The digital explosion: How do people feel about online ads?

As the pandemic accelerates the integration of digital into daily life, online advertising needs to fight for consumers’ attention in the media landscape.

Consumer exposure to online advertising has been steadily increasing over the years, and this was accelerated by the pandemic. Kantar’s Media Reactions 2021 study shows that claimed online advertising exposure has increased by 4% in the past year. The study looked at perceptions of over 290 media brands in 23 markets and shows the dominance of online brands such as Google and YouTube in terms of claimed usage.

With this digital explosion, the dilemma for marketers is that consumers are still generally much less positive about the ads they see on online channels. As digital media consumption and spend increase, so does the challenge of engaging audiences without irritation. We have observed the difference in attitudes in consumer perceptions of online and offline advertising since our first ad receptivity study in 2001, and this gap has stubbornly refused to close over two decades.

Media Reactions measures the ad equity of media channels and brands – showing the places where users most appreciate advertising and are least likely to view ads negatively. Of the 22 channels measured, the top 9 channels in our ad equity ranking are all offline, because channel users generally have more positive than negative opinions about these ad formats. Cinema ads top the ad equity ranking, and we also see very positive opinions of sponsored events, as well as print, Point of Sale and OOH ads. For online channels, only podcasts make the top 10, but users are more positive about influencer content and ads in ecommerce environments than they are about other online ad formats (number 1 and 2 online channels in terms of preference).

This article was published exclusively on on September 20, 2021.