Benchmarks Shift As Advertisers Take Aim Online

Despite narrower, more focused online campaigns, fewer ad impressions are hitting their target, according to Nielsen.

Fifty-nine percent of ad impressions served across all consumer segments reach their intended audience — down from 69% in 2013, according to a recent analysis of Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings data. This change correlates with a shift toward narrower, more focused campaign audiences — evidenced by a change in the amount of site observations in each demographic zone.

One thing that’s clear from looking at online behavior across consumer groups — men and women from teens to Boomers — is that every demographic is different. This makes it more difficult to reach some consumers than others. It also makes perfect ad campaign delivery an ongoing challenge for marketers, according to Nielsen.

“In our most recent look at online ad campaign results, we see that campaigns are evolving to become more focused, and as a result, we’re seeing shifts in on-target percentages,” said Randall Beard, global head, advertiser solutions, in a release. “As the industry changes, so does the definition of success. We update these benchmarks around the dynamic media landscape so that media buyers can maximize return on investment by evaluating their partner and placement strategy throughout the campaign cycle, and consider how the changing environment might influence their strategy."

Demographic zones that are broader (as opposed to more focused on a specific segment) and generally have higher rates of reach their intended audience than the others, represented 36% of site observations (each instance of a Web site or ad network appearing within a campaign) in 2014, down from 40% in 2013.

The on-target percentage of campaigns aiming to reach females, regardless of age groups, declined over the past year. The biggest change was an 8% drop among females ages 35-64. The largest overall change occurred among persons 35-54 — down 25 percentage points to 38%.

The number of campaigns aiming to reach this valuable demographic segment increased significantly (nearly five times) between 2013 and 2014. In comparison, the average number of campaigns aiming to reach other demographic segments roughly doubled.

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