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Advertising in the US: Synovate global survey shows internet, innovation and online privacy a must


CHICAGO — Leading global market research company Synovate released the findings of its recent global advertising study, shedding light on which media are the most effective in targeting Americans and their daily media habits.

According to the study, Americans can’t live without the internet, want to see advertisements that are innovative, and are open to new technologies that monitor their media usage if privacy is maintained.

Steve Garton, Executive Director of Synovate’s media research group, said, “By understanding the media channels that are an important part of consumers’ everyday lives, marketers can derive valuable insights on where consumers are the most engaged, and therefore more receptive to marketing communications.”

The survey was conducted in September 2009, covering more than 8,600 respondents across 11 countries.

I can’t live without my cell phone and the Internet...


The cell phone has become an increasingly prevalent channel for Americans to receive news and information, and the rise in smart phones has increased mobile marketing and advertising efforts.

Thirty-five percent of people in the US say they cannot live without their cell phones. However, as their use of mobile devices has grown, their attitude towards increased mobile marketing is still a bit hesitant. Over one third (39%) of Americans feel the amount of ads they see now are sufficient while (54%) say they would not accept more ads via their mobile devices even if paid to do so.


More than half (58%) of Americans say they can’t live without the Internet, the highest response across all 11 markets surveyed.

Interestingly, even though 56% of people in the US say there are too many ads on the Internet and 41% say they avoid websites with intrusive ads more often than they did a year ago, 52% are open to seeing more ads on the Internet if paid to do so.


Across all markets surveyed, people think there are too many ads on TV, with 68% globally and 71% of Americans saying this. This may be why 48% of people globally and 44% in the US say they skip ads more often than they did a year ago, by either turning down the TV, changing the channel or fast forwarding through commercials.

However, more than half of Americans (52%) also say they’d be willing to watch the ads if paid to watch them, such as through money off their cable bill. The US was the second highest market globally that said this, after Spain at 57%.

Only 5% of Americans said they could easily live without TV while 34% said they can’t live without it.

Not so social advertising

Americans show less use of social media to promote a brand or ad compared to the rest of the globe.

Thirteen percent of people globally and 8% of Americans say they are discussing ads with their friends more than they did a year ago while 11% globally and 8% of Americans are searching more for ads online, such as on YouTube.

More than two-thirds (68%) of people globally and 63% of Americans say they have never promoted a brand on their social networking page, though 9% of Americans say they are doing this more often compared to a year ago.

The number of people following brands on Twitter remains low, with only 5% of people globally and 4% of Americans saying they’ve done this.

Favorite ads for Americans

Respondents were asked, “In thinking about the ads you enjoy the most, which characteristic is most common in these ads?” The variations of responses to this question are enlightening.

Ads that are Innovative / Unique are most well-received, with more than one in five (21%) of people globally and in the US liking them.

Other popular ad characteristics are Spontaneous / Playful (the second most admired attribute), liked by 16% of people around the globe and 17% in the US, and Optimistic / Happy Straightforward (third most admired), with 14% liking this globally and 12% in the US.

Garton said, “A lot of the most popular ads tap into this need of fun and light-heartedness. People are down and bored with the negative news about the economy and want something upbeat to lift their spirits.”

Potential for behavioral marketing

Respondents were also asked, “How would you feel if websites and TV channels developed technology that monitored what you use and watch so they would only show ads on brands and products they thought would interest you?”

Responses from around the world show people are open to this, as long as the technologies do not collect personal data that could identify the consumer individually. Twenty-six percent globally and 32% of Americans say they would like this technology if none of the data could identify them. An additional 35% of Americans aren’t convinced they couldn’t be individually identified so they aren’t interested in this technology at all.

About the survey

This Synovate survey on advertising was conducted in September 2009, surveying more than 8,600 respondents across 11 markets – Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the USA.

About Synovate

Synovate, the market research arm of Aegis Group plc, generates consumer insights that drive competitive marketing solutions. The network provides clients with cohesive global support and a comprehensive suite of research solutions. Synovate employs over 6,400 staff across 62 countries.

For more information on Synovate visit


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