May 17, 2016

Marketing Research Chart: How likely are consumers to click on personalized ads?

SUMMARY: With personalization becoming an expectation rather than a "nice to have," marketers now face the challenge of providing relevant offers to a customer base that is still reluctant to share personal information.

This week, we look at how likely consumers are to click on personalized ads, and how willing they are to share different types of personal information.
by Dr. Liva LaMontagne , Editorial Research Manager

There's no arguing with the fact that customers expect relevant offers from marketers. However, customers also hold some privacy concerns about disclosing their personal information.

This week, we look at consumers' likelihood to click on personalized ads, and the willingness of different demographic groups to share their personal data.


From April 6-7, 2016, Adlucent conducted an online survey with 529 U.S. consumers on their attitudes toward personalized advertising, and their likelihood to click on different types of ads.

According to the study, 71% of consumers said they would prefer ads tailored to their personalized interests and shopping habits, with the biggest perceived benefits being:
  • Reduced irrelevant advertising (46%)

  • A way to discover new products that they may not have otherwise learned about (25%)

  • It makes online searching and shopping faster and easier (19%)

However, the superior likelihood of personalized ads to attract clicks varied depending on whether the personalized ads were about a brand or product that consumers were familiar with or not.

The percentage of people who said they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to click on a general ad about a product/brand they know (57%) was slightly higher than the percentage that said they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to click on a personalized ad tailored to their preferences or shopping habits about a product/brand they do not know (50%).

Also, offering a discount is likely to strongly affect the likelihood that an ad will attract clicks, regardless of personalization. A notable 83% of respondents said they were "somewhat likely" or "very likely" to click an ad that offered a discount or promotion.

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Since consumers can be reluctant to disclose personal information, despite wanting personalized communication, how can marketers apply these findings to create more effective personalized advertising? Michael Griffin, CEO, Adlucent, offered the following three points of advice.

Know what type of information your customers are willing to share

Griffin shared that 44% of consumers are willing to share some type of personal information. However, the willingness to share varies greatly by type of information.

He listed the following types of information from most to least percent of people willing to share:
  • 50% of those willing to disclose personal information said they would provide feedback on categories of products that were most interesting to them

  • 42% would provide their age

  • 34% would provide email

  • 33% would provide feedback on recent purchases

  • 24% would provide their name

  • 17% would provide their marital status

  • 8% would provide information on major life events, such as weddings, buying a new home or having a baby

  • 8% would provide household income

  • 3% would provide their home address

  • 2% would provide their credit card information

Know your audience demographics

Griffin shared that there are some significant demographic differences in the willingness to share personal data. Namely, women and Gen Xers were more willing to provide feedback on categories of products that were interesting to them, at 55% and 63% compared to the average 50%.

At 47%, men were least likely to share that information, followed by millennials at 48%. Women were also most likely to provide feedback on past purchases, at 36% compared to 32% of surveyed men.

Compared to their baby boomer (37%) or Gen X (39%) counterparts, millennials were more willing to share their age at 46%.

The younger generation of consumers was also more willing to share feedback on past purchases (33%) vs Gen Xers (27%). But Gen Xers were almost twice as likely to share household income than millennials, and three times more likely than boomers.

Gen Xers were also more likely to share their email address (41%), compared to millennials (31%).

Communicate the value of sharing personal information

Griffin advised that storefront staff and online teams need to be explicit about the value consumers will receive when they share personal information. He explained that providing offers and discounts in exchange for an email or mailing address can drive consumer action.

He added that consumers should have a clear understanding of what type of communication they'll receive from brands. A confirmation or thank you email after signing up for the mailing list is a great opportunity to include a list of communications consumers can expect from you.

When asked about his vision of where the field or personalized marketing is headed, Griffin mentioned a world free of unwanted advertising, seamlessly connecting consumers with the products and services that interest them. Marketers now have the opportunity to access an amazing amount of data that can help them personalize the shopping experience for each individual customer.

On the other hand, Griffin mentioned that, according to IBM, 80% of this data is unstructured and unused, and this percentage is projected to grow.

"Fortunately, there are many data management providers and demand-side advertising platforms who are helping to alleviate some of the burden," he said. "But we still have miles to go before marketers are interpreting and utilizing all of the data they own to create a truly personalized shopping experience for consumers."

Related Resources

Subscribe to MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week — Get data and discoveries delivered to your inbox

How consumers view personalized advertising [Adlucent research report]

Ecommerce Chart: The most effective types of personalized product recommendations [MarketingSherpa chart]

B2C Marketing: Video app uses behavioral data to increase message engagement 171% [MarketingSherpa case study]

Personality Matters: How one company doubled its ROI by customizing ads based on personality [MarketingExperiments blog]

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