AdNation 2017: the story so far…

Aussies like and trust TV ads but bubble trouble looms in AdLand

What is AdNation about?

We all know in AdLand that we’re a bit special – a little bit different to the average Australian. We tend to live in or close to a capital city, we tend to be young, educated, time-poor, and have the latest tech gear.

There are other lifestyle differences too: we are more likely to go to local farmers’ markets, less likely to have kids… or lawnmowers. And all of this tends to play out in our attitudes and consumption habits when it comes to media and technology.

At the same time, of course, we’re meant to be experts in the media consumption habits and attitudes of regular Aussies. But the AdNation study shows that we can be guilty of assuming their habits are the same as ours.

Many of us in AdLand presume regular Joes (and Jos) all over Australia behave and think as we do when it comes to media. AdNation shows that they don’t. Many of us overestimate how much normal people use platforms like social media and SVOD, for instance.

Meanwhile, the general public’s love affair with TV continues.

Read on for these and many other striking findings below.

First, a quick summary of what we learned about the two groups that were surveyed, and also how the research was carried out…

The General Public:

  • TV advertising is the most liked form of advertising, the most trusted, the most memorable, and the one most likely to generate an emotional response.
  • TV is the most likely place to find advertising that draws attention to a brand, product or service they have not heard of.
  • A TV set offers the best viewing experience (but AdLand overestimates TV viewing on laptops).


  • Have radically different lifestyles and media consumption habits compared to the general public, including a much larger online footprint, particularly when it comes to social media.
  • Many advertising, marketing and media professionals are uninformed about the media consumption habits and attitudes of “normal” Australians.
  • AdLanders also significantly overestimate people’s use of online platforms and services.


ThinkTV commissioned leading marketing academic Professor Karen Nelson-Field to find out how in touch marketing, media and advertising professionals are with everyday Aussies.

Professor Nelson-Field surveyed over 1,600 AdLand professionals and over 1,000 “normal” people to identify differences and similarities in the two groups’ lifestyles and their usage of – and attitudes towards – different media.

She used a representative sample of the Australian population provided by Pure Profile and used Mumbrella’s database to survey a representative sample of advertising, media and marketing professionals, which included representative splits of seniority. Adland is made up of statistically significant subsets of Media Agencies, Creative Agencies, Media Owners, Advertisers and Other which includes Journalists, Industry Bodies, and Research Providers. Respondents self-selected the appropriate classification.

Both samples were weighted and measured by Professor Karen Nelson-Field to ensure accurate representation. The gender balance was 51% female and 49% male for both samples.

And so to some key findings…

Preferred forms of advertising

 When it comes to advertising they like, TV wins hands down for normal people: almost twice as many (42%) said they were likely to find advertising they liked on TV compared to AdLanders (22%). In contrast people in AdLand preferred social media as a place to find ads they liked (36%), 16 percentage points more than normal people (20%).

People in AdLand actually agreed with normal people that TV was by far the most likely place to find trusted advertising, advertising that would make them feel emotional and advertising that would stick in the memory.

But when it came to attention, there was a disparity. Normal people were clear in identifying TV as the most likely place to find advertising that draws attention to a product, brand or service they had not heard of, with 47% electing TV, two and a half times more than the next media channel, social media, which was chosen by 18% of them. In almost direct contrast AdLand nominated social media as the most likely medium, with 44% choosing social media, and only 19% selecting TV.

Lifestyle Differences

 These differences in preferences seem to echo differences in lifestyles between the two groups. Compared with the average Australian, AdLand professionals are younger, less likely to have children, nearly three times more likely to have a gym membership and more than twice as likely to be single and live in a share house. They are more time-poor, working twice as many hours, at the expense of TV, radio, time with family and pets.

 People in AdLand also love the latest devices; they are 129% more likely to own TV streaming device (such as Chromecast or Apple TV), and 83% more likely to own wearables, and 60% more likely to own a smart watch. People in AdLand are: 18% more likely to own a laptop or a smartphone, 27% more likely to own a tablet or a coffee machine.

On the flip-side, compared with AdLand, normal people are 38 per cent more likely to have fly screens, and twice as likely to have a lawn mower.

Media Usage and Perceptions

 Next, we looked at how well AdLand does in estimating the average Australians’ use of different types of media, starting with social media.

We started by asking Adlanders which of the following social media they had accessed in the last 7 days. Then we asked them to estimate the same for real Australians, and the results were very similar.

 But when we asked normal people their usage, it transpired that AdLand’s estimates were way over: they overestimated Facebook by 27%, Instagram by 170%, Snapchat by 205%, and Twitter by 308%.

This projection bias was also evident when we asked about usage of other key apps, websites and media platforms.

Again the gap between what AdLand thinks and what real Aussies do is massive.

AdLand over-estimated YouTube by 54%, WhatsApp by 292%, Reddit by 250% and Buzzfeed by 357%.

And the same pattern occurred when we asked about SVOD and AVOD usage.

So the average Australian is a lot less enamoured with Netflix than AdLand is but AdLand assumes they are even more enamoured. In fact, AdLand overestimates the percentage of people that used Netflix in the previous seven days by 179%.

ABCiView is also more popular among AdLand, which overestimated normal people’s answer by 140%.

And when it comes to time spent on the internet, AdLand thinks Australians spend almost a quarter of it on social media – but the survey found that to be s a 44% over-estimation. AdLand also over-estimated the time Aussies spend on Tinder and other dating apps… but they weren’t on Tinder, they were much more likely to be banking and emailing.

Screen Usage

So what about screens? And what about the myth that no one watches TV on a TV set these days?

Well, we already know it’s a myth because Nielsen/OzTAM/RegionalTAM figures show 86.6% of viewing of broadcast TV content is watched on in-home sets within 28 days of original transmission.

AdNation provides some insight into why that’s the case: everyone agreed that the TV set offers the best viewing experience. It’s big. It’s loud, people like their lounge-rooms because they’re comfy and can watch with their family and friends at the same time.

Of course, there is a common belief that everyone is multi-screening and unable to concentrate on the ads on TV. AdNation shows that it’s not everyone: two-thirds of people say they multi-screen while watching TV.

But it also shows that of those two-thirds, 90% say they can still engage with TV whilst multi-screening.

So there you have it, some highlights from AdNation 2017.

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