Why Women are Fed Up with Advertising

2019/04/24 08:00

women ads target

According to a recent report, women are more averse to advertising than ever before.

A recent report by Kantar has a number of media owners and brands talking about the fact that they may no longer be able to reach as much of their female audience as they used to.

Even though gender is one of the most sensitive topics around today, there are still countless brands that are not keeping up with important social changes such as gender equality. On the other side of the spectrum, some brands aren’t adapting to these changes out of a fear of getting it wrong, which ironically, will end up backfiring on them anyway.

A Woman’s Perspective on Advertising

According to Kantar, 76% of female consumers are unhappy with how they are portrayed in the media and advertising. Brands just don’t seem to be creating ads that are relatable to the 21st-century woman because they’re not an accurate representation of how today’s women think and act.

Additional research by JWT/Geena Davis Institute indicated that men tend to speak up to 7x more than women do in an advertisement, which further emphasizes that a large percentage of modern ads are still based on old gender norms – naturally, this is deterring women from wanting to support certain brands.

Overall, women feel that brands could be doing a better job of evaluating their approach to advertising from concept to execution by rethinking what it means to be a woman in today’s day and age.

Where Brands are Going Wrong

In an effort not to lose a large percentage of their female target audience, brands need to start challenging their thinking as well as their overall approach to marketing.

For one, females tend to be over targeted in categories such as household, toiletries and food, and are left at the wayside in categories such as finance and automotive. The reality is that today’s households function very differently and both men and women fulfil multiple roles, which means they are both decision makers.

It’s unusual to think that so many brands still forget that women make just as many important decisions and purchases as men do – from purchasing a new car to buying insurance and investing in shares – yet men are still the primary target audience for many categories.

The below graph outlines the percentage of males versus females that make decisions in specific categories.

women targeting ads

The status quo is changing and if brands want to survive in an evolving consumer landscape, they need to start making a few changes. BrandZ, the world’s largest brand equity database, recently reported that gender-balanced brands perform better than those that skew male or female.

Adopting a gender-balanced approach is the next logical step for brands everywhere.

Navigating a New Normal

So, what are some of the ways that brands can start making changes to their marketing in an effort to appeal to female consumers in a way that empowers them and appeals to their personal and professional roles?

  • Challenge Assumptions. When considering a new campaign, brands need to start finding ways to portray both men and women in an authoritative and aspirational way. Challenging assumptions and stereotypes are essential for going forward.
  • Find Ways to Appeal to Both Genders. While not every ad is going to need to appeal to both genders, in many cases, it should. During the creation of every new campaign, look at it through the lens of both men and women. How does the ad appeal to the needs and emotions of both genders? What can be changed so that it resonates with everyone in a different way?
  • Consider Cultures Too. Before you assume that an ad will definitely speak to women because of the music, imagery or content you’re using, make sure that it’s not crossing cultural boundaries and delivering the complete opposite message to a certain percentage of your audience. You may find that your campaign needs a little refinement when you take both gender and culture into consideration.
  • Be Authentic. Before you get too excited about creating more gender-balanced campaigns, make sure that your brand isn’t about to take a giant leap that will look unnatural and inauthentic. Decide how you want your brand to be viewed going forward and find ways to make small adjustments that will help you build a new image.
  • Keep Testing. Nobody gets it right on the first try, which is why testing is going to be imperative during this stage. It’s important to slowly gain an in-depth understanding of what appeals to your target audience and how that can be translated into what your brand offers. Some campaigns will work, others will be learning experiences, the bottom line is to keep testing all aspects – from the targeting you use in AdWords to the imagery you use in your video content.

You may think that your brand is doing a good job of connecting with women online but there is always room for improvement. Consumer preferences and gender roles as we know them are evolving and the minute you decide that you’ve nailed it is the moment you fall behind. Keep finding ways to inspire and empower your female audience if you want to stand out and boost your bottom line in the coming year and beyond.