Why Are So Many Likable Ads Ineffective?

Posted by Angela Jeffrey on Mar 31, 2016 5:10:07 PM
Likability is neither predictive of creative effectiveness nor highly correlated against other key metrics.  When we don’t copy-test an ad, we judge the ad based on whether we like it or not.  The result is lots of underperforming ads and millions of dollars in wasted advertising investment.


ABX research has shown:

  • How much we like an ad has little impact on our association of the advertised brand with the ad (Brand Linkage or Awareness);
  • How much we like an ad has little impact on how well we understand the Message being delivered;
  • Likeability does have a positive impact on feelings toward the brand (Reputation), but may have no impact on a more immediate Call-to-Action.

The study below on 25,000 measured ads in the ABX archive provides some sobering thought. Each ad was rated by consumer panels on 14 KPIs.

  • See how poorly Likability correlates with Brand Linkage for All Media (r=.20).
  • See how it does against Messaging in All Media (r=.60), which is still low.
  • Finally, see how it does against Reputation (r=.82), which suggests it is important, but not at the expense of other KPIs. If you love an ad, but have no idea who the advertiser was or what it said, you've got a problem.

Likeability.png

Our good friend Will Burns of Ideasicle and Forbes ranted about likeability vs effectiveness in his February 22nd blog, "The Data is Depressing: Very Few Super Bowl Spots Were Likable and Effective."

For this story, we measured all 61 ads against 14 Key Performance Indicators and contrasted Likeability scores as measured by USA Today against the ABX Index (which is our overall measure of ad effectiveness).  Will quoted ABX President Gary Getto in summarizing the results, "Likability was wrong 54% of the time."  In fact, some of the ads that scored poorly on Likability were still effective.  

Bottom line: $100 million was "flushed down the toilet" due to ad ineffectiveness for Super Bowl 2016. Ouch. (Click the chart for a larger version).

Super_Bowl_Chart_for_Forbes.png

What to do about this?  Two things:

  • Find advertising pre-test services that don't cost the GDP and make adjustments to your creative before it ever goes to markets
  • Make sure your branding is obvious early in the ad.  We all like to think *everyone knows us,* but they don't.
And, don't forget to sign up for your free copy of our eBook below!

Are you satisfied with your current creative effectiveness?  Is it resonating through Awareness and Message, and having an impact on Reputation and Action?  ABX provides the largest normative database in the industry across all media types. On average you can improve your creative effectiveness by almost 20%


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How the ABX Testing is Done

ABX provides ad effectiveness scores from human respondents against 14 variables and in all media types. ABX Index values are a comparison of the results of an ad versus the average of all ads in the ABX database (100,000+ ads). Click for more information about definitions and methodology.

 

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