Inclusive ads drive business results

November 14, 2023
min read

It’s been shown, over and over again, across multiple industry studies that inclusive ads drive business results. Since there’s so much great evidence out there, I thought we should highlight it here. 

One of my favorite studies was conducted by System1. They hand selected ads that had strong stories and representation for a set of historically underrepresented groups: women, people with disabilities, people aged 55+, Black Americans, Asians, LGBTQIA+, and Hispanics. They then gathered focus groups of those groups to view the ads and provide feedback via their system. 

One of their key findings was that people like seeing themselves in ads, but they also like seeing other people in ads.  Viewers who identified with the group being featured in a certain ad delivered a strong bump in their star score, but the control group also showed a statistically significant bump in star score. It’s a win no matter which way you look at it.

The takeaway: inclusive content delivers regardless of the audience

Read the entire Feeling Seen report here (US version) and here (UK version).

Now for the rapid fire portion - here are some more quick facts:

Higher cultural relevance in ads show

  • 3.8x Enhanced brand perception
  • 2.8x Lift in purchase intent
  • 2.7x Increase in ad effectiveness

Source: CIIM 2020 Ad testing

Ads with more progressive gender portrayals deliver

  • 1.7x higher brand affinity
  • 1.4x higher ad enjoyment
  • 1.3x higher purchase intent

Source: Unstereotype metric analysis from Kantar

In 2021 the World Economic Forum published this report: Reflecting Society: The State of Diverse Representation in Media and Entertainment, here are some highlights:

  • Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer of P&G, the largest advertiser in the world, explained that if P&G’s brands matched their general-market performance with multicultural audiences, “the size of the prize is big – up to $1 billion in extra sales” 
  • Some 64% of consumers surveyed by Google said they took some sort of action (e.g. considered or purchased a product) after seeing an ad that they considered to be diverse or inclusive. 
  • This rate is higher among specific consumer groups including Latinx (85%), Black (79%), Asian/Pacific Islander (79%), LGBTQ+ (85%), millennial (77%) and teen (76%).
  • Microsoft’s research also demonstrated that companies running inclusive ads are regarded as “more trustworthy” by 68% of women and 60% of men.

These are just a few examples of the research out there, but should be more than enough to convince you that yes, inclusive content is good for bottom line results.

So…. how inclusive is your advertising?

A great place to start is to measure representation in your ads. You might find that, like the 2023 Super Bowl ads, you show people with a masculine gender expression 2x more than people with a feminine gender expression. But without measuring and analyzing your ads, you won’t know. 

To read on and learn exactly how to do this, check out our next blog post.

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