- Most consumers (71%) expect brands to promote diversity and inclusion in their online advertising, but more than half (54%) don't feel fully represented in online ads, per a study released by Facebook.
- Majorities of consumers are more loyal to brands that stand for diversity and inclusion in online advertising (59%) and prefer to buy from such brands (59%). A meta-analysis of brand lift studies found that online campaigns with more diverse representation tend to have higher ad recall.
- Facebook's findings confirm that diversity and inclusion in online advertising can help brands engage with consumers and deliver better business outcomes, but that marketers still have a way to go to address misrepresentation and underrepresentation. The study done in partnership with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media relied on a survey of 1,200 people, a review of more than 1,200 brand life studies and an analysis of 1,022 global Facebook video ads.
Facebook's research, including an analysis of video ads on its platform, demonstrates that consumers want to be represented and see diversity and inclusion in online advertising across race, gender, sexual orientation and ability. The company's blog post notes that while previous research has examined diversity in traditional advertising, this effort was one of the first to focus on online advertising.
While consumers want to see diversity and inclusion in ads — and prefer brands that stand for it — the research found that online ads are still subject to misrepresentation and underrepresentation. Women are more than 14 times as likely to be shown in revealing clothing and are nearly seven times as likely to be objectified visually or verbally. Men are more likely to than women to be presented as angry (2.4 times) and less likely to be shown as happy (1.4 times). Meanwhile, people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ+ community are "severely" underrepresented in online ads, at 1.1% and 0.3%, respectively.
"The advertising industry has an outsized responsibility in how members of traditionally diverse groups are broadcast to the world. This research, one of the first explorations of its kind regarding under- and misrepresentation in online advertising, highlights where and how we can do better. It's on us to get this right," Nada Stirratt, vice president of the global business group for Facebook North America, said in a statement.
Facebook also points to a new campaign from Pure Leaf, the iced tea brand owned by PepsiCo and Unilever's Lipton, as an example of how its platforms can be used to elevate diverse voices. For International Women's Day, Pure Leaf launched "No is Beautiful" with DDB and OMD to highlight women who have said "no" in order to embrace life-changing opportunities. The effort uses documentary-style in-feed videos to share women's stories. Women are being encouraged to share their own stories via a custom AR filter, and this content will be added to an Instagram Story highlight reel.
When brands get representation right, it helps to drive loyalty and purchases, per the research. Majorities of consumers say they prefer such brands, and a meta-analysis that included thousands of simulations found that diverse ads have higher ad recall, with more than 90% of simulations showing that diverse representation was "the winning strategy" for ad recall lift. From every angle, diversity and inclusion in online ads aligns with brand objectives.