37% users feel digital ads are too intrusive: GroupM Report

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New research released by GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, offers digtal marketing insights for brands & agencies about consumer attitudes toward the medium.

Consumer Trust in Digital Marketing, which surveyed nearly 14,000 consumers in 23 countries, uncovers consumers’ concerns with digital marketing and suggests important considerations for marketing on digital platforms. Take a look at digital marketing insights.

• On average, two times more consumers say TV ads provide a more positive impression of brands than common digital formats.

• 6 in 10 consumers say they are less inclined to use a product if their data is used for any purpose.

• 56 percent of consumers want more control over their data.

• 64 percent of consumers would have a negative opinion of a brand next to inappropriate content.

Against the backdrop of newsworthy security and privacy issues across the globe, the research revealed that consumers react more positively to television advertising and that more than one-third of consumers (37 percent) feel digital ads are too intrusive.

With this, marketers need to focus on using the right digital platforms to reach consumers, to be transparent about how data is gathered and used, and to think holistically about the many media venues where they can build consumer relationships.  

Also Read: Digital is estimated to reach 30% of ad spend in 2020: GroupM’S TYNY Report

“With pervasive reports of data security and privacy missteps, consumers are increasingly wary of information gathering about them as they move online,” said Christian Juhl, Global CEO of GroupM. “Media has evolved dramatically and it’s crucial the industry work collaboratively to make advertising work better for people around the world. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to ensure that we are using consumer information responsibly and transparently.”

GroupM’s analysis of the survey findings pointed to important paths for creating more dialogue and trust with consumers:  


GroupM found that, among consumers with digital marketing concerns, top challenges include fake news on social media, cyberbullying and online predators. Seventy-five percent of consumers believe it is a digital platform’s responsibility to stop inappropriate content from appearing. In order to secure consumer trust in their brands, marketers should continue to consider whether the online advertising platforms they are using are appropriate for the type of brand content they’re creating. Additionally, they should ensure they’re setting parameters around ad placements that build marketing effectiveness and protect brand value.   


Data privacy remains a significant concern for consumers globally, with sixty-one percent of those surveyed indicating they would be less willing to buy or use a product or service if companies use their personal data. Correspondingly, consumers are looking to protect themselves. GroupM’s research shows that changing privacy settings and deleting cookies and browser history – areas informing digital advertising – are on the rise. If companies wish to continue using consumers’ data, marketers may need to offer incentives and communicate the benefits more convincingly. Being transparent about consumer data usage, with clear frameworks aligned through a whole organization, will help foster a new relationship of trust in the digital marketing process.


According to GroupM’s findings, consumers are receiving more communication from brands than desired. Marketers should work to optimize the customer experience by tailoring the frequency and the types of messages. With consumers spending more time online, marketers should place even greater emphasis on communications tactics such as working with micro- and nano-influencers, which may help mitigate digital advertising fatigue. To support growing interest among brands, GroupM has introduced INCA, an influencer marketing solution in select markets. This helps marketers to be confident in accurate, verified and measurement-based influencer marketing outcomes. 

GroupM’s report also highlights interesting findings on the appreciation consumers have for different types of brand communications and points to, in some cases, big differences of opinion across markets. For example, an average of 59 percent of consumers globally appreciate receiving discounts and offers, but only 20 percent appreciate invitations to complete satisfaction surveys. Seventy-five percent of consumers in New Zealand said they would be less willing to buy or use a product or service if companies used their personal data, whereas only 38 percent of consumers in Indonesia said the same.  

“To make digital advertising work better for everyone, we must listen to what consumers are saying and refine our strategies accordingly,” said Chris Myers, report author and Regional Director, GroupM APAC. “Marketers should not pull back on digital advertising; on the contrary, they should push forward in ways that respect consumers’ evolving relationship with digital media.”

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