Facebook study finds that majority of consumers don’t feel culturally represented by online ads

Anne Freer | March 11, 2021

Mobile Advertising

Diversity in advertising is of growing concern to both consumers and brands.

New research by Facebook found that 54% of consumers said they did not feel culturally represented by online ads and 71% expected brands to promote diversity and inclusion more in their ads.

The study based on the responses of 1,200 people over the age of 18 in the UK, US and Brazil also highlighted that women were 14x more likely than men to be shown wearing revealing clothes and almost 7x more likely to be objectified.

Meanwhile men were more than twice as likely than women to be presented as angry and more likely to be shown as happy.

Some communities like the disabled remain severely underrepresented with just 1.1% of ads featuring them. LGBTQ+ community members featured even less at 0.3%.

“Although there is a concerted effort and priority by agencies and advertisers to improve underrepresented communities onscreen and behind-the-camera, we still see the negative tropes and stereotypes showing up in ads. In order to drive systemic change, we all need to establish measurable goals toward how we approach the work,” said Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which helped conduct the research.

Over half of consumers (59%) said they were more loyal to brands that stand for diversity and inclusion and preferred to shop with these brands.

Other research by Facebook also found that online campaigns with more diverse representation had higher ad recall.

The results highlight that online advertisers must come to grips with mis- and underrepresentation in order to diversify their campaigns.

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