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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Consumers want control to improve the relevance of online advertising

July 18, 2018 | By Rande Price, Research VP – DCN

Consumers who use ad blocking software are also more likely to say advertising is important to their purchasing behavior. Surprised? You might also be surprised to hear that—overall—consumers believe that digital advertising is improving. Unfortunately, there’s still a long way to go.

That said, today, one out of five adults report using an ad blocker all of the time according to Kantar Media ‘s DIMENSION 2018 research. And it’s not just younger adults using ad blockers. The proportion of adults 45 to 64 who block ads is almost at the same level as those aged 18-34s. It’s also not just heavy tech-savvy users blocking ads. Twenty-three percent of heavy users report always blocking advertising content compared to 21% of all connected adults. The Kantar research surveyed 1,000 Americans and 5,000 in Brazil, China, France and the U.K.

Importantly, attitudes toward advertising appear to be changing for the better. Nearly three-quarters of online adults feel that that “advertising is changing for the better, or not changing at all.” Unfortunately, consumers report that targeting practices are misaligned with a positive online advertising experience. Seventy-two percent of consumers say that “sometimes I see the same ad over and over again, it’s too repetitive.” Further, more than half of online consumers (56%) report to frequently seeing ads for products they’ve already purchased.

Control seems to be a key theme in online advertising, particularly in ensuring relevance. Approximately, 63% of those surveyed say that they would like more control over the ads they see online. Just over two-fifths (43%) report their willingness to share personal information for a more relevant advertising experience. Targeting as we know it today with third-party data streams and cookie collection is not the holy grail. There’s still a window of an opportunity to improve the online ad experience and engage users.

Consumers digital ad boycott should deliver a clear message that we need to improve the online advertising experience. The Kantar research indicates that while progress is being made in how online advertising is perceived, there’s a need to improve advertising creative, experiences, and relevance.

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