Most women dislike gender-targeted ads, according to a recent national survey of American women conducted by New York-based advertising technology company Fluent.
The report, titled “Marketing to Women,” analyzed how different marketing channels influence the engagement and purchasing decisions of female consumers. The study found that nearly three-quarters of all females surveyed — 74 percent — said they prefer marking messages that are gender neutral, as opposed to messages geared specifically toward women.
Regardless, 73 percent of the women surveyed said they receive marketing messages directed specifically to women at least sometimes. Only 27 percent said they rarely or never see these messages.
“According to our research, nearly 3 in 4 women prefer gender-neutral ads," Fluent president Matt Conlin told O'Dwyer's. "This suggests that many women find marketing efforts that single them out for their gender to be out of touch. This is important for marketers to keep in mind, given the history of biased ads from the Mad Men era.”
The Fluent study also found that digital marketing channels such as social media, emails and mobile notifications are far more likely to drive purchasing decisions than TV, print and other "traditional" channels.
While only 14 percent of respondents said they’ve signed up to received mobile notifications from brands and products, the study cited this forum as the most effective marketing channel, as 72 percent of respondents who use mobile notifications said it has influenced them to buy products. More than half — 53 percent — of respondents who subscribe to email marketing newsletters have done the same, though only 19 percent admitted signing up to receive them.
By contrast, only 44 percent said TV ads have been influential in their purchasing decisions, followed by newspaper and magazine ads (35 percent) and radio ads and billboards (both 26 percent). Online display ads also ranked low, influencing only 37 percent.
About a third — 30 percent — of women aged 18-29 (and 19 percent all women) said they follow brands and products on social media. A majority of those who do so, however — 71 percent — said the practice has made them more likely to buy products. According to the report, Facebook leads all social media platforms when it comes to following brands, with more than three-quarters — 77 percent — of respondents citing it as the preferred network, followed by Instagram, which was favored by only 11 percent. Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat followed in favorability, in descending order.
More than half of all women polled for the survey — 55 percent — said they have downloaded a mobile app from a brand they occasionally enjoy. However, 45 percent said they never have, and the practice seems to maintain a particularly low adoption rate, as only about a fourth of respondents claimed to have made a purchase this way, with the majority — 76 percent — citing apps as a resource they use primarily for research.
Of the women surveyed, 36 percent said they typically browse products online before making a purchase at a store, and 37 percent said they check online customer reviews before making a purchase.
Fluent's “Marketing to Women” report surveyed 1,443 American women in late April.
Download the report here.