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Anti-social media: survey reveals consumers’ pet peeves when it comes to online advertising

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

While Facebook had the most successful advertising (43%), it also had the most annoying ads (41%), according to new research.

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The survey of 1,000 regular users of social media also revealed that the second most successful platform to advertise on was Instagram with 23% of the votes but it wasn’t perceived as equally annoying, with YouTube ads instead taking the number two slot with a quarter (24%) of people getting irritated by the social channel.

The survey from Harvey Morton Digital ( also revealed that three quarters (74%) of consumers like it when brands show a more human side in their social media, for example sharing funny memes and telling stories about their team members.

Harvey Morton, Digital Expert says: “It can be incredibly difficult for a brand to get their digital advertising and social media presence just right. You need to get a healthy balance of creative, engaging and persuasive – building content that will resonate with your audience without crossing the line into irritating. The stats revealed that a huge 64% of consumers get very annoyed with brands if they advertise too much so it’s important companies have a plan in place and don’t just post or advertise whenever they feel like it.

“Meanwhile, it’s refreshing to see that people are enjoying the more human side that brands are showing during the pandemic, often not taking themselves as seriously as they once did.”

When it comes to using a company’s website, the number one turn off was marketing pop-ups encouraging users to sign up to newsletters, according to 1 in 3 people (30%), followed by hidden charges (22%) and difficulty in contacting them (17%). Consumers say the best thing about a website is ease of use (52%), followed by safety (20%) and the ability to contact the customer service team hassle-free (16%).

Amazon by far topped the list of the UK’s favourite online retailers with half (50%) of the votes, followed by John Lewis (12%) and Ebay (11%).

Harvey concludes: “My advice to small businesses and retailers running their own website or social media accounts is to do your research, seek professional help and have a strategy in place. The last thing you want is potential customers getting frustrated by your well-intended ads or perfectly planned pop-ups. Now, more than ever, your website and social media is the shopfront of your brand, the main way that customers will engage with you so you need to make sure you get it just right.”

The Harvey Morton Digital Survey was a survey of 1,000 social media users undertaken in January 2021.


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