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UK Insights

Ad saturation and over-targeting are putting the industry at risk

Mark Inskip

UK and Ireland CEO, Media Division

Brands 09.04.2019 / 11:00


More than half of UK consumers feel apathetic towards advertising and three quarters see the same ads over and over again, finds Kantar report.

According to Kantar’s DIMENSION study, consumers in the UK are feeling apathetic towards – and mistrusting of – advertising. The study, which is based on findings from 5,000 connected consumers in five markets with a combined total ad spend of $352bn, reveals that more than half (56%) of UK consumers object to over-targeting. A similar number of UK consumers are completely apathetic towards advertising content (55%) – increasing from 53% back in 2018.

Cheryl Calverley, CMO of Eve Mattresses, one of 58 industry leaders who contributed to the report, stated: “What you can’t see from data is the damage you might be doing by retargeting people endlessly with your products.”

Highlighting the potential danger to the industry, the study reveals that almost three quarters (73%) of UK consumers say they see the same ads over and over again and only 11% state that they enjoy advertising.

If brands and advertisers are going to rebuild – and retain – the trust of their audiences, we need to see more responsible use of data across the industry. By adopting an integrated approach, balancing niche targeting capabilities with mass marketing tactics, brands can provide consumers with a helpful, additive experience. Those who are building verified first-party data into their approach and, where possible, that of walled garden platforms are able to paint a complete picture of the total consumer journey across all media.

Over the last two years, the number of UK consumers using ad-blocking technology has remained steady at 22%. However, consumers are finding new ways to circumvent advertising and engage with the content they want to on their own terms – increasingly that means one without ads.

44% of UK consumers currently pay for a TV or video subscription service and 17% pay to subscribe to an audio or music service. While content reigns as the main reason for over half (52%) of those using TV or video subscription services, for more than a third (36%) the main reason for subscribing is to avoid being targeted with advertising content; this figure has increased from 31% in 2018. 

At a time when consumers are becoming ever savvier towards advertising, the focus for the industry needs to be on creating content that really resonates with audiences and makes an impact. Already, we are seeing some brands taking steps in the right direction, and ultimately the ones who come out on top will be those who are able to create compelling content that’s shared in an appropriate context and accurately measured, to optimise performance.

Source : Kantar

Editor's Notes

To learn more about the DIMENSION study and read the reports in full, please visit

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