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How Many Ads Do We Really See Each Day?

How Many Ads Do We Really See Each Day?

A couple of months ago, I read an article that claimed that we see 2,500 adverts a day. There are 86,400 seconds (or 1,440 minutes) each day, so that means that, on average, we’re seeing 1.74 adverts a minute!

To me that seemed far too high, so I decided to conduct my own experiment. I ordered some clickers and asked a number of colleagues at TCS to spend a whole day looking out for ads and clicking. Now it must be noted that this was during the World Cup (although not on a day that England were playing) so there may well be a few anomalies.

It was a relatively small sample size with an even split of male and female, ages ranging from 20 to 48. It included our London and Worcester offices, as I wanted to see if there were large disparities between a regional city and the capital.

The numbers were interesting and varied: 411, 281, 158, 355, 356, 452, 511, 460, 303 582, 800, and 838. What I learnt was informative but not necessarily mind-blowing.

Commuters using public transport saw far more ads than those driving – a pretty good thing from a safety point of view! Overall, OOH was certainly the dominant format for everyone at the London office. Print ads were also seen fairly often, although a number of us had to look for our clients ads that day (I can’t say it was under laboratory conditions).

Inserts also featured, along with DAB and online radio. Digital ads were seen in their various forms: social, search and banners on websites, via smartphones, tablets and desktops. Interestingly, these were not seen, or at least not noticed, in nearly as large numbers as the headline figures would have us believe.

Advertising at the cinema was not consumed at all on this day; not even by me (and I go to the cinema 100 times a year without fail!).

Television was of course cited, and to my complete chagrin I forgot to count the advertising hoardings around the pitch side during the World Cup matches. I don’t know whether this was me being inept or whether this type of advertising is like wallpaper and harder to notice!

Some colleagues also included branded lorries, delivery vans and Santander sponsored cycles.

Only two of us managed to get within 33% of the 2,500 ads that we are supposedly exposed to each day. Either we have all become oblivious to most advertising due to the plethora of avenues now available, or perhaps we only see what we want to see. As media platforms and consumption continue to evolve, messages need to be more personal, smarter and relevant to individuals.

With literally thousands of ads viewed each day, creativity and relevance is integral. Factors like time, weather, frame of mind and location can help brands to cut through. It’s not just about being seen, but being actively noticed and engaged with. Otherwise ads are just another number among thousands…

Justin Mallinson
Director of Entertainments

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