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50% of consumers see ads as ‘fake news’

Brand trust is still very much a hot topic in the advertising industry, following the recent high profile incidents which illuminated the flaws in programmatic advertising. More than ever before, the pressure is on to craft ads which enrich the consumer’s experience, rather than intruding on it.

According to research carried out by Rakuten Marketing, 83 per cent of consumers view online advertising as a negative, disruptive experience. Over half of American, German and French consumers associate online ads with other interruptive annoyances like spam and fake news, and that figure is much higher in Australia and the UK. 45 per cent of consumers stated that if an ad experience is bad, they will abandon a website, with 28 per cent going so far as to say they won’t visit that site again.

It’s no surprise, then, that a significant proportion of the marketplace is deploying ad blockers. The same report highlights the ad revenue losses made by British publishers due to ad blocking; up to £2 million GBP each year. A third of people cited in the study said that they currently use ad blocking software.

In online advertising, search ads are perceived as being trustworthy by 61 per cent of users, but ads on social media are only trusted by 43 per cent. Pop-up ads, predictably, are trusted the least; only a quarter of American consumers make a purchase decision based on a pop-up. Traditional print advertising still carries the most trust, influencing 82 per cent of people’s purchases, followed closely by television at 80 per cent.

The most important factor for consumers is context; 70 per cent of respondents said that they want ads which are related to their interests. If an ad is actually useful to their customer journey, then they don’t see it as interruptive. In fact, 20 per cent of consumers actually believe that a helpful online ad, such as a discount code, can improve their overall shopping experience.

This presents a huge opportunity. Consumers hate ads which are lazy and generic, and all it takes is one bad experience to put them off you for life. But they want to see ads which are tailored for them, for their wants and needs, and will reward this creativity with their loyalty. So let’s get to work, shall we?

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  1. Hung Ky Nguyen

    Your article is useful for creative teams working in foreign environments.

    Without competent cultural understanding of specific audience, Euro-American ads would struggle to persuade Asian buyers.

    The problems are particularly greater when principles of Western rhetoric are faithfully used by those who do not have local knowledge and competency in design anthropology.


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