What Ads Types Are Most “Helpful”? Search Ads Follow Newspapers, TV

Trade magazine AdWeek and pollster Harris Interactive conducted a survey in early June among 2,521 US adults. People were asked what types of ads they found most “helpful” and what types of ads they ignored. Below are the top-line results as well as the age and geographically segmented data.

Most helpful in making purchase decisions:

  • 37 percent say that television ads are most helpful
  • 17 percent say newspaper ads are most helpful
  • 14 percent say search engine ads are helpful
  • Radio ads (3 percent) and Internet banner ads (1 percent) are not considered helpful by many people
  • 28 percent say that none of these types of advertisements are helpful to them in the purchase decision making process

Ad types that people ignore:

  • 46 percent say they tend to ignore Internet banner ads
  • 17 percent ignore search ads
  • 13 percent ignore TV ads
  • 9 percent ignore radio ads
  • 6 percent ignore newspaper ads

One in ten Americans say they do not ignore any of these types of ads. Interestingly, younger survey respondents tended to find search ads less helpful than older users and ignored them more. That’s a bit counter-intuitive.

Here are the data segmented by age and geography:



Related Topics: Channel: Search Marketing | Features: Analysis | Search Marketing: General | SEM Industry: Stats | Stats: General | Stats: Relevancy | Top News


About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.brickmarketing.com nickstamoulis

    Excellent data! I am actually shocked to see that 46% of people part of this study ignored internet banner Ads, I would think that this would be much lower…

  • http://www.JohnWEllis.com JohnWEllis


    Thanks for sharing this data.

    No good comes from asking people what ads are “helpful”. People will always say they don’t like advertising and commercials. “It’s annoying”.

    I get it every day. “Oh, you do those ads? I ignore those.”
    My answer, “Oh, no you don’t. You just think about when you do.”

    It’s only when ads don’t feel like ads they work. When someone is looking for widget A and a paid search campaign shows an ad for widget A, that’s no longer an ad. That’s filling the current demand. That’s helpful.

    Search ads, if done properly, will be favored by audiences, despite what they say in surveys.

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