Consumers demand high quality, engaging creative across marketing funnel

New study unveils generational preferences for digital advertising.

The State of Digital Creative
The State of Digital Creative

Smartly today released its first-ever report on digital creative preferences, titled The State of Digital Creative: What Do Consumers Really Want From Ads? This global study explores consumer behavior and engagement with advertising, offering valuable insights for marketers seeking to optimize their creative strategies throughout the marketing funnel.

"At Smartly," stated Oli Marlow-Thomas, the company's Chief Innovation Officer, "we understand the critical role creative plays in building brand love and powering business growth. This research empowers marketers with a deeper understanding of what truly resonates with consumers, enabling them to craft more engaging and effective campaigns across the entire marketing funnel."

The study reveals distinct consumer preferences for creative content at each stage of the customer journey. Notably, younger generations, including Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha, hold digital creative to a higher standard. They expect well-produced, entertaining, and informative content, placing a greater value on personalization and captions compared to older generations. When it comes to video length, younger audiences favor shorter formats, a significant departure from traditional long-form television content.

Key findings by marketing funnel stage

Upper Funnel (Awareness and Interest): Production quality is 2.3 times more important to consumers than the product itself for generating awareness. Interestingly, the majority (52%) of Gen Alpha respondents prefer shorter videos between 2-5 minutes compared to longer formats.

Mid Funnel (Consideration and Evaluation): Product information trumps price and promotions during the mid-funnel stage. In fact, the study suggests that price and promotions are not among the top five most crucial creative considerations for mid to upper funnel marketing.

Lower Funnel (Decision and Purchase): While affordability remains a factor, product information reigns supreme over price promotions when influencing purchase decisions. Here, product information is 1.6 times more important than production quality in driving consumer purchases.

Generational differences in advertising preferences

The research also highlights significant generational gaps in advertising preferences. Millennials and younger generations demonstrate a 14% higher interest in creative with captions compared to Baby Boomers. For Gen Z, the lines between entertainment and advertising have blurred, with 81% prioritizing the quality of an ad's presentation, compared to 64% of Gen X and older generations. Furthermore, authenticity reigns supreme for Gen Z, with 91% of respondents favoring authentic, on-brand creative when making purchase decisions.

PPC Land is an international news publication headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. PPC Land delivers daily articles brimming with the latest news for marketing professionals of all experience levels.

Subscribe to our newsletter for just $10/year and get marketing news delivered straight to your inbox. By subscribing, you are supporting PPC Land. You can also follow PPC Land on LinkedIn, Bluesky, Reddit, Mastodon, X, Facebook, and Google News.

Know more about us or contact us via

Subscribe via email

Don’t miss out on the latest marketing news. Sign up now to get the articles directly in your email.