Consumers are more likely to read and act upon online advertising than they were a year ago, according to an Opinion Research Corporation consumer preference survey sponsored by Adfusion, a division of ARAnet.

Online Ads Score Better in 2010
Every type of online advertising scored better with consumers in 2010 than a year ago, according to the survey. Consumers say articles that include brand information is the type of online advertising they’re most likely to read and act upon, compared to banner ads, pop-up ads, email offers or sponsored links.

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Article-based advertising was preferred by 53% of respondents who said they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and act upon the material, compared to 51% a year ago. Coveted demographic groups are even more likely to express a preference for articles. According to the survey, 66% of people 25-34, and 60% of those making at least $75,000 per year, say they are “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and act upon article-based advertising. Pop-up ads were least likely to be read or acted upon.

Respondents also said they were “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to read and respond to:

  • Articles that include brand information: 53% (compared to 51% in 2009) a year ago.
  • Email offers: 51% (compared to 47% in 2009).
  • Sponsored search engine links: 40% (compared to 39% in 2009).
  • Banner ads: 28% (compared to 25% in 2009).
  • Pop-up ads: 19% (compared to 13% in 2009).

Search Frequency Increases in 2010
Frequency, or how frequently consumers conduct internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles – increased from about 50% a year ago (saying they initiate a search “very frequently” or “somewhat frequently”) to 57% this year. Younger and high-income people showed a considerable propensity to conduct a search after reading online articles. Seventy-two percent of 25-34-year-olds said they were likely to conduct a search for products or services based on an article, up from 66% a year ago. And 70% of those making more than $75,000 per year expressed their likelihood to perform a search – 13 percentage points higher than last year’s 57%.

Online Ad Spending Growth Weak in ‘09
Increased consumer receptiveness may help boost online ad growth in 2010, which in 2009 was anemic, according to Nielsen research. Internet ad spending only grew 0.1% last year. As a possible mitigating factor, the only other ad spending categories that reported growth last year were Spanish-language cable TV (32.2%), cable TV (14.5%), and free standing insert (FSI) coupons found in printed newspapers and magazines (11.5%).

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