Keeping advertising on the right side of the line

Our DIMENSION 2020 study uncovers the central dilemma at the heart of personalising advertising content – the fine line between relevance and an unwelcome pursuit.
04 August 2020
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John McCarthy

Strategic Content Director, Media Division

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Addressable advertising online brings greater opportunity to target the right message to the right person. But there’s a fine line between relevance and an unwelcome pursuit.

Excessive frequency and inaccurate retargeting can turn consumers off and reflect negatively on an advertiser.

Consumers can find advertising intrusive

Over half of the connected consumers (54%) we spoke to in our DIMENSION 2020 study agree that it’s intrusive when they receive advertising as a result of their past online activity.  Connected consumers aged 65+ are more likely than younger age groups to be concerned about their online behaviours being used to target them.

Chart 1

But younger audiences desire relevance

The consumers we spoke to are from eight markets that represent  $400 billion of global advertising spend. Whilst there’s no overwhelming vote for or against relevance when it’s based on online browsing activity, we do find that the younger the connected consumer, the more they’re in favour of relevance.

Chart 2

Our analysis at a market level found that consumers in China and Brazil are most likely to claim they appreciate relevant advertising based on their online activity. On the other hand those in the European markets surveyed tend not to be so appreciative. Analysis at a country level is available from the full report here.

Consumers generally welcome relevant advertising, but those aged 35+ are concerned about how that relevance is achieved. Any privacy concerns the 18-34 age group may have are set aside when weighed up against the perceived benefits of more relevant advertising.

Advertisers face a real dilemma between increasing relevance and avoiding intrusiveness. Getting that balance wrong can mean overstepping a very fine line.

Data can fuel great advertising. But it must be collected and used with care. Ignoring consumer concerns and the consumer take-out can have very negative repercussions.

Discover our full report which uncovers considerations for brands and their agencies seeking to reach consumers and engage with them. It examines where data can best be leveraged in the pursuit of delivering better advertising.

Editor’s Notes

Find out more about the fieldwork here.

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