Brands have spent decades mas­ter­ing the art of tra­di­tional adver­tis­ing and are strug­gling to realise the poten­tial from dig­i­tal ads, accord­ing to the UK find­ings of our Click Here: State of Online Adver­tis­ing research launched today.

70% of con­sumers said that they thought TV ads are still more impor­tant than online ads, with 62% say­ing these were ‘annoy­ing’. Only a small group (8%) said that online ads were per­sua­sive. This is per­haps not hugely sur­pris­ing as online is still rel­a­tively in its infancy as an adver­tis­ing chan­nel, and the dig­i­tal land­scape and oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands are con­stantly changing.

So what can brands do to make online ads more appeal­ing to consumers?

Firstly brands need to remem­ber that con­tent is still king when it comes to adver­tis­ing, no mat­ter what chan­nel the ad appears on.

More than two thirds (68%) of UK con­sumers said ads should tell a unique story, rather than just try­ing to sell them prod­ucts. Most mem­o­rable ads are TV cam­paigns from John Lewis and Guin­ness, both of which con­tained an ele­ment of storytelling.

Humour is also impor­tant, 92% said funny ads are more effec­tive than ‘sexy’ ones. We took to the streets of Lon­don to talk about the best sexy and funny adverts… check out our video on YouTube and let us know your favourites too!

To like or not to like?

Although social hasn’t taken-off as an adver­tis­ing chan­nel (yet!), our research reveals that there are other oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands to engage with con­sumers on these channels.

Of the two thirds of Brits that use social media in the UK, nearly half (44%) have liked some­thing on behalf of a brand, and 49% reg­u­larly ‘like’ brands that they buy from on social chan­nels. The top two rea­sons peo­ple ‘like’ brands or prod­ucts is to share their tastes and inter­ests with the world and rec­om­mend prod­ucts to friends.

But brands beware! Almost half (49%) of peo­ple want to see a ‘dis­like’ button…

Con­sumers and the per­sonal touch  

When asked how valu­able con­sumers find it when a web­site makes per­son­alised prod­uct and ser­vice rec­om­men­da­tions, nearly half were ambiva­lent (43%), and just a quar­ter (24%) found it valu­able.  Of those that con­sumers felt do this well, pre­dom­i­nantly online brands like Ama­zon, eBay and Tri­pAd­vi­sor came out top.

So…how can brands make online ads a suc­cess? 

The find­ings are an impor­tant wake-up call for brands — they have a lot more work to do to with online ad cam­paigns if they are to cap­ture con­sumers’ atten­tion. Whilst phys­i­cal adver­tis­ing has tra­di­tion­ally been about broad­cast­ing mes­sages, online gives them the oppor­tu­nity to engage with cus­tomers directly – those that under­stand this will ulti­mately win in the dig­i­tal world…

Read the full Click Here: State of Online Adver­tis­ing UK press release here.