If 10 years ago someone had told you that companies would someday serve personalized ads based on your characteristics, behaviors, or even just your location, you probably would have been horrified to access the internet ever again. After all, the thought of an unknown figure collecting information about you all day, every day is enough to unsettle even the most modest internet user.
But far from becoming the ghost town your younger self would have predicted, the web is alive and well with an estimated 3.5 billion users. And, with 268 billion U.S. dollars projected to be spent on online advertising by 2020, according to Statista, it seems that our generalized fear of companies collecting data about us hasn’t been enough to scare any significant number of users away.
Somewhere over the past decade, though, what was once considered “scary”, “creepy” or just plain “bizarre” transformed into something different – something much, much different.
It has become “desired”.
Personalized Ads – Give Your Users More of What They Want
Especially if it’s what you have.
Today, 71% of users say that they prefer personalized ads, with 44% of these individuals saying they are even willing to give up information in order to receive more personalized advertising in the first place. Businesses are, more than ever, expected to not only anticipate each customer’s potential wants and desires but are also expected to provide a more personalized experience based on that customer’s specific characteristics, behaviors, interests and – yes – location. This expectation is so prominent, in fact, that personalization was the lead practice listed on Forrester’s “Top 10 Critical Success Factors to Determine Who Wins and Who Fails in the Age of the Customer” for 2015.
Gone are the days when an ad for an uncanny looking pair of shoes raises any red flags in the mind of a user after a long day spent shopping. Some users might not even bat an eye when they see an ad for that small mom-and-pop shop they visited proudly displaying itself in their feed. Oh, and those users who just tweeted that they need a last-minute Halloween costume from a nearby store? They would probably be grateful to see an ad for that 6-foot-tall, inflatable dinosaur costume your store needs to move out.
The point is that today’s users are not only more likely to click on relevant, personalized advertisements; they’re also more likely to thank you for your suggestion by making a purchase.
Have an Advertising Plan for Today’s Needs, and Tomorrow’s
If options like Dynamic Remarketing Ads, Gmail Ads, or AdWords Demographics for Search Ads, are any indications of the future, precision-guided advertising is here to stay and will likely become even more precise over time as users continue to provide data through social media, the web, mobile devices, and a number of other platforms which may or may not exist at this time. Is it eerie to think about the future of personalized ads 10 years from now? Certainly. Are personalized ads unwelcome in today’s market? Not for 71% of consumers.