Targeted Or Random; How Do You Like Your Ads?

According to a new study by Zogby Analytics for the Digital Advertising Alliance, 40.5% of respondents chose targeted ads, while another 27.6% were content to see both. Only 16.1% preferred random ads, with 15.8% unsure. Separate results from the DAA survey indicate that 47.3% of respondents are opposed to a law that “restricted how data is used for online advertising, but also potentially reduced the availability of free content such as blogs and video sites.”

Opposition to such a law, says the report, is possibly due more to potential reduction of free content rather than restrictions on the use of data. In the study, 9 in 10 respondents said that free content like news, weather, email, blogs and videos are either extremely (68.7%) or somewhat (28.6%) important to the overall value of the internet. 75.4% of respondents would rather get free ad-supported content, compared to 9.3% who would rather pay for ad-free content.

Importance of Free Content To The Overall Value Of The Internet


% of Respondents





Somewhat unimportant


Completely unimportant


Source: Zogby Analytics, April 2013

Almost 6 in 10 respondents said an online ad had at some point helped them find an offer or product they wouldn’t otherwise have known about. When asked “... has an Internet ad ever helped you find an offer or product that you wouldn’t otherwise have known about?...” 58.5% said yes, 25.8%, no,  and 15.7% said “... not sure.”

42.1% of respondents reported having purchased a product because they saw or clicked on an online ad, but that was fewer than the 46.3% who said they had never done so. The remainder were unsure. And 50.2% reported saving money or time  because of an Online advertisement, though 37.2% said “no.”

Preference For Internet Ads For Random/Generic Products And Services, Or Ads For Products And Services That Reflect Personal Interests


% of Respondents

Ad directed towards my interests


Ads for random products and services




Not sure


Source: Zogby Analytics, April 2013

3 in 4 believe they should be the ones making choices about what sorts of ads they see and how they’re generated, while 11.3% feel the company that makes their browser software should choose. 9.4% think the government should choose. Concurrently, 61.5% don’t trust the government to trust how internet advertising is delivered, while 17.8% do.

Identity theft is respondents’ biggest concern about the Internet, followed by viruses and malware

  • Identy theft   38.7%
  • Viruses and malware   33.5
  • Government surveillance   12.3
  • Behaviorally targeted advertising   4.4

41.1% of respondents believe that if a major internet browser were to make it harder for companies to display advertising to users, the impact will be that they will have access to less free content. A similar proportion, though, believe that it either wouldn’t have any effect (27.8%) or that it would result in access to more free content (8.7%).

About the Data: The poll allows for a margin of error of +/- 3.2% points.

For additional information and access to the complete PDF report including charts and graphs, please contact Zogby Analytics here.



3 comments about "Targeted Or Random; How Do You Like Your Ads?".
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  1. Mike Einstein from the Brothers Einstein, May 8, 2013 at 9:36 a.m.

    This is a perfect example of what happens when you ask the wrong question first. The right first question should have been: Do you want more ads? Had this right question been asked 20 years ago, we wouldn't still be chasing our own long tails looking for the wrong answers.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, May 8, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.

    targeted? So you can sell me to the highest bidder and work for them while I still work for you ? You own me ?

  3. Anne Decabooter from Booter, Inc., May 9, 2013 at 11:02 a.m.

    It is a shame this is still such a debate over whether or not user privacy should be considered through advertising. When people are willingly putting out anything and everything about themselves on the Internet: what they did over the weekend, what they ate, when their birthday is, what their 3 little numbers on the back of their credit card, who they think is the worst politician, the list goes on.

    Yet the unwillingness for that information to help better the user's Internet experience and provide relevant information at the right time - it's just an excuse for lawmakers to make it sound like they are working for their constituents.

    It's kind of like Spotify versus Pandora. You can either get stuck listening only to the songs you already know, or you can chose a station that will allow you to be introduced to artists you might not already know. And some days - you want one over the other - but what you hear on Pandora is at least based on raising your hand for a specific preference - providing some sort of basis for the selections played.

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