Study Finds Male Actors, Voices Dominate Video Ads Globally

TV and video ads skew male in both visual and voices globally, and are more likely to employee people under the age of 40, according to a new diversity study.

Extreme Reach’s study -- The Gender and Age Diversity in Global Ad Creative, which analyzed two million ads between 2019 and 2022 -- leveraged artificial intelligence and machine-learning models to analyze how gender and age are represented in publicly available video creative.

“Clients want to set goals around diversity and creative,” says Melinda McLaughlin, CMO of Extreme Reach, adding that this basically is the reason for the study.

But how? The report analyzed nine global regions to provide a detailed breakdowns of diversity in advertising creative for 16 individual countries.

The findings are an expansion of the gender and age portion of Extreme Reach’s North American analysis released in December 2022.

“The data tells us that the global ad industry is mostly male dominated for video and voice,” McLaughlin said.

East and Southeast Asia is the only region where male and female closely mirror its population.

Advertising in Sub-Saharan Africa skewed the highest -- with 73% male in video and voice vs. their incidence in the population of 50%.

Age broken into segments for the study, in brackets with ages 0 to 19, 20 to 39, 40 to 49, and 60 and over. Every region exhibited a significant skew between 20- and 39-year-olds, with the composition of that segment ranging from 76% to 83% vs. a population range of 25% to 33%.

The competition of ads last year in North America skewed highest, at 76.7% -- between 20 and 39 years old. About 11.9% were between 40 and 59 years old, while 9.6% were between 0 and 19 years old, and 1.8% were 60 years and older. This is despite rough numbers, 26.7% of the population being 20 to 39 years old, 25.1% being between 40 and 59 years old, 24.8% being between 0 and 19 years old, and 23.4% being 60 and older, according to the data.

The visual composition of males is higher than the male percentage of population in every region. East and Southeast Asia is the only region where the male and female balance is on par with the male and female population.

There were 3.97 billion males in the world in 2021, representing 50.42% of the world population. The population of females in the world is estimated at 3.905 billion, represented 49.58% of the world population, according to Statistics Times, the most recent data.

In North America, for example, males make up 74.9% of the audio in ads, followed by LATAM with 75.7%, Sub-Saharan Africa at 73.3%, North Africa and West Asia at 68.4%, Central and South Asia at 68%, Australia and New Zealand at 67.4%, Europe at 66%, and East and Southeast Asia at 48.7%.

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