Displaying a heightened level of awareness, most Web surfers -- 78.2% -- recall seeing online ads they assumed were tailored to them based on previous visits to advertiser sites. And among that majority, more than a third didn't like the ads, according to a new report from online ad rep Burst Media, which surveyed more than 1,600 U.S. adults on late November. Indeed, 34.2% of respondents who recalled seeing so-called "dynamic ads" said they disliked them, compared to just over a quarter -- 27.7% -- who said they did.
Meanwhile, the majority -- or 38.1% -- said they had no opinion on the ads.
"With ubiquitous media coverage and government attention towards Internet privacy and security, consumers are more aware than ever that what they do online may be tracked in one form or another," said David Stein, Chief Technology Officer at Burst Media.
Among respondents who expressed disdain for dynamic ads, 54.9% called them "annoying and distracting."
Among other reasons, 38.2% said the ads featured products they had no interest in; 33.4% said such ad targeting infringes on their privacy; while similarly, 27.5% didn't like how the ads followed them around the Web.
The study also found considerable differences between age segments and perceptions of dynamic ads: one-third -- 35.2% -- of respondents ages 18-34 years "like" dynamic ads compared to one-quarter -- 25.1% -- of respondents ages 35-54 years, and just 16.7% of respondents 55 or older.
For the most part, dynamic ads have little impact on a consumer's opinion about the specific company and/or product being advertised, Burst concluded.
Overall, only 17.4% of respondents say they have a better impression of the company or product as a result of seeing a dynamic ad after a previous visit to the advertiser's Web site, and 10.9% have a worse opinion.
Still, "online advertisers can respond by ensuring their messages are relevant to their target audience," added Stein. "When a consumer sees an advertising message at the right place, at the right time and in the most relevant context, brands are best positioned to instill trust and action."
Also of note, men are significantly more likely than women -- 23.2% vs. 11.6% -- to have a better impression of a company or product after seeing an ad tailored to them based on a previous visit to the advertiser's Web site.
Surprising to Burst, more than one-quarter -- 28.4% -- of respondents said they would not mind if a Web site tracked and stored non-personally identifiable information if it meant they would see advertising more relevant to their interests.
Still, nearly one-half -- 47.9% -- of respondents say they object, while men are much more likely than women to approve of a website.