Brands at risk of over-targeting

A new report from Kantar has found that over half of UK consumers are feeling apathetic about advertising, with nearly three-quarters being exposed to the same ads repeatedly. The Dimension study was based on responses given by 5,000 consumers from five markets that had an ad spend of $352bn combined. The study found that 55% of consumers felt totally apathetic towards advertising, with 56% feeling tired of over-targeting. Just 11% of those surveyed said they enjoyed advertising. There are fears that brands could be damaging their reputations by over-targeting their customers.

Responsible data use

Brands are being advised to use data more responsibly if they are to win back the trust of their customers. They are being encouraged to blend niche targeting with mass marketing strategies to create a more helpful and enjoyable experience for consumers. 22% of consumers in the UK have been using ad-blocking software to avoid online advertising, with other measures also being used to reduce exposure to marketing content.

Audiences avoiding ads

36% of those subscribing to on-demand TV and video content services say they are doing this to avoid advertising content. This is a rise of 5% from 2018. Audiences are becoming increasingly proactive when it comes to reducing their exposure to advertising, which is leading marketing organisations to seek out new ways to create impactful, engaging content that doesn’t risk alienating audiences. It’s also important to think about the context in which ads were shown. The Kantar report found that 41% of respondents trusted ads more when they appeared on trusted brands’ websites, with 48% more likely to approve of an ad if it features on one of their favourite platforms.

Reassuring findings

The study was not all bad news for the advertising and marketing industry. 44% said they enjoyed ads that are relevant to them, with 45% saying ads tailored towards them were more interesting than those which were not. 61% said they preferred to view ads which were relevant to their specific interests. The Dimension study is the third in consecutive years.

Research from other sources

Edelman’s trust barometer said advertising now had less trust amongst customers than industries including banking, telecommunications and energy, with a level of just 37%. The Advertising Association recently found that public favourability in advertising had plummeted to 25% last year, almost three decades after it stood at approximately 50%. Brands now need to reduce the frequency of ads, avoid bombarding their customers with repetitive messages and cut down on retargeting in order to improve the reputation of the industry.

What can be taken from the research

Kantar Media’s CEO Mark Inskip said brands needed to use data more responsibly in order to regain the trust of their customers. He said they should adopt an “integrated approach” and incorporate “verified first-party data into their approach” to create “a complete picture of the total consumer journey across all media.” Experts are also advising brands to avoid misleading their customers, setting videos to autoplay and not to dumb things down for their audiences. Advertisers who are accused of talking down to their audiences are urged to take another look at buyer personas to discover how they want really want to be addressed.

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