The Perils Of Repeatedly Retargeting

The more a consumer gets targeted by one message on television, the more that consumer loses respect for the brand and the message. The same occurs online. Some 55% of consumers put off buying products or services if they see the same ad run online multiple times, according to a study in which InSkin Media and RAPP Media commissioned ResearchNow to recruit and survey a panel of more than 1,600 U.K. adults.

Take, for example, the Ad Council's message on using the Internet. The public service announcement would run four times back to back. We all like to see the right message at the right time and place, but when it reaches a point where it just feels too many times, we feel the brand no longer respects our time. Through sheer repetition, there comes a point where "you are in my face and I don't like it," as described by the InSkin Media and RAPP Media study.

Consumers have become more aware of retargeting practices, per the study's findings. Some consumers see value in viewing an abundance of ads during their research process, but many are deterred by the "sledgehammer" approach.  The research reveals three key areas for concern: excessive frequency of ad impressions; over-familiarity of personal information; and lack of appropriate context -- as when a consumer is served the wrong message.



Some 17% of consumers participating in the survey said they had clicked on an ad to seek more information about an advertiser in the last seven days, and 20% had clicked and bought something in the last month. About 40% had visited a retailer's Web site after seeing a digital ad in the last month alone.

The study also reveals that nearly 80% are fully aware that advertisers collect information with a view to targeting advertising to them. This same percentage knows about browser cookies, and fully understands their function. Only 1% has never heard of cookies. At some point 60% have deleted cookies from their browser to prevent retargeting.

The research reveals 53% initially find online ads interesting and useful, but that they become more irritating the more they are repeated. So how much is too much?

One-third of respondents still use positive words to describe the retargeting experience with a frequency of three ads. Raise that frequency to 4 or 5 views of one ad and the positive feeling drops by half, with more than half claiming the ads are annoying or intrusive.

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