Kantar: TikTok ad exposure almost doubles, but consumers say Spotify is ‘most trusted’ platform

Kantar’s latest Media Reactions 2021 report has found the number of consumers exposed to ads on TikTok has almost doubled and continues to top its global ad equity rankings.

The report cited that TikTok’s exposure increased from 19% to 37%, and despite consumers finding the ads on the platform the most “fun and entertaining”, they also found them too repetitive, which was said to be the bigger issue.

The pandemic has been noted as accelerating the growth of digital in every aspect of life, including the media landscape.

However, this was seen as a marketer’s dilemma according the the findings, as “its consumers are generally much less positive about ads in online channels”.

As digital media consumption and digital media spend increase, so does the challenge of engaging audiences without irritation.

Since Kantar’s first ad receptivity study in 2001, which observed the difference between online and offline advertising attitudes, this new research found that this gap has stubbornly refused to close over two decades.

Since the last insights in the Media Reactions 2020 report, this year showed the most improved online channels for ad equity among consumers was ads on online/mobile games which saw a growth of 5%, ads on music streaming services, podcast ads, ads on video streaming service were all up by 3% and social media story ads were up 1%.

Ad exposure for sponsored events didn’t fall during the pandemic lockdowns, because events pivoted to digital and continued online, with report citing that consumers started appreciating in-person channels again, while exposure to Out-of-Home (OOH) ads increased compared to 2020, with a possible “nostalgia” effect, increasing perceptions of OOH ads as ‘better quality” and “innovative”.

The study found TikTok was the leading hub for “innovation and entertainment” on both sides of the aisle in 2021, followed by Instagram and Spotify.

In addition, TikTok remained the leader in global ad equity, with the research showing Spotify as the “most trusted platform”, followed by Amazon and Google.

The study cited that “given consumer trust can often preempt marketer trust, marketers should be investigating why consumers trust the ads there”.

While marketer trust in TikTok is still not at the levels of other social media platforms, it has made “enormous improvements,” the survey showed. The continued introduction of new products in  areas like social commerce and creator content could further boost the Gen Z favourite in the months ahead.

For online publishers, the report revealed there is still work to be done, both to improve advertising equity and attract more ad spend. “Digital media spend has been growing rapidly since 2020 and marketers expect this to continue into 2022”.

Online video, influencer content and social media ads are set to benefit most, with traditional channels continuing to digitise, and digital OOH spend rising. “Publishers need to take advantage of the openness of consumers and advertisers to digital channels, to further improve their reputation – not to differentiate themselves from offline channels, but to work alongside them,” the findings showed.

The survey also noted that the key to this is to put online media channels on a “level playing field by addressing their weaknesses, such as advertising intrusiveness, over-saturation, and repetition”.

This year’s survey provided insights from over 14,500 consumer interviews, covering over 290 brands in 23 markets, representing over 80% of global media spend.

It also included the marketer’s perspective from interviews with over 900 senior marketers from advertisers, agencies and media companies worldwide.


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