Five lessons for brands looking to upgrade their ad experience

A boy and a girl watching TV.

4 May 2022 | By Jareen Imam, Sr. Content and Editorial Manager

Today’s consumers have practically unlimited choices when it comes to the content they watch and the brands they choose. Therefore, brands are continuously grappling with the best ways to provide audiences with favourable and effective ad experiences. This is also important because viewers have higher expectations now for relevant and enjoyable ad experiences.1

As viewer fragmentation increases and the advertising industry continues to change and innovate, the messages brands deliver to customers should evolve to meet audiences’ expectations.

Amazon Ads and Omnicom Media Group commissioned a study with Latitude to survey 3,511 US consumers to better understand consumers’ advertising preferences and expectations. The results from the study can help inform brands on how to elevate their advertising experience for audiences.

“Our viewers always expect improvement in both the viewing experience and advertising experience in our ad-supported content. When we deliver on this we help our advertisers better connect with our viewers and achieve better results,” said Maggie Zhang, Head of Measurement Success at Amazon Ads.

Consumers feel positively toward ads when watching content for free

Consumers’ attitudes towards advertising are generally positive, according to the study. Many consumers see the value of advertising when viewing content as it aids them in discovering products and brands.

“Ads do make me have a positive outlook on the company because I feel like they really have put the time and resources into finding out what people want to see and enjoy in ads, and to me that really shows me that they honestly care about their people,” one study participant said.

73% of surveyed consumers agreed that advertising is necessary to support companies that provide free video content.2 Amazon’s streaming TV ad solution provides viewers access to this type of content, which may include hit movies and TV shows on Amazon Freevee, top network and broadcaster apps on Fire TV, and live entertainment on Twitch. A majority of consumers, 71%, said they don't mind seeing ads when watching shows, movies, or streaming content for free.3 And 65% of consumers agreed there are always new things or products to discover when watching commercials.4 Knowing this, brands may want to consider Streaming TV ads and audio ads in order to reach consumers who are streaming shows, movies or music.

Consumers value ads that help them discover new products

Consumers welcome the concept of ads that make watching content more enjoyable overall. But it’s clear that relevancy and invention are key for brands when they are developing effective advertising. For example, 73% of surveyed consumers said the overall viewing experience is more enjoyable when ads are relevant to the viewer, and 68% said the overall viewing experience is more enjoyable when ads are relevant to the content they are watching.5 Advertising that educates and informs audiences also stand out to consumers, with 74% saying they appreciate when brands make ads that teach them something new.6 And 73% of consumers in the study said they appreciate when brands make ads that help them discover new products or services.7

Ads relevant to content genres can help increase engagement

Creating campaigns that match the audience’s viewing experience may help brands seem relevant to the content consumers are watching. Viewing motivations often align with a particular mindset, which can be supported through advertising, the study found. Advertisers can increase relevance of their messaging by matching the genre or content audiences are watching.

For example, according to the study, romance and drama viewers may be more likely to seek out that content because it dives deep into story line or characters.8 These viewers are interested in powerful stories, whereas comedy and sitcom viewers are more likely to seek out that type of content because it’s entertaining and may help them escape from stress.9 Audiences who watched unscripted and reality content are more likely to seek out that content to learn new things or absorb trivia or other interesting topics.10 And audiences that watched livestreams of user-generated content are more likely to seek out content that feels connected to others around them, the study found.11 Knowing this, brands could develop campaigns that align closer to audiences’ interests based on the genres they are watching.

Brand need to tailor ads to consumers’ category-specific expectations

Advertisers from different verticals may also benefit from elevating the ad experience when it comes to engaging with viewers. For example, many viewers want to see ads that highlight deals and sales for grocery and household products (34% and 25% average, respectively).12 Viewers watching financial services commercials reported wanting to learn something new. This could be an opportunity for these financial services brands to teach audiences through their advertising campaigns. For technology and cell phone service providers, the study found that brands may want to consider ads that help viewers discover new products and services. And viewers watching entertainment ads said in the survey that they want access to exclusive and original content. Knowing this, brands may want to consider audiences’ expectations around product categories when developing ads that engage and resonate with audiences.

Innovative and interactive ads engage and delight audiences

Ad creative and different formats could help add to an elevated advertising experience for viewers as well. The study found that 55% of consumers prefer ads they can interact with by following links to buy products directly, playing along at home, and entering sweepstakes.13 And 55% of consumers said they want to see brands integrate into the content they’re watching in innovative ways.14 This shows that audiences are open to new and creative ways that brands integrate their messaging into content.

“I may see an ad for a product of interest only to forget about it once the ad is finished. Seeing the purchase options and being able to add items to my cart from the ad itself is an enjoyable, but actually fun way to get some shopping done for products that pique my interest that otherwise I might forget or not think about,” one study participant said.

The study shows that consumers are open to new and creative ways of integrating brands in their content. Brands looking to reach and engage customers may want to consider Amazon’s Streaming TV ad format, as it ranks highly on overall positive sentiment (89% of respondents viewed the ads favourably, 4% above the competitive benchmark) or interactive video ads, which enable viewers to interact with the ad simply using their voice or remote.15

Brands looking to increase engagement with audiences may want to consider implementing some of the study’s takeaways to help enhance their ad experience. By leveraging these tips, brands can create an advertising experience that informs, delights and entertains viewers and helps them discover the products or information they want and need.

1–15 Latitude, “The New Ad Value Exchange”, Amazon Ads and OMG, 2021, US.