Missed Opportunities in Online Advertising

Marketers must use consumer insight to develop relevant, personalized online advertising techniques that deliver great experiences without crossing privacy boundaries.

The overwhelming majority of consumers now spend much of their time online. From shopping to social networks, many aspects of the physical world are now present and popular in the virtual. But, when it comes to advertising, consumers still see digital methods as unsuccessful and invasive, while marketers often neglect the powerful customer data at their fingertips and the opportunities such insight offers.

According to a global study commissioned by Adobe Systems Incorporated, marketers across industries continue to miss the chance to engage consumers in ways that nurture brand affinity. Conducted by Edelman Berland, the "Click Here: The State of Online Advertising" report explores the current state of online advertising. Researchers polled 8,750 consumers and 1,750 marketers in seven countries, including the United States, Asia-Pacific (Japan, Australia, and South Korea), and Europe (United Kingdom, Germany, and France), to examine how both ends of the spectrum view the marketing profession in an age of technological development.

The following statistics highlight how global consumers and marketers perceive the effectiveness of online marketing today:

  • Online advertising remains ineffective according to 32 percent of consumers and 21 percent of marketers polled. Specifically, both consumers (49 percent) and marketers (36 percent) find banner ads particularly invasive and manipulative, underlining the worst qualities of advertising.
  • Print and TV advertising score the highest when it comes to credibility and effectiveness among consumers (94 percent) and marketers (91 percent) across all regions.
  • In Asia-Pacific, only 34 percent of consumers and 24 percent of marketers consider text message ads to be annoying, while U.S. (consumers, 62 percent; marketers, 59 percent) and European (consumers, 62 percent; marketers, 57 percent) respondents are less attuned to the practice.
  • One-third of those polled agree that personalized product and service recommendations add value to their on-site experience. Of those, 74 percent of U.S., 63 percent of Asia-Pacific, and 71 percent of European respondents feel comfortable with targeted advertising based on their behaviors. However, the majority (86 percent, U.S.; 60 percent, Europe; 55 percent, Asia-Pacific) believes being asked to share personal information, such as their government-issued ID number, crosses the line and jeopardizes comfort and privacy.
  • While the marketing profession consistently ranks as one of least valuable positions in society, consumers (24 percent) and marketers (47 percent) in Asia-Pacific are most likely to view the profession in a positive light. However, though marketers across the U.S. (45 percent), Europe (28 percent), and Asia-Pacific (25 percent), agree that marketing primarily helps inform consumers on brands, products, and services, marketers in Asia-Pacific also believe the profession educates (15 percent) and reflects and shapes cultures (14 percent).
  • In the U.S., consumers typically "like" brands they regularly buy (53 percent) or that offer promotions (46 percent), while consumers in Asia-Pacific (33 percent) and Europe (26 percent) "like" brands based on aspirations and brand personality (40 percent).

Key takeaway: Though technology opens marketers up to an ever-evolving world of insight, many have yet to fully embrace the opportunities this data offers. Primarily, marketers must use this information to drive and deliver relevant experiences that make the customer feel worthwhile. Just as consumers hope to derive value from any given brand, most find comfort in knowing their patronage brings its own level of value. Today, consumers expect trust and transparency from those they do business with, and brands that fail to deliver great experiences are destined to be ignored. By using the insights available, marketers have the chance to cultivate relevant, personalized experiences that generate relationships, moving beyond messaging to create a symbiotic cycle that brings value to both the brand and the consumer.