B2B market research company Clutch recently surveyed 1,030 US consumers to find out which ad formats they prefer most and what makes ads work for them. Here are some highlights from the report.
Users Prefer Facebook Ads the Most
Within digital advertising, a majority of the surveyed users (36%) preferred to view ads on Facebook, followed by banner, video, search, and retargeting ads.
Facebook ads are native in format, appearing in user newsfeed and can be targeted by advertisers based on location, demographic (age, gender, workplace, job titles), interests (what users like), and behavior (their device usage and purchase history). This level of targeting works well for consumer or technology companies going after a highly defined set of users. User targeting is hardly revolutionary though, as most banner, video and search ad networks also offer it, but Facebook seems to be gaining a win with users because of its less intrusive in-feed ad serving format.
Users Hate Retargeted Ads
As seen in the graph above, only 2% users gave a nod to retargeted ads in the survey. Retargeting works by tracking users across the internet and displaying ads for products or services they may have previously expressed some kind of interest in. In addition to turning window shoppers into customers, advertisers also use retargeting ads to maintain visibility and brand recall. But users detest retargeting ads because they make them feel “watched” and is generally viewed as an intrusion of privacy.
People are very suspicious of retargeted ads. If you’re Googling ideas for a gift, and an advertisement for a website you just visited comes up, it can be creepy. We’re in the early stages of this, so it makes sense that this would be problematic for some people.
— Julie Wierzbicki, account director at Giants & Gentlemen
Men Prefer Tech and Sports Ads, Women Like Fashion and Travel
Knowing your audience can save you a lot of time and money in digital advertising, the survey results show that men are more interested in seeing advertisements related to technology and sports, whereas women are more engaged by ads related to fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and travel.
These insights can help advertisers create better-targeted campaigns with potentially higher engagement rates. Publishers that focus on a specific content verticals can package their media to be more lucrative to specific brands and advertisers and thereby improve their ad sales pitch.
Everybody Likes a Funny Ad
Maybe it’s because funny ads form an emotional connect with viewers, but from the survey, it’s clear that it’s the most favourite type of ad by far. This also explains the success of Dollar Shave Club, a startup that relied on tongue-in-cheek videos for marketing that went viral on social media, the company was eventually acquired by Unilever for $1 billion. Another example is the widely acclaimed campaign by Old Spice that got its laughs from users by poking fun at hyper-masculinity.
Obviously, an ad that’s just funny and has no substance hardly ever works either. This is why users prefer to see ads from brands they already know and trust, other factors that increase ad likability include the need for the product, and how relatable and informative an ad is.