Blog

May 21, 2007

Younger Consumers Receptive to Advertising on User-Generated Content Sites

By: Gian Fulgoni

In light of the rumors swirling around Yahoo's potential acquisition of Bebo, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a recent comScore study of consumers' receptivity to advertising in different media formats.

An ad’s effectiveness is based, in part, on the medium that carries it, and how much trust consumers have in that medium. Think of it this way – what kind of advertisement are you more receptive to? An ad that you see on a late-night infomercial, in a weekly newspaper circular, on a web site or during a prime-time television newscast?

To shed some light on the subject, we recently conducted a survey that quantified consumers’ attitudes and receptivity to advertising across various media. I presented the results at the American Marketing Association’s Mplanet conference in December of last year in Orlando, where more than 1000 top marketers gathered to discuss growing consumer control, new media and marketing performance.

Our survey found that consumers are most likely to notice advertising for a product or service if they see it on television: 85 percent overall. User-generated content sites (UGC) garner a much lower 28 percent attention level. Television ads also generate a higher level of trust than ads carried on UGC sites.

However, when we analyzed the data by demographic segments, we found that 18 – 34 year-olds are much more comfortable with UGC sites, with 41 percent responding that they are receptive to advertising on those sites. In contrast, a lower 30 percent of 35 – 54 year-olds and only 23 percent of 55+ year-olds identify themselves as being receptive to advertising at UGC sites.

Importantly, 18 – 34 year-olds are most receptive to advertising on UGC sites for “high-fun” product categories – such as Apparel, Music/ Movies/ Entertainment, Food & Beverage, and Consumer Electronics – and less receptive to advertising for these product categories on traditional media sites. In contrast, 18 – 34 year-olds look to traditional sites for advertising for “high-trust” product categories, such as Financial Services, Prescription Medication, and OTC Medication, while eschewing advertisements for these categories on UGC sites.

So what does this all mean? Well for starters, online advertisers have some opportunities right now to connect with consumers on UGC sites. They just need to be selective about which brands and products are most appropriate for the target audience on these sites. But perhaps more importantly, the greater receptivity among younger age groups to advertising on UGC sites suggests that the future is bright for advertising in this medium.

I would be happy to share a copy of the complete study. Please fill out the form at http://www.comscore.com/request/fulgoni_mplanet.asp and we will forward it to you.

Tags: Advertising, Audience Analytics, Demographics, Yahoo