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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of advertising, persuading and paying attention from IELTS Cambridge 15.

You can also find my exclusive IELTS Ebooks here on Patreon, my online courses here, my writing corrections here or check out my other essays from Cambridge 15 here:

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Writing Task 2 Tests 1-4

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay IELTS Cambridge 15: Printed Newspapers and Reading Online (IELTS Cambridge 15)

IELTS Writing Task 2 Cambridge 15 Sample Answer Essay: Advertising & Paying Attention (IELTS Cambridge 15)

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Dave

Before reading, listen to the audio and take notes:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Cambridge 15 Sample Answer Essay: Advertising & Paying Attention

Some people say that advertising is extremely successful at persuading us to buy things. Other people think that advertising is so common that we no longer pay attention to it.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

IELTS Cambridge 15

There are those who would argue that advertising has become so pervasive, it hardly has any effect anymore. In my opinion, while people have developed habits to ignore ads, they still achieve their desired effect on the whole.

The main argument against the power of ads is they can be avoided. Online advertising is a good example of this. Users rarely click on or even glance at a website’s combination of pop-up ads, banners, mailing list requests, and auto-playing video ads. These have become so common that consumers have developed the unconscious practice of skipping ads on YouTube, quickly closing pop-ups and scrolling past in-page advertising. Advertisers have tried to counter this by making their marketing less conspicuous, as with ads that resemble real posts on social media sites like Instagram, but their sheer frequency means they can be easily identified and do not stand out.

However, despite the best efforts of users, advertisements are still effective. Most people ignore most ads most of the time. This is something that advertisers expect and build into their marketing budgets. These days marketing is the major source of earnings for the largest companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, because of more sophisticated targeted ads. Savvy marketers can sort through demographics and cross-test content for different audiences until they hone in on the most efficient advertising solutions. They can then replicate these ads and invest more money into the well-performing ones, with the financial justification coming from clicks and sales conversions. Advertising today, in reality, is far more effective than at any point in the past because of the raw data available to target potential consumers and the concrete feedback on succcessful ads.

In conclusion, despite the best efforts of ordinary citizens to circumvent advertising, technological innovations have given marketers more power than ever before. This portends badly for future generations and it is important that lawmakers enact regulations on marketers.

Analysis

1. There are those who would argue that advertising has become so pervasive, it hardly has any effect anymore. 2. In my opinion, while people have developed habits to ignore ads, they still achieve their desired effect on the whole.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Give a clear overall opinion.

1. The main argument against the power of ads is they can be avoided. 2. Online advertising is a good example of this. 3. Users rarely click on or even glance at a website’s combination of pop-up ads, banners, mailing list requests, and auto-playing video ads. 4. These have become so common that consumers have developed the unconscious practice of skipping ads on YouTube, quickly closing pop-ups and scrolling past in-page advertising. 5. Advertisers have tried to counter this by making their marketing less conspicuous, as with ads that resemble real posts on social media sites like Instagram, but their sheer frequency means they can be easily identified and do not stand out.

  1. Write a clear topic sentence with your main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea. You can vary long and short sentences.
  3. Support it with specific details.
  4. The more specific the better.
  5. Make sure that you relate it back to the overall essay topic of ads being everywhere and therefore less effective.

1. However, despite the best efforts of users, advertisements are still effective. 2. Most people ignore most ads most of the time. 3. This is something that advertisers expect and build into their marketing budgets. 4. These days markeing is the major source of earnings for the largest companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, because of more sophisticated targeted ads. 5. Savvy marketers can sort through demographics and cross-test content for different audiences until they hone in on the most efficient advertising solutions. 6. They can then replicate these ads and invest more money into the well-performing ones, with the financial justification coming from clicks and sales conversions. 7. Advertising today, in reality, is far more effective than at any point in the past because of the raw data available to target potential consumers and the concrete feedback on succcessful ads.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Continue to develop your main idea.
  4. Use specific examples and real companies if possible.
  5. Draw out the results from your examples.
  6. Continue to develop with specific ideas.
  7. Conclude with a strong sentence. This paragraph can be a little longer because it is the idea that you agree with.

1. In conclusion, despite the best efforts of ordinary citizens to circumvent advertising, technological innovations have given marketers more power than ever before. 2. This portends badly for future generations and it is important that lawmakers enact regulations on marketers.

  1. Summarise your main ideas and repeat your opinion.
  2. Add final thought/detail to get full marks from the IELTS examiner.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

There are those who would argue that advertising has become so pervasive, it hardly has any effect anymore. In my opinion, while people have developed habits to ignore ads, they still achieve their desired effect on the whole.

The main argument against the power of ads is they can be avoided. Online advertising is a good example of this. Users rarely click on or even glance at a website’s combination of pop-up ads, banners, mailing list requests, and auto-playing video ads. These have become so common that consumers have developed the unconscious practice of skipping ads on YouTube, quickly closing pop-ups and scrolling past in-page advertising. Advertisers have tried to counter this by making their marketing less conspicuous, as with ads that resemble real posts on social media sites like Instagram, but their sheer frequency means they can be easily identified and do not stand out.

However, despite the best efforts of users, advertisements are still effective. Most people ignore most ads most of the time. This is something that advertisers expect and build into their marketing budgets. These days marketing is the major source of earnings for the largest companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, because of more sophisticated targeted ads. Savvy marketers can sort through demographics and cross-test content for different audiences until they hone in on the most efficient advertising solutions. They can then replicate these ads and invest more money into the well-performing ones, with the financial justification coming from clicks and sales conversions. Advertising today, in reality, is far more effective than at any point in the past because of the raw data available to target potential consumers and the concrete feedback on succcessful ads.

In conclusion, despite the best efforts of ordinary citizens to circumvent advertising, technological innovations have given marketers more power than ever before. This portends badly for future generations and it is important that lawmakers enact regulations on marketers.

Answers

pervasive common

hardly barely

developed habits become accustomed to

ignore not pay attention to

desired effect what they want to happen

on the whole overall

avoided ignore

rarely click on don’t often open

glance at look at

combination mix

pop-up ads advertisements that appear on websites

banners ads on the sides and tops of websites

mailing list requests asking for your email

auto-playing video ads ads that play automatically

consumers customers

unconscious practice ingrained habit

skipping ads not watching ads

quickly closing pop-ups x-ing out of ads

scrolling past in-page advertising not looking at ads

counter fight against

less conspicuous not as obvious

resemble look like

sheer frequency great amount of

easily identified can be recongnised

stand out clear

despite the best efforts of regardless of trying

most of the time usually

expect anticipate

build into accoutn for

marketing budgets money for ads

these days nowadays

major source of earnings where they make most money

more sophisticated targeted ads complicated ways of sending out ads

savvy marketers smart advertisers

sort through demographics analyse groups of people

cross-test content send different content to different people to see if it works

audiences potential customer base

hone in on focus on

efficient advertising solutions good ways to advertise

replicate reproduce

well-performing ones ads that are working

financial justification makes sense because they make money

clicks opening ads

sales conversions finalising a purchase

in reality in fact

far more effective work better

any point in the past any time before

raw data available amount of information they have

target potential consumers send ads to specific groups/people

concrete feedback on succcessful ads clear results from their ads

ordinary citizens normal people

circumvent avoid

innovations new ideas

more power than ever before most effective now

portends badly looks bad for the future

lawmakers enact regulations politicians make laws about

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

pɜːˈveɪsɪv
ˈhɑːdli 
dɪˈvɛləpt ˈhæbɪts 
ɪgˈnɔː 
dɪˈzaɪəd ɪˈfɛkt 
ɒn ðə həʊl
əˈvɔɪdɪd
ˈreəli klɪk ɒn 
glɑːns æt 
ˌkɒmbɪˈneɪʃən 
ˈpɒpˌʌp ædz
ˈbænəz
ˈmeɪlɪŋ lɪst rɪˈkwɛsts
ˈɔːtəʊ-ˈpleɪɪŋ ˈvɪdɪəʊ ædz
kənˈsjuːməz 
ʌnˈkɒnʃəs ˈpræktɪs 
ˈskɪpɪŋ ædz 
ˈkwɪkli ˈkləʊzɪŋ ˈpɒpˌʌps 
ˈskrəʊlɪŋ pɑːst ɪn-peɪʤ ˈædvətaɪzɪŋ
ˈkaʊntə 
lɛs kənˈspɪkjʊəs
rɪˈzɛmbl 
ʃɪə ˈfriːkwənsi 
ˈiːzɪli aɪˈdɛntɪfaɪd 
stænd aʊt
dɪsˈpaɪt ðə bɛst ˈɛfəts ɒv 
məʊst ɒv ðə taɪm
ɪksˈpɛkt 
bɪld ˈɪntuː 
ˈmɑːkɪtɪŋ ˈbʌʤɪts
ðiːz deɪz 
ˈmeɪʤə sɔːs ɒv ˈɜːnɪŋz 
mɔː səˈfɪstɪkeɪtɪd ˈtɑːgɪtɪd ædz
ˈsævi ˈmɑːkɪtəz 
sɔːt θruː ˌdiːməˈgræfɪks 
krɒs-tɛst ˈkɒntɛnt 
ˈɔːdiənsɪz 
həʊn ɪn ɒn 
ɪˈfɪʃənt ˈædvətaɪzɪŋ səˈluːʃənz
ˈrɛplɪkeɪt 
wɛl-pəˈfɔːmɪŋ wʌnz
faɪˈnænʃəl ˌʤʌstɪfɪˈkeɪʃən 
klɪks 
seɪlz kənˈvɜːʃənz
ɪn ri(ː)ˈælɪti
fɑː mɔːr ɪˈfɛktɪv 
ˈɛni pɔɪnt ɪn ðə pɑːst 
rɔː ˈdeɪtə əˈveɪləbl 
ˈtɑːgɪt pəʊˈtɛnʃəl kənˈsjuːməz 
ˈkɒnkriːt ˈfiːdbæk ɒn succcessful ædz
ˈɔːdnri ˈsɪtɪznz 
ˌsɜːkəmˈvɛnt 
ˌɪnəʊˈveɪʃənz 
mɔː ˈpaʊə ðæn ˈɛvə bɪˈfɔː
pɔːˈtɛndz ˈbædli 
ˈlɔːˌmeɪkəz ɪˈnækt ˌrɛgjʊˈleɪʃənz 

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

There are those who would argue that advertising has become so p_______________e, it h__________y has any effect anymore. In my opinion, while people have d_____________________s to i___________e ads, they still achieve their d________________t o__________________e.

The main argument against the power of ads is they can be a_____________d. Online advertising is a good example of this. Users r__________________n or even g_______________t a website’s c_______________n of p________________s, b______________s, m_____________________s, and a__________________________s. These have become so common that c________________s have developed the u_______________________e of s_________________s on YouTube, q________________________s and s____________________________________________g. Advertisers have tried to c_____________r this by making their marketing l________________________s, as with ads that r________________e real posts on social media sites like Instagram, but their s______________________y means they can be e_____________________d and do not s_______________t.

However, d__________________________f users, advertisements are still effective. Most people ignore most ads m____________________e. This is something that advertisers e__________t and b____________o their m_______________________s. T______________s marketing is the m________________________s for the largest companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, because of m________________________________s. S__________________________s can s___________________________s and c______________________t for different a_______________s until they h_________________n the most e____________________________s. They can then r_______________e these ads and invest more money into the w________________________________s, with the f_______________________n coming from c__________s and s__________________________s. Advertising today, i___________________y, is f_____________________e than at a_______________________t because of the r______________________e to t__________________________s and the c__________________________________s.

In conclusion, despite the best efforts of o_____________________s to c____________________t advertising, technological i__________________s have given marketers m_____________________________e. This p___________________y for future generations and it is important that l_____________________________s on marketers.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Learn about the science of persuasion below:

Reading Practice

Read about target ads below in Wired:

https://www.wired.com/story/why-dont-we-just-ban-targeted-advertising/

Speaking Practice

Talk about the following topic of two minutes from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Talk about an advertisment you watched and will not forget.

Include:

What it was

Why you remember it

If you bough the product

Real IELTS Speaking Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic and then check with my sample answer:

Some believe that people will purchase a product based on their needs and advertising is not needed.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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