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TV Still Tops Ad Response Table in Western Europe

Ads on smartphones and laptops get less attention than TV advertising in France, Germany and Spain

When it comes to consumer responses, TV advertisers in most Western European markets have little to fear from other screens, according to a study from Millward Brown. Researchers surveyed multiscreen users—people ages 16 to 44 who owned or had access to a television and a smartphone and/or tablet—in 30 countries between November 2013 and March 2014. The sample was clearly designed to represent digitally literate younger adults with the disposable income to invest in advanced mobile devices.

The preference for TV advertising was evident in all markets. In France, for example, 23% of respondents said they reacted very or somewhat favorably to ads on television, while only 10% were well disposed to ads on their smartphones, and 9% welcomed ads on their laptops. In Germany, just 19% had positive reactions to advertising on TV, but only 10% said they liked ads on their laptops, and a mere 8% thought favorably of smartphone ads.

Consumers in Spain were more inclined to like ads on any platform, Millward Brown found. Nearly one-third (31%) said they liked ads on TV, with the percentages for laptops and smartphones at 19% and 14%, respectively.

The survey also asked how consumers felt about ads on tablets. Interestingly, in Germany and Spain, tablets scored higher for ad favorability than either smartphones or laptops. In France, the percentage who considered ads on tablets very or somewhat favorably was about the same as the proportion favorable to ads on smartphones and laptops.

Even when consumers weren’t entirely favorable to ads on a given screen, significant numbers acknowleged that they paid attention to them. TV scored highest once again, with at least half of consumers in France, Germany and Spain saying they paid attention to ads on television. In all these countries, the percentage who paid attention was at least twice the proportion who said they generally had a favorable reaction to ads on those screens. The most striking disparity was in Germany, where only 8% to 12% of respondents said they favored ads on a smartphone, laptop or tablet, for example, but at least 40% said they paid attention to ads on those devices.

Such behaviors are becoming central to the strategies of marketers across Western Europe as smartphones and tablets proliferate. eMarketer estimates that nearly 200 million people in the region will own at least one smartphone this year. In France, Germany and Spain combined, the number of smartphone owners will total 88.2 million. It’s good news for brands if those consumers are paying attention to ads—even if they claim not to like marketing on a small screen.

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