The study also identified a new “online elite” category of internet users, who account for about a third of the total UK internet population – about seven million people.
Of this audience, 80% said that they have clicked on an online ad. More than 60% said they prefer to see online advertising that relates to the content they are viewing at that time and 53% of users said they pay more attention to online promotions when they appear on websites that they trust – raising questions over whether advertising on general interest websites pays off.
More than 88% of the online elite say that they always refer to the internet before buying.
Bill Murray, chairman of the AOP, said that the study showed content is still king when it comes to online communications.
“Brands need to carefully consider which sites they choose and the relationship these sites have with their users,” he said.
Generating OPTima results
As the outlook for online advertising’s growth remains positive, online planning and buying agency I-Level is launching a new tool aimed at giving clients insight into how effective online strategies and campaigns promise to be.
OPTima will sit within I-Level’s research and consultancy arm, Generator, and enable brands to pre-test creative concepts via questionnaires to be completed by consumers.
Jeremy Swinfen Green, joint managing partner of I-Level Generator, said: “Given the current debate over ad formats, to be able to understand the effect that creative treatments have on a target audience has obvious benefits. We don’t produce creative work, and we’re not aligned to any one creative source, which means we can offer clients true objectivity and impartiality”.