Tech is sexy. And sexy sells. So when it comes to advertising, it makes sense that the big powwow held last week in NYC would be all about tech.
At least on the surface, this was true, according to Steve Smith writing in MinOnline. He notes lively conversations on AI, audio interfaces and all the rest of the mar/tech realm and its plethora of gadgetry and gee-whiz innovations. But there was a catch.
“Beneath the bright shiny objects, however, the persistent theme of distrust in the digital ecosystem remained strong,” Smith notes. “When he wasn’t gushing about tech, Weed also characterized the digital supply chain as ‘murky’ with fraud and a lack of accountability still rife.”
And it’s not just the supply chain itself that’s fraught with danger. The entire consumer experience on these new channels is rife with disconnect and discontent.
“[Unilver CMO Keith] Weed shared Unilever research showing only 2% of women surveyed considered women they see depicted in ads as intelligent,” Smith continues. “40% say they do not relate to women in ads. The company is starting an industry group called the ‘Unstereotype Alliance’ to move beyond stereotypical ad depictions.”
For the ad industry, this is a wake-up call of significant volume. Industry data shows that consumers are turned off not only by the message but by the context.
“Consumers are being turned off to advertising when it appears next to questionable content. In fact, 63% of consumers say they respond more favorably to ads that appear in media environments they trust,” Smith notes.
Additional research shows that ads perform significantly better on O&O (owned & operated) platforms than on third-party platforms.
“At a panel of media companies at MediaPost’s OMMA@Advertising Week, Disney’s Consumer Products VP of Business Insights, Dana McGraw, confirmed that it has the data to show how ads perform better on O&O environments than on distributed platforms,” Smith continues. “This was a point echoed elsewhere at AW by USA Today’s Michael Kuntz who touted similar research at his sites. These are precisely the kinds of metrics publishers need to emphasize with clients.”
Indeed, it is this kind of information that your ad partners are thirsty for. They need to know that their ad investments are sound, and it’s become increasingly obvious that digital is not the path for this kind of assurance.
Try as they might, digital ads face an uphill battle in the trust and acceptance area. Not all ads are created equal, and digital ads just aren’t as accepted or welcome as those in print. Think about your own experience. How much are you loving the video ads or the in-line shopping spots on your social feed? Judging by the rate of ad blocking, we bet it’s not a lot.
“Interestingly (here is your sub-head, print folks), the least intrusive form of advertising is print (44%), and it is also the second most entertaining (49%), exceeded only by TV (60%),” Smith continues. “Interestingly, two of the most traditional media, TV and print, still come out best with consumers in terms of ad impact and enjoyment.”
Advertisers, for their part, search for increasingly on-tone messaging and platforms. But a number of ad execs are backing away from digital ads, leaning back toward the relevant, trusted and welcome platform that print media provides.
The challenge, of course, is waiting for the neck to turn the head, which happens ever so slowly. The industry itself is working to move things a bit quicker, with the recent launch of the “Magazines. Better. Believe It.” campaign that plays off the trust bump of magazine media.
Providing a solid platform for our readers and our ad partners – a platform based on trust and acceptance – is how we get there.