Commentary

How do I interact with ads?

A really interesting reader question last week prompted me to ask myself – and friends – which ads we pay attention to, and where we go for information on day-to-day and BIG purchases. I really couldn’t formulate much of a response because I've never considered my interactions with ads. I usually just avoided them. But in the past week I’ve been watching my ad-reading habits specifically and have started formulating a few conclusions.

I’m really brand loyal:
I often watch certain stations, eat certain brands of food, use specific service carriers… Many times these are the brands I used at home with my family, or stores I’ve always shopped at… In any case, ads have to strike me to change my mind on almost anything.

TV is a great place for everyday stuff:
To piggyback on my post last week, I watch very few programs live – which translates to very few ads watched in general. But I do watch the news and cooking shows almost everyday. Unfortunately many of the ads on those stations don’t target me specifically, because I’m not interested in refinancing my mortgage or buying expensive cooking sets. The most effective ads on television are for new shows or specials that I might be interested in watching. I would say that of all media, TV is where I get my information for the day-to-day purchases… cleaning supplies, interesting foods, new shampoos, etc.

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Internet, a source for information:
It is rare for me to buy something online which I haven’t scouted out in person already. The internet is necessary for fact checking via blogs, online reviews, etc. but other than that I do minimal shopping online unless it’s for books. Online ads aren’t terribly effective either. The only ads I pay attention to are those which frame my Pandora music selections; they don’t prompt me to buy anything, but they’re often graphic and cool to look at. The only clickable ad I have explored in the last few months was for the John Mayer Blackberry ad on Pandora, because I really want… a smart phone.

Magazines are great for seasonal and new purchases:
I don’t have any magazine subscriptions currently, but I live with three other women so there are always magazines around the house. This is the only medium I seek out specifically to consume ads. I like seeing the new Fall/Spring clothing lines, new cosmetics, interesting reads… advertisements here serve a completely different purpose than other ad venues. Magazines are well-designed shopping catalogs (wish-lists really, because I can’t always afford the contents) so advertising is justified and somewhat educational.

For the few-and-far-between BIG purchases:
These are usually tech-purchases, but I’m pretty old fashioned when doing my research. I ask my friends and family for their personal reviews before I will even consider a product. I do look at tech reviews online and I’ve really started liking tech blogs for their insight and honesty. But other than that, my big purchases are almost completely contingent upon positive feedback from people I know.

I don’t know if you advertisers can tease any conclusions from this, or if I’m representative of people my age. I would be really interested in hearing how you guys interact with advertising.

Thanks for the question Jay! Keep them coming.

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