Attitudes vary to online ads

21 April 2011

LONDON: Consumers in emerging markets are more open to online advertising than their counterparts in nations such as the UK and US, a study has shown.

Microsoft Advertising, MEC, Mindshare Worldwide and Ipsos OTX MediaCT partnered to monitor evolving internet habits in Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the UK and US.

Communications constituted the planned reason behind going online for 57% of web sessions, but only 32% of actual behaviour, figures standing at 42% and 22% concerning looking for information.

Entertainment logged 29% on the first metric and 17% on the second, reaching 15% and 8% for surfing.

When it came to completing transactions and paying bills, totals hit 11% for intended use and 7% of behaviour.

Creative acts – like updating blogs and profile pages, or uploading video and photos – delivered 11% and 6% respectively.

In all, email took a 23% share of internet activity, as browsing recorded 10%, seeking information generated 9% and instant messaging posted 6%.

Finding out product details received 4%, the same level as making changes to blogs, profile pages and personal websites.

As an average across the UK, France, Brazil and Canada, 4% more sessions now featured creative pursuits and surfing than in 2007, with communications up 6%.

Entertainment experienced the most substantial lift, of 8%, registering between 15%, as in the UK, and 23%, as in France.

Overall, the amount of "spontaneous use" declined from 39% in 2007 to 21% in 2010 over these four countries.

"In other words, about 80% of user sessions are done with more deliberate planning - driven by more mindful use of one's personal time," the study said.

Indeed, Japan's web population had a clear idea of their purpose for going online on 89% of occasions, and even in India, witnessing the lowest returns here, numbers reached 72%.

When connecting to the net through smartphones and tablets, the motivation behind doing so was communication for 53% of visits, with information on 36%, measured against 57% and 43% for computers.

Entertainment scores among users of wireless devices came in at 16%, half the figure for PCs, laptops and netbooks.

People using the web on gadgets like the iPhone and iPad browsed content during 12% of internet visits, rising to 15% for those accessing the net in the traditional manner.

Only 7% of mobile sessions involved making some kind of purchase, climbing to 15% for ecommerce on a PC.

However, although 13% of visits on a computer were linked to creative activities, this rose to 14% for smartphones and tablets.

In assessing advertising, a net total of 11% of emerging market respondents would be happy to "see more" search ads, sliding to –12% for mature economies.

Video ads scored 17% and –18% in turn, while 1% of shoppers from nations like Brazil and India expressed favourable views relating to banners, falling to –29% in areas such as the UK and France.

Emerging market participants were also positive when discussing animated banners, map ads, embedded video ads and widgets, formats again in negative numbers elsewhere.

"The big difference between mature and emerging web markets is the latter's greater acceptance of advertising, which speaks to the novelty their consumers find in almost any type of content found on the web," the study said.

Data sourced from Microsoft Advertising; additional content by Warc staff