Last Updated on: 21st November 2023, 09:06 pm

Brand new research from, the leading digital advertising platform for global brands, reveals that over half (51%) of UK consumers say they’ve been hit with more irrelevant online ads in the last three months that are insensitive to their financial circumstances. Furthermore, 55% of people are worried about facing even more irrelevant adverts this year – when millions are set to see their budgets tighten even more.

CMOs under mounting pressure

This new research comes as consumer confidence remains at record lows and 77% of CMOs revealing they are under pressure to prove their work is providing a return on investment. Smartly’s study reveals that marketers’ current approach of casting a wide net is having a negative impact, with consumers set to dismiss brand advertising due to a lack of relevancy in 2023.

Bad ads crush consumer confidence’s data highlights this failing strategy – with 76% of consumers revealing they scroll past irrelevant adverts, and 18% saying they trust brands less as a result. At a time where consumer confidence is low and brand loyalty is paramount, 34% claim they are annoyed by these adverts, and 11% say they are upset if an advert targets them with a product or service they can’t afford.

What is an irrelevant ad?

Consumers describe irrelevant ads in various ways, including when a product isn’t relevant to them (43%) or the product isn’t affordable for them (29%). Additionally, 27% of consumers say they don’t engage with adverts with errors, poor quality images, typos or odd formatting and 19% define an irrelevant advert as one that isn’t eye-catching, interesting or creative.’s study reveals that creative is crucial for adverts to keep consumers loyal when they’re feeling the pinch financially.

The marketers’ view spoke to 50 major brands in the UK and Netherlands to gather marketers’ perspective on consumers’ response, and 74% say their creative and media teams could work better together to create more compelling adverts that capture consumer attention. Additionally, more than half (56%) of marketers also see the benefits of aligning their creative and media teams in the current climate. Yet, it’s clear marketers are under increased pressure and need urgent support, as 70% claim their creative branding assets get rejected, diminished, or lost during the activation of a campaign at least somewhat often.

“As we head deeper into the recession, the choice for brands is simple”, said Oli Marlow Thomas, Chief Innovation Officer at “Consumers have less to spend and are fed up with tone-deaf adverts – which means it’s more important than ever to engage your audience with something that’s more memorable and thoughtful.”

With 1 in 5 consumers saying their trust in a brand declines when they see an irrelevant advert, not only must CMOs be cognisant of this when planning campaigns for the year ahead, but creative and media teams must collaborate more closely on smarter execution in 2023 – developing advertising that appropriately captures consumer attention and makes them feel heard. 

“The power of creative advertising, sharing the right message and targeting the right customer cannot be underestimated – and is mission critical for brands’ to focus on heading into the new year,” added Thomas.

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