Digital ads to overtake TV? I doubt it

sheep followAre digital ads going to overtake Tv in terms of dollars? I doubt it and shame on brands and marketers that are falling into the trap of following sheep and doing what others are doing because it’s a waste of money.

Some market research companies are trying to tell us that digital advertising is going to overtake TV in dollars within the next couple of years.  That is garbage.


According to the results of the first annual Goo Online Advertising Survey, from Goo Technologies,[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] 82% of Americans ignore online ads[/inlinetweet], ahead of television ads at 37%. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]92% of Americans ignore at least one type of ad seen every day across six different types of media.[/inlinetweet]

[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The online ads Americans are most likely to ignore included: online banner ads (73%),[/inlinetweet] followed by social media ads (62%), and search engine ads (59%). The highest wage earners, those with a household income of $100k+ per year, were statistically more likely than those households making less than $50k per year (86% vs. 78%, respectively) to say they ignore online ads. Overall, the 65+ age group ignored the most, while the 35-44 age group ignored the least.


Since January 2016, research firm Lumen has used laptop-mounted eye tracking cameras on 300 consumers’ laptops to collect visual data on what they notice when they are online. And over this period the study, which was run in partnership with Nectar-owner Aimia, recorded 30,000 minutes of data, with evidence relating to around 15,000 digital ads.


It found that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]only 35% of digital display ads received any views at all.[/inlinetweet] And, of those,[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] only 9% of ads received more than a second’s worth of attention[/inlinetweet]. Only 4% of ads, meanwhile, received more than 2 seconds of engagement.

In a survey of 1,015 adults by ORC International, in conjunction with ad-tech firm Mirriad,[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] 76% reported blocking ads online and skipping traditional TV ads.[/inlinetweet]

The study found the outlook for video advertising to be even worse: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Ninety percent of people skip pre-roll ads appearing ahead of online video content and TV shows[/inlinetweet]. While experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day, the messages are not sticking. The survey found that 68% of people recall less than five ads they’ve seen in the past week.


Juniper Research estimated in a recent study that digital publishers stand to lose more than $27 billion by 2020 as online publishers struggle to find effective strategies to counter ad blocking.

Among the other findings from the ORC-Mirriad study:

  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Eighty-four percent of millennials admit to blocking or skipping ads all or some of the time, while 73% and 72% of Gen X and Baby Boomers[/inlinetweet], respectively, claim the same.
  • Millennials, more than any other generation, prefer less disruptive forms of advertising in lieu of traditional commercials (27% vs. 15% of Gen X and 9% of Baby Boomers).
  • [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Fifty-three percent of Baby Boomers don’t want to see any ads at all[/inlinetweet], compared to 30% of millennials who felt the same way.

I have sat in and led a lot of research in this area and consumers are sick and tired of marketers interrupting their online time, especially in mobile where pop-ups still rule.  Whenever a web portal becomes popular it seems that advertisers feel the need to interrupt our online experience.

Will TV still rule? My guess is because there are a lot of people who actually sit through commercials, especially during events like football games. Digital ads CAN be effective, but let’s not underestimate the power of consumers who want to be left alone.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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