NEWS27 June 2014

Personalisation ‘improves’ online ads, but consumers want control

News North America Privacy

US — Consumers find personalised online ads more engaging, educational, time-saving and memorable but want control over related privacy, according to recent research from Ipsos MediaCT and Yahoo,.


The study, which surveyed 6,000 US respondents aged 13-64, revealed that 54% found personalised ads more engaging than general ads.

  • 52% felt they were more educational
  • 49% more time-saving
  • 45% more memorable
  • 42% more relevant

This desire for personalisation also varied by category: while 77% of respondents looked for personalised retail ads, only around one third wanted the same for car or entertainment ads.

With regard to where the information for this personalisation comes from, 68% of consumers said they were happy for marketers to use their browsing information to inform this; 67% ads/ products they’ve browsed, and 63% their profile information.

60% of consumers said they wanted control ( 41% complete control; 29% little control) over the personalisation process (knowing why, what and how websites select the content). With regard to how this control is exercised, 65% of consumers said they wanted the option for privacy controls, 58% want it to be based on information they provide, and 38% want websites to take their interests into account.

Previous research has indicated that consumers find some personalisation ‘creepy’, and that willingness to trade privacy for convenience varies by country.

“Consumers are looking for an adaptive online experience that implicitly understands what they want,” the report concluded. “When the need to know and the want to know are in harmony, the digital ecosystem is in balance. As with human balance, when the system works it is imperceptible, and only when the system gets out of balance does one notice.

“Above all, personalisation is about respect. Personalisation respects the user by granting them control and relying on transparency to build trust.”

Full results of the study can be found here.