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The privacy and personalisation debate, resolved

There’s been a lot written about ‘creepy’ retargeting ads that ‘follow’ people around the internet and although there is negativity about this type of advertising, it’s proven to work. Not only is this type of advertising effective, research we conducted into online consumer behaviour and attitudes to online shopping revealed that 49% of people like to receive advertising that is relevant to them. In fact, 45% said that being approached with relevant offers makes them like a brand.

The findings from our Digital Connections study, which sampled 4,493 consumers aged between 16 and 64 in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland, suggests that if advertisers were using retargeting responsibly and effectively the industry wouldn’t be facing consumer backlash.

European consumers online advertising preferencesConsumers reject brands that serve irrelevant or too many ads

Why does retargeting annoy consumers?

If you’re a consumer and you’ve been retargeted with the same ad 20 times and still haven’t purchased the product or service, common sense suggests that you’re probably not going to convert no matter how many times you’re shown the ad. Another annoying scenario occurs when a consumer has gone on to purchase the product after being served a retargeting ad, but continues to be retargeted with the same ad. It’s this type of rudimentary retargeting that is annoying consumers and giving online ads a bad press.

Of course consumers will never love receiving advertising, but a balance needs to be achieved between privacy and personalisation. Our study revealed that 43% of European adults don’t mind giving their personal details in return for a relevant offer; if consumers feel like they are benefiting from sharing their data the relationship between the consumer and advertiser is harmonious.

However, more interesting from an advertisers’ point of view, 49% of consumers reject brands that bombard them with too much or irrelevant advertising and 39% consider their privacy compromised if advertising follows them between websites. It is clear that advertisers need to get their ad strategy right, targeting the right people at the right time, to avoid potentially irritating their future customers.

Consumers feel their privacy has been compromised when…

Privacy research stats - what makes consumers feel their privacy has been compromised

We know that consumers want to receive advertising that is relevant and 36% of the consumers surveyed said they are more likely to buy from a business that sends them tailored messages.

How to effectively and ethically target consumers with ads

  1. Frequency capping: our research confirms that capping the amount of times a consumer sees the same ad is key. Showing the same ad over and over again annoys the consumer and wastes ad budget.
  2. Respect customer data: European consumers stated that they don’t mind sharing their personal information with brands they trust, but they are concerned about this information being misused. Make clear why you are collecting the data you are requesting from your customers and how it will be used.
  3. Relevancy is king: consumers want to receive personalised ads and like brands that get their advertising strategy right. Complex targeting is therefore required to ensure brands are targeting the right people. Using a combination of unique first party behavioural data and machine learning, like our programmatic solution TD ENGAGE, makes sure advertisers are targeting the right people with the right ads at the right time and on the right device.

If you’d like to find out more about how we’re working with leading European brands to optimise their online advertising with precision targeting using our machine learning and artificial intelligence, get in touch.