Are your digital ads engaging or Intrusive? It depends who you’re targeting

May 31, 2018
Industry News
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Digital ad spend continues to rise, and is forecast to top $203bn in 2018 (GroupM, 2017). Yet despite continuing growth, many senior marketers from the most valuable global brands lack confidence in digital advertising’s ability to truly deliver against its great promise: to create seamless, personalised experiences online, in the crucial moments that matter between people and brands.

And perhaps this lack of confidence is justified: most people feel they are being bombarded with increasingly intrusive messages. And while that criticism is aimed at advertising as a whole, the consensus is that poorly executed digital advertising is driving the trend.

How can marketers ensure that their campaigns cut through across an ever-expanding choice of channels, without alienating people along the way?

A new approach to targeting

This article combines expertise from Kantar TNS and Kantar Millward Brown to better understand how people’s online behaviour affects their attitude towards advertising. The results are enlightening: they demonstrate how a person’s level of connectedness and activity online significantly affects how they respond to advertising – and therefore how (and how often) brands should target them.

Are brands telling better stories? Activity matters

As one would expect, the more active a person is online, the more ads they’re exposed to. They are also more likely to recognise and appreciate the better storytelling that is enabled by new ad formats and better integrated multimedia campaigns. This group, who see the most ads, are twice as likely to say that their opinion of brands is improved by multimedia campaigns. In contrast, people that are less active online are almost twice as likely to find multimedia campaigns irritating and overwhelming.

The digital challenge and opportunity

While poorly executed digital strategies have no doubt contributed to some negative opinions, brands shouldn’t suddenly reverse their digital investment plans. On average, digital advertising provides a more cost-effective way to build brands than traditional media– it just needs to be applied in a more thoughtful way. Marketers need to refine their understanding of their audience, tailoring their targeting more precisely to people’s preferences.

A driver of success: levels of social and digital engagement

Understanding your audience’s level of online engagement will tell you not just how much advertising they see on average, but more importantly where they are likely to see it, what they expect from campaigns, and how they are likely to respond.

Taking advantage of these insights

There are three simple ways marketers can start to build these insights into their strategies.

1. Integrate for everyone: integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands, yet our research found that one in four campaigns are not well integrated. Align your content seamlessly across each platform and format to ensure each piece tells part of the same coherent story. Many campaign cues are similarly effective across audience groups. Everyone expects multichannel campaigns to deliver basic connective elements or hygiene factors like the same logo, slogan, message and story.

However, the most active online users are more demanding, also expecting campaigns to include consistent, and appealing characters or personalities. The most notable differences are that they also like consistent use of website addresses and social media hashtags. So, these digital integration techniques can help improve impact... but you shouldn’t rely on these exclusively if your target audience is more diverse.

2. Be selective: brands need to define a clear role for online media by identifying and targeting people in the moments that matter, bearing in mind that acceptable frequency will vary according to how different people use social and digital media.

3. Customize appropriately: your less active audiences are primarily concerned with wanting online videos to be short and to cut to the chase. In contrast, those who are most active online tend to see the value in more sophisticated customization, which goes beyond simply shortening or re-editing a TV ad.

The sophistication of your target audience therefore dictates the amount and type of customization you should invest in.

To conclude…

To deliver on digital’s promise of creating seamless and personalised experiences online, marketers must take a more calculated approach to the integration, customization, and placement of their content. This means tailoring campaigns to the particular preferences of their target audience, based on an understanding of their level of online activity and engagement. In this increasingly connected world, identifying the moments when people are receptive to your content will be key to getting ahead.

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About Kantar TNS
Kantar TNS is one of the world’s largest research agencies with experts in over 90 countries. With expertise in innovation, brand and communication, shopper activation and customer relationships we help our clients identify, optimise and activate the moments that matter to drive growth for their business.
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