American Teens Prefer Offline to Online Ads

February 26, 2013

This article is included in these additional categories:

Brand Metrics | Digital | Media & Entertainment | Youth & Gen X

ResearchNowK&ABRandResearch-American-Teens-Offline-v-Online-Ads-Feb2013They may be digital natives, but American teens don’t fancy everything digital. According to data provided to MarketingCharts from a new study from Research Now and K&A BrandResearch, American teens strongly favor offline over online ads across a variety of measures. The respondents were presented with several statements about ads and asked whether each statement applied more to online ads (such as on Facebook, search engines), more to “real-life” ads (such as those on the TV, radio, posters, and magazines), or whether the statement didn’t apply. The results indicate that online ads have a long way to go in winning over teens.

In terms of likability, offline ads were easily preferred by respondents. For example, when asked which ads really get on their nerves, teens were twice as likely to point to online than offline ads (45% vs. 23%). They were even clearer in their assessment of which ads they try not to pay attention to, with 48% choosing online ads against 21% choosing offline ads. In terms of the ads they like to watch, 37% opted for offline compared to 17% for online.

Teens also believe they’re more likely to recall and share offline than online ads, too. When asked which ads they’re more likely to remember for a long time, half chose offline ads, while just 12% chose the online option. And for every teen who often talks about online ads with friends, the survey found 2 saying the same about “real-life” ads (32% vs. 16%).

Even on measures of influence, offline ads won out. Asked through which ad types they inform themselves about the advertised product, 39% chose the offline option, compared to 21% who chose the online option. And in perhaps the most telling measure for advertisers, teens were twice as likely to say that offline ads had introduced them to a product they then went on to buy (46% vs. 23%).

Teens are sometimes used as a barometer of future attitudes and behaviors towards products and services, so the results suggest an uphill battle as brands try to reach the next generation of consumers online, particularly as online advertising dollars have been rising quickly.

In general, though, the responses from the teens simply mirror those from adults – and marketers. In a study released in October 2012, Adobe revealed that among ad types, marketers and consumers alike preferred magazines and TV to online sources. Indeed, consumers were most likely to describe online ads as “annoying” and “distracting,” and fewer said they pay attention to those ads than ads in a number of traditional channels.

About the Data: The data is derived from a study conducted by Research Now among 2,490 teens averaged 12 to 17. Respondents were recruited directly through their parents who provided consent for their teenager to participate in the study. The survey was designed by K&A BrandResearch. Interviews were conducted via Research Now’s youth panel in each of the following four markets: Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. To ensure a safe and robust sample, quotas were set on age and gender across all four markets. The sample size among US respondents was more than 600.

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