Cool Consumers Give Advertisers Hope

Brands that worry about reaching consumers will take comfort from a new global study’s finding that customers are more accepting of advertising. Research company Kantar’s “Media Reactions 2022” report says the overall increase in advertising acceptance compared with 2021 may be surprising for marketers and could signal positive changes in the conduct of advertisers and platforms. The question is whether this positive sentiment can be sustained.

Media Reactions is the only company that evaluates how advertising on media channels and media brands among consumers and marketers is accepted globally. It has insights from more than 18,000 consumers from 29 markets, covering close to 400 brands and almost 90% of global media spend.

Kantar says that while positive attitudes are increasing, more exposure to advertising platforms will also mean negative aspects will be more obvious to consumers.

For example, numerous online influencer ads are perceived as appearing in more places than last year, and the unwelcome ad volume is an increasing concern for consumers across various channels.

The study says: “For any growing ad platform, increasing ad load is welcome, but it changes the consumer experience. Intrusiveness is another perception that can be troublesome. It can be useful in attracting consumer attention in a cluttered online environment, but [it should not evoke] irritation.”

Kantar says online ad platforms have a reputation for intrusive ads, which is correlated with lower advertising acceptance. In addition, marketers are not so hot on advertising this year.

One retail marketing strategist tells the FM: “Part of the problem is the Google⁄Facebook conundrum, of brands ceding too much spend and placement to programmatic buying. In many cases, this prevents consumers from engaging meaningfully with the content. Brands should have more quality-versus-quantity discussions.”

Another key finding is that trust and innovation perceptions about both media channels and media brands have gone down among marketers. It might be a sign that there is always work to be done regarding reputation and experience to keep the equilibrium between consumers and marketers.

Looking at planned changes in budget allocations for 2023, Kantar sees growth in the planning of investment in online video and streaming continuing. The metaverse, still in the pilot stages of evolution and understanding, will also be a high riser next year. Though starting from a much lower base, it is the fourth-highest increase cited by marketers, just after online video, social media stories and video streaming.

And while online advertising grows, investment in offline channels continues to drop, though it has improved slightly since last year. Marketers plan to decrease print spend even further in 2023.

The study says consumers no longer view physical newspapers and magazines as separate from their online counterparts. Print media brands continue to increase their digital ad revenues, and this trend is likely to continue as they expand their digital horizons.

Sponsored events are the real stars of this year’s study, though, taking over the No 1 spot as the consumer darling. They are seen as providing more fun and better-quality advertising compared with last year, and now have the highest ad acceptance among consumers.

Marketers are returning to venues, notes Kantar.  Sponsored events registered one of the top increases in spend in offline channels, alongside digital out-of-home advertising.

Despite traditional TV advertising already being a major investment for many brands, some advertisers still say they will increase their investment in it in 2023, as TV receptivity goes up this year by 7%. This movement, along with a big increase in streaming TV spend, shows TV is here to stay.

In terms of consumer preference, Amazon is now the global leader when it comes to engaging with advertising. Its advertising is considered the most relevant and useful globally by consumers. Since 2021, it has also increased its ads’ trustworthiness.

This article originally appeared in the Financial Mail.