Info Is King: Study Finds Americans Simply Want Ads To Tell Them About Products

With the digital ad industry poised to discuss -- and debate -- changing consumer sentiment about the role of advertising in their lives, new research from GWI (formerly Global Web Index) finds a plurality of Americans simply want ads to tell them about the products they are promoting.

Asked what they "most want" from ads, half of all U.S. internet users surveyed by GWI this month simply said "product information."

That is a significantly higher percentage than those (40%) who said they are looking for ads that provide them with product discounts and special offers -- something new research from another study being released today by the Internet Advertising Bureau says is part of a new "value exchange" that consumers are expecting from advertising (see related story).

Nearly as many respondents said they are simply looking for ads to entertain them (39%), teach them something new (33%), be relevant (29%) or make them laugh (29%).

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Lower down the spectrum of responses were higher-order attributes such as having ads that targeted consumers personally (18%), promote diversity (16%), raise awareness of societal or environmental issues (16%) or focused on responses to the COVID-19 crisis (12%), suggesting that most Americans simply want ads that perform their most classic functions: to inform, entertain, educate, be relevant, or make them laugh.

On the flip side, when asked what the most negative possible attributes of advertising are, most consumers cited seeing too many ads, seeing ads too frequently (52%), followed by ads that impede access to content (39%), ads that are not relevant to consumers (37%), ads adjacent to inappropriate content (32%), ads that appear to be "following" consumers (29%), and adds that seem "too targeted" (20%).

4 comments about "Info Is King: Study Finds Americans Simply Want Ads To Tell Them About Products".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 8, 2021 at 10:05 a.m.

    Joe, this is highly predictable research but in the case of TV commercials at least we must remember that the use of humor or celebrities, music or visual gimmicks is often the hook by which the advertiser gets attention for the message in the first place. So, of course, people want ads to inform them---when they are interested in the product or service---but how to get them to at least look at the message is the first thing that must be addressed when planning a campaign.

  2. PJ Lehrer from NYU, March 8, 2021 at 1:10 p.m.

    Sample size? demographics?  margin of error?

  3. Frank Zazza from Slot Perks, March 8, 2021 at 11:45 p.m.

    Unfortunately, no matter how creative or humorous or informative a commercial is we all have a built-in cognitive rejection that leads to “ad nauseum” after seeing the same commercial multiple times. Be it on Linear or especially on Stream a better ad mouse trap will soon surface.

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 9, 2021 at 11:10 a.m.

    Frank, that's why smart TV advertisers use pools of commercials---different scenarios and casts--same message---not just a single one. Also, it has been demonstrated that if you pound away with the same commercial in a single telecast or even a single week, you get---as you said---a rather sharp tiurn-off for many viewers. However,, if you stretch out the intervals of exposures so the average person---who doesn't pay attention to more than half of your "impressions" anyway---is exposed about once or twice every two or three weeks, the negative effects of excessive frequency are considerably mitigated.

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