Privacy Policy

We have updated our Privacy Notice for this website. Please click here to review.

Lightspeed Research and IAB UK conduct research into essentials for online ads

18 March, 2009

Study finds that younger internet users want to be entertained and older consumers want relevance and usefulness

London — A survey by Lightspeed Research and the Internet Advertising Bureau – the trade body for digital marketing in the UK - has revealed what consumers believe are the kinds of ads most likely to grab their attention online. The online audience knows they want - adverts that are relevant, useful and the third most popular incentive, money off - but the results reveal that there are key differences by age group when developing appealing creative executions.

Younger audiences concerned with entertainment, exclusivity and the freebees
The survey found that younger audiences are more interested in special offers, the entertainment factor and exclusive information within advertising. For 45-54 year olds however, ads need to be more relevant and useful to make an impact. And whilst money off particularly appeals to 18-35 year olds, with the economy expected to be slow, people of all ages are more likely to be looking for advertising that offers money off. In each case, and for the other age groups in the survey, consumers want online advertisers to understand their needs and devise their creative executions accordingly.

Most respondents believed they had been exposed to the more ‘traditional’ forms of online advertising, such as sponsored links, banners and emails and these ads were most likely to have generated click-throughs. Every age group surveyed chose sponsored links in a search result and advertising within a page as the top two ad formats for sparking their interest to click through to the advertisers’ website.

The research found that newer forms of online advertising are gaining ground, with ads using sound and video, widgets, in-game advertising and free gifts on Facebook proving to be effective approaches. In particular Facebook gifts and branded applications online are especially effective with 18-24 year old respondents – 29% had seen and sometimes interacted with an ad from either Facebook or branded content across various other social networking sites. As has happened with other online applications such as social networking, this suggests that these forms of advertising have the potential to become more mainstream.

Email advertising is particularly effective for those aged over 25. 34% of 25-34 year olds said they had seen and sometimes clicked on an ad from an email. This suggests there is a valuable role for email, not only for advertisers but for businesses who want to remain in contact with their customers as well as provide them with information about products and services they might be interested in.

Sorcha Proctor, Research Manager for IAB UK says “The research has found that even though not all consumers click on ads, they are now fully acquainted with most forms of advertising online, with the majority having been exposed to most internet ad formats. It also highlights exactly what consumers what online: relevance, entertainment and value for money, and its important for brands to bear this in mind when planning their digital campaigns.”

David Day, Lightspeed Research CEO Europe said, “This research shows what different age groups look for in adverts and what stimulates their interest. It is clear younger people are interested in more for entertaining adverts and it is important that marketers adapt their messages to appeal to their target audiences.

For press enquiries please contact:
Lucy Green, PR Consultant Greenfields Communications  
Tel: +44 (0) 7817 698366

Amy Kean Senior PR & Marketing Manager IAB UK
Tel: 0207 050 6946

Ralph Risk, Marketing Director Europe – Lightspeed Research  
Tel office +44 (0)20 7896 1950
Mobile +44 (0)787 650 7689

Note to editors
The survey was conducted on Lightspeed Research’s UK online panel between the 28 November and 8 December 2008 for IAB UK. There were 5022 respondents.

About the IAB
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the trade association for digital advertising. With over 480 members, it's run for the leading media owners and agencies in the UK internet industry. Online is an exciting and fast-growing medium and our job at the IAB is to work with members to ensure marketers can identify the best role for online and the emerging mobile market, helping them engage their customers and build their brands. Through the dissemination of research and the organisation of regular events, we aim to put digital on the agenda of every marketer in the UK, acting as an authoritative and objective source for all internet advertising issues whilst promoting industry-wide best practice.

About Lightspeed Research
Through proprietary global panels and research products and services, Lightspeed Research delivers valuable research to help businesses make informed decisions. From recruitment, to activity level, to ongoing profiling, Lightspeed Research’s panels are actively managed to provide engaged survey respondents and support studies that range in scope and complexity across industry sectors. Deeply profiled speciality panels including automotive, B2B, beverage, family and household, finance, health and wellness, media consumption, mobile phone, beauty and personal care, sports and hobbies, and travel and leisure, provide quick access to target audiences. As a leader in quality standards, Lightspeed Research has implemented stringent quality measures.

Lightspeed Research is part of the Kantar Group, the information, insight and consultancy division of WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world's leading communications services companies. For more information, please visit or send an email to

Acrobat Document lightspeed_pressrelease_ads_mar09_guid4a2346f4be0a.pdf

Tools Print page E-mail page Press Releases Reading Room Get Acrobat Reader

WPP Annual Report & Accounts 2017

WPP Annual Report & Accounts 2017
WPP Sustainability Report 2016/2017

WPP Sustainability Report 2017-2018
WPP Pro Bono Work 2017

Pro Bono 2017