Compared to Last Year, Advertisers Rely Less on Print Ads and More on Internet and Digital

Consumers are frustrated with many characteristics of Internet advertising

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Advertisers continue to rely on a mix of media types, although print is clearly suffering, partly at the expense of Internet and digital advertising.

These are some of the results of a new LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll® of 1,015 advertisers from agencies or corporations who are involved in the advertising decision making process surveyed online between June 22 and 30, 2009 and 2,025 U.S. adults surveyed online between June 24 and 26, 2009.

The Media Mix

There is a divide in what types of advertising are being used in media campaigns. On one hand, more than nine in ten advertisers (92%) are typically incorporating Internet advertising into their media campaigns while 88% say they are incorporating print advertising. At the same time, less than half say they typically incorporate radio advertising (46%), television advertising (46%) and digital advertising, such as through cell phones (39%). There is a regional difference here as advertisers in the South are more likely to use radio advertising (57%) and television advertising (56%) while those in the West are least likely to use both (39% each).

Among those advertisers who are using each of these types of media, there is a difference in the level of their usage since last year. Three-quarters of those who use Internet advertising (74%) say they are incorporating it more often while 69% of those who use digital advertising are incorporating that more often when compared to a year ago. Just under half (48%) of those who use television advertising are using it the same amount as last year, but 38% are using television less. Those who use radio advertising are split, 46% are using it the same amount while 43% are using it less often. The largest drop is with print advertising as half (49%) of those who use it are using it less often relative to a year ago while 41% are using it the same amount.

Internet Advertising

Among those who use Internet advertising, just 14% say they only use it as a standalone digital campaign, while over half (54%) say they use it in an integrated campaign with other media and 33% use Internet advertising in both types of campaign equally.

More specifically, Internet advertising is used in a broad number of ways. Four in five advertisers who use Internet advertising use it as a branding device (79%) and two-thirds use it to drive information gathering for an offline transaction (65%). Slightly less than three in five advertisers (58%) use Internet advertising to drive online transactions while 57% say they use it to promote community around their brand, through such things as message boards, memberships and fan clubs.

Consumers, however, find many characteristics of Internet advertising very frustrating. Four in five consumers (80%) say they find ads that expand on the page and cover the content very frustrating while 79% say ads where they can’t find the close or skip button are very frustrating. Three-quarters of consumers (76%) find Internet ads that automatically pop up very frustrating while two-thirds (66%) say ads that open if they are “moused over” are very frustrating. Three in five consumers find both animated ads that automatically start playing and ads that play music and/or have loud soundtracks to be very frustrating (60% for both).

So What?

Given that half of all advertisers are using print media less as compared to a year ago, it is not surprising that so many magazines and newspapers are folding. Nor is it surprising that some of the survivors are publishing less frequently or instituting employee furloughs.

Although the trend among advertisers is clearly towards the Internet, advertisers have to walk a fine line. At least three in five consumers are very frustrated with six of the main Internet advertising characteristics, and there is the potential to see a backlash forming. To be successful, those that advertise on the Internet will need to come up with more engaging ways to connect with consumers.


This LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll® was conducted online within the United States between June 24 and 26, 2009 among 2,025 adults (aged 18 and older) and between June 22 and 30, 2009, among 1,015 advertisers (aged 18 and over).

For the adults, figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. Where appropriate, figures for connection type and Internet usage were also weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the online population. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Full data tables and methodology are available at

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The Harris Poll® #81, July 22, 2009
By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

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