In an age of multiple ways to engage and connect with consumers, advertising seems to have the biggest challenge, especially with younger consumers who prefer to learn about brands and products from what they consider more authentic sources like influencers and peers (via online reviews). So which methods are advertisers using to reach this and other sectors?
A new study from Horowitz Research takes the pulse of what’s working now for the ad industry, according to a survey of over 1,800 adult consumers. The firm’s new State of Media, Entertainment, and Tech: Consumer Engagement 2023 report reveals that the best forum for ad effectiveness is email, according to 42 percent of survey respondents, followed by ads on live TV (32 percent), streamed shows (29 percent), and direct mail (28 percent). Overall, ads appearing on websites—particularly YouTube—are considered the most effective tactics among consumers overall.
The report also addresses the expectations consumers have about representation and inclusion in content and advertising, how cultural shifts are impacting those expectations, and the direct impact it has on viewing and purchase behavior when brands are more inclusive and representative.
The research reveals notable differences by age
Younger (18-34 and 35-49 year-old) consumers are more likely to find text messages, social media posts, influencer sponsorships, ads in podcasts, and ads in music streaming services much more effective than older (50+) consumers do. On the other hand, direct mail is still considered effective by 41 percent of 50+ year-old consumers, compared to 20 percent of 35-49 year-olds and 13 percent of 18-34 year olds who consider that method effective for reaching them. Similarly, while 1 in 4 (22 percent) of 50+ consumers feel print is still an effective medium, only 13 percent of 35-49 year-olds and 7 percent of 18-34 year-olds feel the same.
The study points out interesting differences when it comes to advertising in TV shows, whether live or streamed
Overall, about 1 in 3 consumers feel TV ads remain effective to reach them, but younger consumers, who have become accustomed to using subscription streaming services that are generally ad-free or have reduced ad loads, consider both live and streamed TV ads less effective than their older counterparts.
“The fact that younger consumers find ads in TV shows less effective is a reflection of their media behaviors and how the TV industry has evolved. Young people are heavy users of subscription streaming services that are generally not ad-supported, and have pretty much gravitated away from ad-supported live TV,” said Adriana Waterston, executive vice president and insights and strategy lead at Horowitz Research, in a news release. “It makes sense that they see other platforms as more effective since that is where they are seeing the most advertising. However, the past few years have seen an enormous increase in the number of ad-supported streaming services, opening up new opportunities for brands to reconnect with younger audiences through TV content.”
As the digital television advertising space matures, consumers are becoming bullish on interactive advertising features that blur the lines between promotions and commerce
For example, 35 percent of consumers surveyed find it engaging to receive a promotion for products related to what they are seeing on screen, and this increases to 46 percent among 35-49 year-olds. One in four (23 percent) consumers find it engaging to be able to actually purchase a product they saw in a TV show they were watching by scanning an on-screen code. The same proportion (25 percent) also find it engaging to use augmented reality (AR) to see how things might look in real life before buying—35 percent among 18- 34 year-olds.
“We are on the brink of really exciting changes in the way that brands can leverage advanced, interactive features for digital retail right on the TV screen,” added Waterston. “To really drive adoption, streaming platforms will need to replicate what the mobile platforms do, enabling a seamless retail experience so that on-screen shopping can be streamlined with the product just magically arriving at your door after a few simple clicks.”
The survey was conducted in July 2023 among 1,813 adults 18+. Data have been weighed to ensure results are representative of the overall U.S. population. The survey is offered in both English and Spanish. The report is available in total market, FOCUS Latinx, FOCUS Black, and FOCUS Asian editions.