There’s very little difference between male and female brains, but there are clearly differences in the way genders respond to advertising.
The reasons why an ad might work for one gender and miss the mark with another are complex, but there are ways brands can more effectively engage women online through better targeting.
Women strongly dislike formats that don’t offer them control, such as non-skippable videos. Globally, more women skip online video ads whenever they can: 65% compared with 58% of men.
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They also prefer shorter video – 10 seconds or less – whereas men are more accepting of longer ads.
Concerningly, the gender gap seems to be widening. While digital effectiveness among men has remained relatively stable over time, there has recently been a noticeable decline in effectiveness among women.
Understanding how genders respond to different ad formats can be used as a tool for optimising media targeting and improving ad effectiveness.
How does this affect advertising?
Using this research at the targeting stage of a media buy could improve the accuracy of placements – for example targeting women in environments where skippable video formats are present as we know these work better among this audience.
Online receptivity and targeting for women can also be improved with smarter in-market optimisation. If copy testing shows strong skews by gender to specific ads, this can be reflected in the media targeting, along with other variables such as category interest. This is easiest for digital, where it can be done most accurately.