Stereotypes in Advertising: A help or a hindrance
In recent research, Beyond the Headlines: Unpacking common narratives in media and advertising, Comscore investigated three common myths about our industry:
This blog series will provide a few highlights regarding each myth, starting with the impact of stereotypes in advertising. Read the full report for more details.
Myth #1 - Stereotypes help advertising
The media industry is evolving at a rapid pace with new technologies changing the way that brands, agencies and content owners interact with their audiences. These changes are also calling into question legacy practices. Audience stereotypes have been used to help focus the creative and buying strategy – for example assumptions such as “men watch sports, like beer and play video games,” have been around for decades. However, with more data available than ever before, it’s time to reexamine traditional marketing stereotypes.
Digging deeper into various traditional assumptions showed that stereotypes don’t always help advertising. This blog post focuses on the stereotype that older, high income individuals in full time employment are the ideal target audience for luxury items. This is based on the assumption that since luxury items are more expensive, the individuals most likely to buy them are the ones that have high purchase power. Let’s unpack this.
While there was an obvious correlation between household income and luxury shopping, life stage and age appeared to challenge the traditional stereotype. Looking at age, it turns out that the largest spike for luxury conversion occurred for adults between the ages of 30 and 34, remaining high for adults in the 35-44 age range. (See chart below.) So, whilst brands, advertisers and content owners who focus on 55+ will be reaching a valuable audience they will also be missing out on their top converters by excluding the 30 – 44 age range.
The second part of the stereotype demonstrated another missed opportunity. The assumption that those in full-time employment buy luxury goods missed the mark. Part time workers were the biggest converters when it came to buying luxury goods, and homemakers came out on top for luxury shoppers, possibly suggesting that the spouses of wealthy executives who either stay at home or work part time are doing the real browsing and buying of luxury goods. By targeting ads solely to high income executives, you are likely to be missing out on potential revenue from part time workers and homemakers.
What does this mean for marketers and media companies?
The research demonstrated that whilst legacy stereotypes might have been an effective form of targeting in the past, today’s consumers have evolved beyond this. Brands, agencies and content owners need to leverage the vast array of data available to them regarding behaviours, interests, preferences and affinities to ensure they reach the right audience and make the most of their advertising budgets.
This blog post provides just a snippet of the insights around this topic. Read the full report now to learn more about the pitfalls of using traditional stereotypes, from car buyers, social media users and female interests, as well as exploring the other common myths in the media and advertising