In AdNation, a study commissioned by industry body Think TV, a survey of 1,636 "adland" professionals and 1,016 "normal" people exposes the common misconceptions that typically younger, single agency staff have about the everyday realities of the wider population.
Professor Nelson-Field, who carried out the research, said: "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."
That included the former hugely overestimating the time that ordinary Australians spend on various digital platforms, by 300% or more in some instances, according to figures cited in B&T Magazine.
For example, adland believed that 32% of normal people had used Buzzfeed in the past seven days, but only 7% of the latter group reported doing so. Similarly, adland thought that more than half the population (53%) used Twitter when in fact only 13% had done so.
Perceptions of usage of WhatsApp (51% vs 13%), Snapchat (76% vs 25%) and Instagram (89% vs 33%) also suggested that agency people are projecting their own habits onto the wider populace.
The two groups were closer together on certain aspects of TV viewing, with 28% of adland and 33% of ordinary people agreeing that it offers the best viewing experience.
But twice as many normal people said they looked to TV as a place to find ads they liked (42% v 22% for adland). The situation was reversed for social media, with 26% of adland turning to this platform compared to 20% of normal people.
"There is some truth to the fact that agencies are sometimes guilty of marketing to themselves rather than mainstream Australia," admitted Dave King, strategy partner at advertising agency The Royals.
But, he pointed out to the Sydney Morning Herald, budgetary constraints could mean there wasn't enough money to create a TV ad while also achieving the reach and engagement that clients expect.
"I think a lot of media agencies need to be more honest about the real impact of some of the online buys they're recommending," he added.
Data sourced from B&T, Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by WARC staff