Less than two-thirds of Canadians trust ads: Study

When it comes to advertising, Canadians are among the least trusting in the world, with just 59% saying they trust the ads they seeThat is among the findings from Nielsen’s annual Trust in Advertising study, which surveyed 40,000 people about advertising in North America, EMEA, Asia Pacific, and Latin America.

The study also showed a general lack of response to advertising among Canadians. That’s particularly true online, with almost two-thirds of respondents indicating they never take action based on seeing online banner ads, and half indicating they don’t take action based on mobile ads or ads shown prior to movies.

When it comes to the type of advertising that resonates with Canadians, 54% of respondents indicated a preference for humour, ahead of real-life situations (47%), value-oriented ads (40%), pets/animals centred ads (38%), family-oriented (36%) and health-themed (34%). While humour is number one with Canadians, it only ranks fifth among global respondents, behind real-life situations, health-themed, family-oriented and values-oriented.

Generally, millennials have the most trust in advertising of any age cohort, with 62% of respondents saying they trust advertising completely or somewhat. The silent generation (65+) is the least trusting in advertising, with 51% of respondents trusting completely or somewhat in advertising.

Among the other Canadian findings:

  • Nearly two-thirds of Baby Boomers (63%), said they completely trust TV ads, compared to just 17% of global respondents;
  • Canadian millennials are also much less likely to trust influencer marketing than the global average, with 10% indicating they trust the ads completely, versus 20% globally;
  • Only 8% of Canadian Gen Z respondents indicated they trust branded websites, compared to 31% of global respondents;
  • Millennials are most likely to take action in response to an ad at 17%, followed by Gen Z and Gen X at 12% each. Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation are least likely to take action, at 8% and 6% respectively;

Also last week, industry group Vividata released research that paints a rosier picture about the effectiveness of advertising. The study Taking Notice: Advertising Awareness and Effectiveness in Canada, found that more than 28 million Canadian adults notice ads in any media in a typical week, with nearly 70% noticing ads on TV and about 60% noticing ads on streaming video.

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) said that ads “help me choose what to buy” with women under the age of 25 twice as likely as the average person to get help with their purchase decisions through social media.

According to Vividata, more than one-third of Canadians 18+ notice ads through a combination of TV, streaming video and search, while a mix of streaming video, social media and search was able to reach nearly half of those under the age of 25.

While marketers have clearly made efforts to diversify the talent that appears in their ads, new Canadians identifying as Black, Indigenous of People of Colour were the most likely to feel underrepresented, something that is especially true in social media.

Chris Powell