post tag icon Marketing
12 / 12 / 19

The Threat of Ad Saturation

The world of marketing is potentially facing something of a crisis, thanks largely to a lack of intelligence applied to some marketing efforts.

We are beginning to reach a point of saturation, which unless tackled could derail much of what we know about modern marketing. There is a solution however, and it simply comes down to smart marketing.


What’s the issue?

The issue boils down to trust. Consumers are increasingly sceptical of marketing and advertising efforts.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, the consumer trust level is now down to 37%. This is leading to greater levels of consumer apathy and reduces the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

Data collected by the Advertising Association shows that public favourability towards advertising has dropped since the early 1990s from around 50% to just 25% last year, halving in just under 30 years.

While at ISBA’s annual conference in March, Unilever’s outgoing CMO and president of the AA, Kieth Wood said this:

“If we don’t tackle [The issue of trust] head on and right now, it will be an increasing challenge to all of us in the industry”

“A brand without trust is a product, and advertising without trust is just noise. Trust is the key thing that we need to engage with.”

A new market analysis conducted by Kantar suggests that 54% of UK consumers object to being targeted based on their past browsing history, with 55% claiming they are apathetic to advertising content altogether.

Symptomatically, 70% also say they see the same ads over and over with just 11% claiming to actually enjoy advertising content.

In a world where the consumer no longer believes or even takes notice of what marketers and advertisers are doing, entire marketing campaigns could be wasted or simply lost in the midst of people simply not caring.

Why is this happening?

The primary cause here is oversaturation. Consumers are being so overwhelmed with generic brand advertising, most of which is of no relevance to them, that they are just switching off.

This harms everyone in the marketing industry and left unchecked will make life a lot harder for all of us.


The age-old tactic of trying to get your ads in front of as many people as possible is not only now largely redundant it seems, but also, in fact, detrimental to your marketing efforts and those of others.

How can we remedy this?

The solution, as I mentioned, is smarter marketing. 44% of consumers said they enjoyed ads that were directly relevant to them with 45% admitting that ads that are tailored to them are at least more interesting than those that aren’t.

This suggests that by limiting the remit of your marketing efforts and simply targeting those to whom it might actually be relevant, you stand to see better results, at the very least a better ROI.

As well as this, context can play a significant role in people’s perceptions of advertising content.

The research conducted by Kantar also suggests that 41% of British consumers claim they are more likely to believe advertising when it’s featured by trusted brands, and 48% suggested they would be more inclined to notice adverts hosted on platforms they actually enjoy using.

Collectively this tells us that the solution is relevant, context-considered advertising content. Thankfully this is becoming easier to achieve with the growing use of web analytics and the ability to target social media advertisements.

The flipside of this though is that over-targeting can put consumers off. Taking this too far and essentially attempting to follow your target market around the web and bombard them at every turn reduces trust in brands and encourages apathy.

It’s more important than ever in light of this to get the balance right if the world of marketing and advertising is to ever regain the trust of consumers.

If you want to know how to better market your business and avoid being caught up in ad saturation and consumer apathy, contact Formation today.

Written by Kathryn Formation