Online targeting ‘risks alienating consumers’

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Consumers feeling stalked, annoyed and misunderstood are among the potential pitfalls of marketing in a connected world, new research has revealed. Kantar TNS’ Connected Life survey, released in New Zealand this week, reveals a number of global and NZ trends and insights around marketing in a connected world.

One key trend in the increasingly connected world is that data-driven targeting has revolutionised the way businesses market to their audiences online. Brands are moving away from blasting messages at everyone and instead, zero in on their target demographic with personalised offers.

Kantar TNS Asia Pacific’s Singapore-based digital director Zoe Lawrence says this type of targeting is effective when done well, but if poorly executed can have negative results.

“Too many businesses ignore the question of context and timing, and consumers begin to feel stalked by content that follows them round after they’ve completed a purchase, leaving them feeling annoyed and / or misunderstood as a result,” she says.

“This leads to many actively ignoring branded content or installing an ad blocker, especially in developed markets.

“Marketers need to start asking themselves whether the content and experiences they deliver are useful for their audience – or if they’re merely serving their own objectives.”

Lawrence is in New Zealand to present at Kantar TNS’ annual event, D3: Delivering Impact in a Connected World, which coincides with the release of Connected Life, a study that explores the changing media landscape, and consumers’ media consumption habits.

Auckland-based Victoria Fedotova, client director of Kantar TNS New Zealand says New Zealand data supports Lawrence’s points. “More than a third of Kiwis said they felt constantly followed by brand advertising online, which is on a par with global results,” she said.

“But clearly Kiwis are more sensitive to online targeting and as a result are more sceptical about brands involved. According to the research only 18% of Kiwis say they enjoy reading and watching content from brands online, less than half the global result of 38%.”

Fedotova says the increased saturation of platforms with advertisements leads to user annoyance and ad blocking, but brands that utilise data-driven targeting well add value to user experiences and are appreciated and rewarded.

Ad blocker territory
“Using information we know about people to target them is a very precarious balance to strike, and not many New Zealand marketers strike this balance well – demonstrated by the large number of Kiwis who use ad blockers.

“27% of people in New Zealand use an ad blocker, compared with just 18% globally, eroding a huge amount of ad spend.”

Fedotova says the best way for brands and companies to maintain relevance and cut through effectively is to find the moments that matter for their brand, and tailor their message accordingly. By integrating the brand and message into the key moment, they’ll become intrinsically linked to the key occasions.

She says another potential pitfall for brands to be aware of is inconsistent touchpoints which Connected Life revealed as an issue both in New Zealand and globally.

“Consumers expect brands to have the same levels of service online and offline and a failure to do so can leave them feeling very dissatisfied.”

The Connected Life survey reports that 16-24 year olds are most likely to see this as an issue with almost 30% of Kiwis surveyed and 36% global respondents in that age groups affected by inconsistent service levels.

About WPP’s Kantar TNS
Kantar TNS New Zealand is a full-service market research based consultancy offering unique insight and in-depth understanding for businesses seeking growth strategies in across the Asia Pacific region. As part of a global community of over 80 countries, the New Zealand office integrates the best of Kantar TNS global expertise with its specific local market knowledge to deliver actionable insights. Kantar TNS is part of Kantar, WPP’s insight, information and consultancy group.


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