Modern Marketing Brand Safety

Alcohol ads run dry to comprise less than 1% of online spots

By John Glenday | Reporter



alcohol article

March 30, 2022 | 3 min read

Alcohol brands are largely adhering to measures designed to limit their web exposure, according to a sobering study, which estimates overall saturation at 0.82% of online ads.

Independent research conducted by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) employed four simulated consumer profiles – the same technology favored by regulators in Europe – to examine what level of exposure individuals might expect to encounter.

The results showed that just 0.82% of all adverts viewed online by the ‘avatars’ were related to alcohol brands, with a minor likely to be presented by one alcohol ad for every 420 websites visited. In terms of time spent, this means that a minor would have to trawl the net for an average of 18 hours and 41 minutes before encountering their first alcohol ad.


The results showed that just 0.82% of all adverts viewed online by the ‘avatars’ were related to alcohol brands

WFA chief executive officer Stephan Loerke said: “There is a narrative that suggests that minors are being bombarded by alcohol ads. This study demonstrates this simply isn’t the case and offers useful perspective in terms of the size of the perceived problem. That said, WFA continues to work with its partners and members so that brand safety controls strive to eliminate minors’ exposure to alcohol brand messages online.”

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Conducted by research firm Nielsen, the Digital Avatar Project employed four avatars representing a minor, teenager, adult and ‘neutral’ to browse the net in the fashion of a regular consumer of their age, viewing 100 websites and 121,232 ads over a three-week period in key markets such as Brazil, Spain and Japan to tally the real-world browsing experience.

The study contradicts an earlier ASA report, which cited the ‘very concerning’ potential for children to view alcohol ads on social media

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