LEAP Panel — Targeted Advertising and Consumer Preferences

As marketers, we know amplifying your content and hyper-targeting your message is the future of reaching audiences.  We see the value here and are all aboard the train as this granular approach to marketing takes off. 

We were thinking, though, are consumers just as excited about the direction advertising is headed as we are to tailor content? When they view a pair of boots online, and even go as far as to put them in a virtual shopping cart, is it a pleasant surprise to see the same boots in an ad just minutes later as a reminder that you can’t/shouldn’t live without them?  We utilized our LEAP Panel to find out.

Overall, a little over half of our respondents are fine with advertisements in general (63 percent.) Some would prefer not to see ads at all, with 59 percent going as far as using an ad blocker software.

For being served ads, they prefer email, with TV and social media being a close second. Younger demographics skewed more toward the digital channels.  

Knowing this, we asked when customers first realized they are receiving hyper-targeted ads — and the popular responses all centered around digital. Banner ads and targeted ads followed by email were all high on the list of tactics that resonate with consumers. They tend to notice ads more here and tune out TV.

Interestingly enough, while consumers notice banner ads frequently, they are less likely to cause a conversion and influence behavior.  With a narrow margin, a banner ads scored a 2.5 out of 5, in terms of people taking an action based on a banner ad they have seen. The glaring result is that targeted advertising scored the highest in terms of producing an action or influencing a behavior — meaning relating to your customers based on their behavior is actually working.

We found people are driven by their wallets and less by a strong call-to-action.  Our panel found it more motivating to respond to a targeted ad when it revealed pricing or discounted information, rather than an urgency message.

What’s a key takeaway?

Marketers are ahead of consumers in terms of targeting advertisements in a way that puts the right message in front of the right people, but not by much.  The “Spray and Pray” method of broad-based traditional media still has its place and, according to our panel, 48 percent of people really enjoy having an ad delivered to them randomly.  There is room for targeted, too. And as the industry keeps developing digital ways to get you the best ROI and reaching YOUR customers based on history and behavior, more of those boots may be flying off your online shelves.