Who Has The Most Annoying Ads?

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(By Bob McCurdy) A study recently featured in an eMarketer e-blast titled, “Six Ad Blocking Stats That Deserve Your Attention,” caught ours. The “fifth stat” focused on a Wells Fargo and Optimal.com study that chronicled the type of ads consumers found to be the most annoying/intrusive. Both traditional and digital ads were tested. The respondents were requested to select the three ad types they found to be most annoying/intrusive from a list of 10 ad options.

The study broke down the responses into four demo clusters, 18-29, 30-44, 45-59, and 60+, with the results from all four being quite similar. For simplicity’s sake, the figures below reflect their average.

How to read:  Given the opportunity to select the three most annoying/intrusive ad types from the 10 ad options below, 47.7% of respondents selected “pop up ads on mobile websites” as one of the three.

  1. Pop up ads on mobile websites: 47.7% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  2. Ads placed between pieces of online content: 44.3% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  3. Pop up ads on desktop sites: 42.8% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  4. Video ads on mobile sites: 42.1% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  5. Video ads on desktop sites: 28.6% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  6. TV advertising: 13.4% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  7. Facebook ads: 11.9% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  8. Radio advertising: 5.7% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  9. Twitter ads: 2.4% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.
  10. Magazine or newspaper ads: 1.8% classified them as the most annoying/intrusive.

The magazine, newspaper, and Facebook results add to the legitimacy of the study, as the only thing a reader need do to avoid an ad is either turn the page or continue scrolling.

The huge differential in “annoyance” scores between radio and some of the popular digital ad units is likely the result of “why” and “how” each are used.

Consumers using radio and TV tend to be in more of a lean-back, “relaxed” mode, while many using digital media, both mobile and desktop, tend to be in a more lean-forward , “task” oriented” mode — where ads often impede “task completion” and as a result are deemed more interruptive in nature.

This Wells Fargo study, in conjunction with the results from a Marketing Sherpa study done last year titled, The Consumer Satisfaction Research Study, concluding that radio commercials were:

+16% more trustworthy than search engine advertising (Google, Bing, Yahoo).

+51% more trustworthy than digital video ads.

+65% more trustworthy than social media (Facebook, Instagram).

+82% more trustworthy than online banner ads.

+82% more trustworthy than mobile phone ads.

+184% more trustworthy digital pop-ups.

These numbers highlight the fact that while no radio listener eagerly awaits the next commercial break, the commercials heard are more trustworthy and considered less of an annoyance than much online inventory.

Ultimately, it is not about whether radio or digital is more effective than the other. Rather, it is about taking advantage of the considerable synergy that exists between radio and digital to create a more effective multi-media marketing campaign.

When used together, radio and digital have a greater “summed effect” than either do individually, much the way it was with Lennon and McCartney.

Bob McCurdy is the Vice President of Sales for The Beasley Media Group and can be reached at [email protected]

2 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed, Alan.
    The same media consumers are in a far more passive state when the radio is on.
    As listeners, we will tolerate damn near anything, whereas we blast out of online ads at our very first opportunity – usually 4 seconds.
    We should thank our lucky stars, particularly since we press such tawdry ad-content on our listeners.

  2. Great article Bob. One point I think needs further exploration: The huge differential in “annoyance” scores between radio and some of the popular digital ad units is likely the result of “why” and “how” each are used.

    Consumers using radio and TV tend to be in more of a lean-back, “relaxed” mode, while many using digital media, both mobile and desktop, tend to be in a more lean-forward , “task” oriented” mode — where ads often impede “task completion” and as a result are deemed more interruptive in nature.

    I think the differential is indeed based in the why. Commercials are expected and accustomed to with radio. With other audio choices such as Pandora, the listener is seeking a commercial free environment. Therefore they DESPISE commercials when they here them. BAD environment for advertisers.

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