TOO many brands are choosing the wrong moment and the wrong audience for their messages, says a new study from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), a global trade association for multinational advertisers.
This is a key finding from a social media-driven survey that identified the “deadly sins” of bad marketing.
The aim of the research was to help marketers identify acceptable and unacceptable behaviours with a view to finding potential solutions.
The results are based on analysis of 670 000 English language Twitter mentions making negative reference to advertising in the six months between August 2014 and February 2015.
The research found more than 2m negative tweets about advertising in the past year in all languages. It reveals that men are more likely to complain about brand marketing by a ratio of 60:40 but both sexes are equally likely to be positive.
TV adverts caused the greatest number of negative comments, followed by online and radio. The most common trigger of consumer backlash against brand marketing messages was advertising malaise: a large number of tweets expressed a generic dislike of ads or commercials, the ubiquity and frequency of ads, the length of the ad break or the context in which the ad appeared.
Media planning and interruption is also an issue for consumers, who, while recognising ads help pay for content, expect marketers to make an effort to ensure less irritating communication. The tweets showed interruption was most annoying during high-intensity content such as action and drama shows or live sporting events.
Also, too many brands choose the wrong moment to communicate and the wrong audience. Consumers expect brands to tell the truth, and brands will gain credibility if they are honest and don’t airbrush the challenges they face and consumers know they face.
In the digital space, the survey suggests online targeting is becoming annoying and deficient algorithms might be the industry’s biggest challenge.
The survey also shows too many ads are of poor quality and annoy consumers. Brands need to prioritise quality over quantity and meaningful engagement over frequency of exposure. They must work harder to test whether the ads are engaging and add value before they are exposed to consumers.
WFA managing director Stephan Loerke says: “We are not blind to the fact that ads can be annoying, intrusive and even seen as contributing to social problems. Marketers and agencies should try to better align their strategies and executions with what people want and expect of brands.”