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Retargeted ads make consumers ‘angry’

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Retargeted online ads, in which an advert is shown to internet users based on surfing behaviour, were shown to be interesting to consumers – but only to a certain extent.

However. according to a study from InSkin Media and RAPP media, this may not be the case. Although 53 per cent said that online ads were “initially interesting”, they said the more the same ad was repeated, the more irritating it became.

The results of the study were that four times as many customers felt encouraged to buy a product if the retargeted ad appeared during their research process – the time they spent looking for a product in the category advertised to them.

However, an ad seen five times and up after the research process was completed was seen as ‘annoying’ or ‘intrusive’, according to the survey. If the ad was shown ten times, they became ‘angry’.

The potential customers are then 15 per cent less likely to purchase the product.

Paul Phillips, RAPP’s head of media strategy, said: “The retargeting-genie is certainly out of the bottle, but it’s a fine line to tread as brands potentially lose control through a perfect storm of increased automated buying and the spectre of consumer cookie deletion. Marketers and planners are negligent if they don’t devote more careful planning around frequency caps and other contextual filters before letting the maths men hit the send button.”

However, relevance made a big difference to purchasing behaviour. Ads seen on websites which related to their content – like an add for hotels on a travel website – were 40 per cent more likely to be received positively. 

And ads which appear on unrelated sites were eleven times more likely to discourage a purchase.

Hugo Drayton, InSkin Media’s CEO, said: “Along with understanding ‘how often’ and ‘when’, advertisers must pay more attention to ‘where’ – a big issue in programmatic buying. Ads perform better on premium, trusted or contextually relevant sites.

“As with too much repetition, ads served next to irrelevant content may have a negative impact on consumer purchase intent.”

Finally, the survey identified that 69 per cent were concerned about advertisers knowing the websites they visit, something it was shown they valued almost as much as knowledge of their home address. 23 per cent were unaware that advertisers collected their personal information.

Drayton comments: “The industry got carried away with retargeting. It’s a powerful tool but it needs to be qualified by more thought and action to ensure it’s used effectively. As an industry we risk alienating a generation of consumers. Online advertising is hugely powerful and positive, as long as it is used intelligently.”

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