Research finds lower investment in ads featuring womenResearch finds lower investment in ads featuring women

Figures from omnichannel data-driven creative platform CreativeX suggest the advertising industry has little to celebrate about the representation of women in ad creative this International Women’s Day. In particular, while brands were featuring more female characters in ads, there was an under-investment in deploying those ads.

For example, 44% of women in the ads analyzed were shown in professional settings, but those ads saw almost 50% less ad spend than where characters in professional environments were male. The research was based on automated analysis of around 3,400 ads featuring over 6,400 characters (deployed 2021 and 2022 in the U.S.). The sample focused on verticals that tend to feature female characters in ads, like CPG and beauty.

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Why we care. It’s clearly not enough to ask whether women are being featured in ads, whether they have a voice and whether they are represented appropriately. Tick all those boxes and the question still arises whether those ads are getting the investment, and therefore the deployment, that ads featuring men are getting.

The data reflects trends found in previous research by the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media. Male characters were seen more (56%) and heard 1.5X more (60%). CreativeX has been partnering with the Geena Davis Institute to provide media analytics at scale.

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