Adland out of touch with ‘real Australians’ and doesn’t understand their media habits

The echo chamber in the media, marketing and advertising industry is causing adland to underestimate the power of television and place a disproportionate weight on the importance of social media platforms in the lives of ‘everyday’ Australians, ThinkTV’s first AdNation study says.

ThinkTV commissioned marketing academic Professor Karen Nelson-Field to run the study which involved 1,636 adland professionals and over 1,016 “normal” people – based on the demographic profile of the industry and that of wider Australia – in a bid to reveal the key differences between the two groups, and how this leads to a disconnect between how people are engaging with advertising, and where marketers are spending their money.

The report claims the findings prove the “echo chamber” is alive and well.

On the left (orange) is how often adlanders use social media platforms, on the right (dark pink) is every day Australia. The light pink indicates how adland thought ‘normal’ people would answer

“AdNation 2017 reveals that industry professionals over-estimate what percentage of average Australians have used social media and subscription video on demand in the previous seven days, in some cases by a huge margin,” a release explaining the study said.

“This is perhaps not surprising given that AdLanders were found to have radically different lifestyles and media consumption habits to those of normal people, including a much larger online footprint than the rest of Australia, particularly when it comes to social media.”

The study revealed adland’s perception of what ‘normal’ people are doing, and how they engage with media, is in many cases incorrect.

Adland vs ‘normal’ people in their perceptions of television

Adland estimated 78% of everyday Australians would have used Netflix within the week before the survey period, but the study claims the real figure is just 28% – an overestimation by adland of 179%.

Snapchat’s importance was also overestimated – by 204% – with adland predicting 76% of people use it each week, when in fact the study found only 25% of people use it.

The most significant overestimation came from Twitter usage, with only 13% of regular Australians claiming to use the platform, a figure adland estimated would be 53% – a 308% miscalculation.

Perception vs reality: What adlanders and ‘normal’ people are doing online

Both adland and regular Australia agreed that TV “was by far the most likely place to find trusted advertising, advertising that would make them feel emotional and advertising that would stick in the memory” – but almost twice as many ‘normal’ people (42%) said they were likely to find advertising they liked on TV, compared to adland (22%).

TV, the study said, was also most effective in helping people find new products, brands and services – with 47% of Australians saying it was the platform they would see advertising for things they had not yet heard of, which was two-and-a-half times more than the next media channel, social media (chosen by 18% of people).

Adland on the other hand, nominated social media as the most likely medium for this to occur, with 44% choosing social media and only 19% selecting TV.

Portrate: “We all know that in the world of marketing, media and advertising we live in
a bit of a bubble”

Adland professionals are also 22% more likely to have used Facebook in the past seven days, 43% more likely to have used YouTube, 96% more likely to have used Snapchat, 140% more likely to have used Instagram, 161% more likely to have used Netflix, 180% more likely to have used ABC iView, 238% more likely to have used Twitter, 285% more likely to have used WhatsApp and 314% more likely to have used BuzzFeed.

On the publishing side, adlanders are three times more likely to prefer The Sydney Morning Herald, almost twice as likely to prefer The Age, almost half as likely to prefer the Herald Sun or The Daily Telegraph, as likely to prefer The Australian, and four times as likely to prefer The Australian Financial Review.

Professor Nelson-Field said the level of disconnect was astounding.

More findings from ThinkTV’s AdNation 2017 study

“Even as someone who operates in media circles, I was surprised at the level of disconnect between the media group and the reality of normal Australians,” she said. “AdNation is a very important piece of work because it really identifies where the conversation needs to change.”

Kim Portrate, chief executive of ThinkTV said adland already knows the bubble exists, and the study “allows us to have a good laugh at ourselves”.

“But it also makes a serious point. Knowing what people like, feel and do is critical to our success when out comes to growing brands. But we also know that our own preferences can lead to projection bias, which ultimately impacts the spending decisions we make about media.

The lifestyle differences between adland and ‘normal’ people

“AdNation 2017’s findings represent a big opportunity for marketers and advertisers to reassess how in touch we are with the reality of everyday Australians. We need to keep their actual media consumption habits front of mind, rather than simply using ourselves or our friends as a sample of one or a few.

“The findings also provide a fresh opportunity to reassess the power of TV to grow brands. TV advertising emerges the clear winner from AdNation 2017 as the most liked, trusted and memorable form of advertising and the one that draws the most attention to brands you’ve never heard of.”

The study also found adland is younger than the typical Australian population, less likely to have children and more likely to live in a share house.

Where Australians and adlanders find advertising they ‘like’

Professor Nelson-Field used a representative sample of the Australian population provided by Pure Profileand Mumbrella’s database to survey a representative sample of advertising, media and marketing professionals, which included representative splits of seniority. The gendere balance was 51% female and 49% male for both samples.

The study findings were presented at Mumbrella360 this evening.


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