April 05, 2022

79% of Consumers Are Comfortable Seeing Contextual Than Behavioral Ads

Consumers have been exposed to both contextual and behavioral ads for the last few years. But which of these two types of ads do they prefer to see? A recent Harris Poll study commissioned by GumGum tried to understand this. The following article covers a few significant findings.

Consumers have been exposed to various types of online ads over the years, from banner ads to video ads and, with the growth in immersive technology, immersive ads. Most of these ads are either contextual — ads placed on web pages based on those pages’ content, or behavioral — ads displayed to consumers based on their web-browsing behavior using identifiers, such as third-party cookies.

But which of these types of advertisements do consumers prefer today? Harris Poll recently conducted a study commissioned by GumGum to understand the kind of online ads the audience preferred to see. Further, the study also tried to gauge consumers’ feelings about their browsing history being used to serve them ads.

The following are the key findings from the study.

More Consumers Prefer Contextual Ads

About 65% of respondents said they would be more tempted to buy from online ads relevant to the web page they were currently viewing. Compared to this, only 35% said they would be tempted to purchase from an ad based on the content they had viewed in the last month.

Further, older adults (age 55+) were more likely to say an online ad relevant to the web page would tempt them to make a purchase. On the other hand, younger adults (age 18-34) were more likely to say they would be tempted to make a purchase from an ad based on the content they had seen in the last 30 days than contextual ads.

Breaking down the findings further, it was noted that about 79% of consumers were more comfortable seeing contextual ads than behavioral ads. People between the ages of 35 and 44 (84%) were more likely than those between 18 and 34 (76%) and 45 and 54 (75%) to feel this way.

Most Consumers Are Uncomfortable With Ads That Require Personal Data

When respondents were asked how comfortable they were seeing ads that did not require their personal data, about 80% said they were more open to seeing such ads. A majority of consumers (66%) said that they were uncomfortable with businesses and brands tracking their browsing history to show them personalized ads.

Women were more likely than men to feel uncomfortable with ads tracking their browsing history (70% vs. 61%). Further, adults aged 55+ were more likely than younger adults to say they were uncomfortable with brands tracking their browsing history.

When asked how they feel when brands use their browsing history and habits to serve personalized ads, about 38% of the respondents said they felt creeped out, and 31% said they felt violated. Only about 24% felt indifferent to it, 11% felt catered to, and 10% felt special.

Adults aged 55+ were more likely to say they felt violated than younger adults. Adults aged 18-44 were more likely to say they felt catered to than adults aged 45+ (17% vs. 7%). Men were more likely to say they felt catered to than women (14% vs. 9%). They were also more likely to say they felt special (12% vs. 8%).

Our Take

While people prefer to see ads that are personalized and relevant to them, they are wary about sharing their personally identifiable information (PII) with brands. As this and several other studies, such as the one from Global Witness, show, people also feel that brands collecting personal information and previous browsing habits and behaviors to deliver personalized ads is creepy.

So, how can brands deliver personalized ads without making consumers uncomfortable? As many experts and studies have said, there are a few ways brands can do this.

  • Use contextual ads: As the study shows, more consumers are comfortable and even tempted to make purchases by seeing contextual ads than behavioral ads, as the former do not collect the audience’s personal details. These ads are also gaining prominence as big tech companies, such as Google and Apple, have started withdrawing support for third-party cookies.

  • Use first-party data: With companies removing support for third-party cookies, we are looking at the eventual demise of third-party identifiers. This means that companies will have to depend more on first-party and zero-party data they collect directly from customers with their consent to serve them ads. The advantage here is that companies can serve more relevant ads to their customers with first- and zero-party data.

  • Build trust: If brands want consumers to share their personal information with them, they should first establish trust. This involves being transparent with consumers about how brands collect data and what they intend to do with that data. A recent Jebbit study showed that transparency and strategy in collecting consumer data build brand trust.

Taking these steps will not only help brands deliver personalized ads that do not make customers uncomfortable but also increase brand trust among consumers and the likelihood of a positive response to the ads.

Copyright 2022 Toolbox. All rights reserved. From https://www.toolbox.com. By Karthik Kashyap.

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