TV ads spark most annoyed Twitter comments

Being interrupted during favourite TV shows is a top reason for negative comments about advertising.

TV ads are most likely to elicit negative comments on Twitter, according to a new study from the World Federation of Advertisers.

In an analysis of 670,000 English-language tweets from August 2014 to February 2015, the organization found that TV ads prompted the most negative comments, followed by online and radio. Ads on music-streaming site Pandora were also considered annoying, followed by YouTube and Spotify.

Global social media agency We Are Social conducted the analysis as part of an initiative from the WFA called Project Reconnect, which aims to better align brand and marketing strategy with consumer expectations in the digital age.

“Just over half the tweets were original statements but 37% were retweets, meaning Twitter users have retweeted negative comments almost 750,000 times,” the organization reports. “One in ten tweets were replies, usually agreeing with the negative sentiments of the original tweet.”

The average complainant also had more than 1,000 followers, suggesting their negative comments had a somewhat significant reach, the WFA says.

Men were more likely to post negative comments than women, but both sexes make positive comments about advertising equally.

A top reason for negativity was just general dislike of advertising, or “ad malaise,” the WFA says. That was followed by interruptions, which consumers tend to find most annoying.

“The tweets analysed showed that interruption was most annoying during high intensity content such as action and drama shows or live sporting events,” the organization notes. “Interruptions to The Walking Dead were the most common references to a specific piece of content. Marketers need to make more of an effort to add value to the context in which they appear rather than simply interrupting it.”

Incongruity (or being targeted in the wrong place or at the wrong time) was also an annoyance, with negative tweets reflecting a dislike for things like inappropriate ads airing when watching TV with their parents.

Deceptive claims, overkill (or too many ads too frequently on TV), annoying online targeting that’s meant to be personal, and just poor quality ads were also the top reasons for negative comments.

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