A new eMarketer report shows that many consumers don’t like personalized ads as much as marketers believe they do. We discuss!

Have It Your Way

eMarketer’s Amy He writes an excellent piece on recent customer skepticism regarding personalized ads. In particular, she claims that while research does show that personalized ads work, some consumers may be feeling like personalization isn’t making ads any better.

He speaks with Nicole Perrin, principal analyst at eMarketer. Her research found that marketers believe that customers really do want that personalization. In fact, Perrin argues that the marketers she spoke with think it is the “bare minimum…for successful targeting.”

“Marketers, especially digital marketers, love data and the promise of optimization it holds,” Perrin told He. “And many report a lift in engagement, conversions or other behaviors they’re trying to drive, based on tailoring relevant messages. But while a 1-point lift for a marketer may be a result worth celebrating, it doesn’t necessarily mean consumers are perceiving those messages as personalized and highly relevant.”

The Numbers

Interestingly, a March 2019 study from Periscope By McKinsey found a few observations about US internet users:

  • With regard to which personalized content was most appealing, no answer garnered a majority of responses.
  • 50% of respondents said that products related to their interests were appealing.
  • However, only four responses were appealing to at least one-third of respondents.
  • 52% said they would prefer personalized messages from restaurants and bars, but no other business category appealed to the majority of respondents.

“Consumers have been less than impressed by ad and other message relevance, despite marketers’ data-driven efforts,” Perrin said. “As they’ve become more aware of the personal data collection that underpins marketing personalization and targeted advertising, they’ve also started indicating they’re not sure it’s worth handing over their personal information in exchange for relevance.”

Finally, respondents gave answers about the ethical nature of personalized ads. Only 17% said that tracking online activity to tailor advertisements was ethical.

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