Americans are Responding to Online Advertising in Greater Numbers

Consumers are more likely to read and act upon online advertising than they were a year ago, according to the second year of an Opinion Research Corporation consumer preference survey sponsored by Adfusion. Every type of online advertising scored better with consumers in 2010 than a year ago. 

For the second year, 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.

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% in 2009.  Coveted demographic groups are even more likely to express a preference for articles. According to the survey, 66% of people between the ages of 25 and 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.

In the national study of 1,053 adults conducted in March 2010, survey respondents rated their likelihood to read and act upon five types of online advertising: banner ads, pop-​up ads, e‑mail offers, articles that include brand information, and sponsored search engine links. Respondents said they were "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to read and respond to:

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

Further, when asked how frequently they conduct Internet searches for products or services they read about in online articles, the results were eye-​popping. Frequency 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-​to-​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 points higher than last year's 57%.

According to ARAnet president Scott Severson, year-​two of the online advertising study revealed three critical areas of data for marketers.

"First, we're seeing that all these areas of online advertising are being received favorably by consumers, which means they are tuning in to marketers' online messages. Secondly, we continue to see a growing and healthy preference for article-​based advertising. And a third key is that coveted younger and more affluent audiences are receptive to all types of online advertising, and article-​based advertising in particular," Severson says.

Severson says the data revealed that other high-​potential demographic segments said they frequently conduct searches for products or services after reading about them in online articles, including: 65% of respondents with household size of three or more; 72% of households with children in the 13–17 age group; and 63% of college educated respondents — compared to 57% of the general population.

"We're seeing that article-​based advertising rates highest with these important and discerning audiences. Compared to other online advertising options, consumers prefer reading an article, evaluating it, and then deciding to click through for more information," says Severson.

Opinion Research Corporation consumer preference survey, ARAnet. 30 Mar. 2010.  Web.  1 Apr. 2010.