marketing such as inserting “featured stories” into people’s mobile feeds, the 2012 Digital Advertising Attitudes Report warns that consumer openness to advertising is lowest on mobile phones versus any other device such as PC, laptop or tablet.

64% of Brits and 67% of Americans would find it most unacceptable to receive unwanted advertising on their mobile phone/smartphone over other electronic devices. There is a further warning that mobile display advertising is not the way to go. 11% of Brits and 15% of Americans who have surfed the internet on their mobile phone have ever clicked on a mobile banner ad, and only one in every 100 Brits who surf on their mobiles and 1 in 50 Americans click on banner ads frequently. The vast majority of those who surf the internet on their mobiles (79% in the UK and 72% in the US) find banner advertisements on their mobiles or smartphones irritating.

Veremis concludes that “ will always be a deeply personal medium and to avoid a backlash... advertising must be personal, intimate and targeted... focus(ing) on using short, text-based ad formats instead of intrusive graphical banners...”

For additional information from the Upstream report, please visit here.


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