WDG has undertaken many investigations involving consumers using the internet in the last couple of years. We have tracked the customer’s journey from initial category search and research through e-commerce sites and interface with retail companies, and on to final transaction and post purchase experience. We have talked to consumers about their search experiences, the influence of different forms of online and digital advertising, and what it all means.
Most of them understand the relationship between what they search and the advertising that appears on their digital screen. They realise that advertising revenue on social media sites enables users to enjoy the freedom of engagement with a wide population. This is acceptable to some and can be an annoying consequence for others.
Advertisers and media buyers, with a larger pond to play in have to be more canny with their budgets. Clever use of algorithms on search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc) allows advertisers to target their audience and create greater ROI opportunities. More detailed analysis of time lag and keywords used in searches means that consumers are “bombarded” with adverts for a search interest long after the interest has evaporated.
This is not so acceptable amongst the consumers we spoke to – hence the frequency of the expression “bombarded”. Rather than show a residual interest in the advertised brand, they declare that they ignore it, or ‘close’ it. Unless the brand relates to a frequently purchased item (e.g grocery) or renewal products such as insurance or mobile phone contracts the consumer will move on because they are “no longer in the market” to buy.
At a cognitive level the advertisers of frequently bought and renewal items (e.g supermarkets and comparison sites) will have greater success than advertisers whose products have a longer shelf life, say white goods or smart TVs. Frequently appearing ads for products that consumers are no longer interested in become “annoying” and “interfere” with their enjoyment online in a way that TV commercials simply don’t. Can advertisers afford to upset their audience and waste valuable media dollars?
Online and digital advertising is still in its infancy and media analysts have an increasingly sophisticated set of tools to measure search patterns and frequency amongst segmented audiences as well as create campaigns which are more engaging and interactive. WDG will continue to talk to consumers and feedback to advertisers and media agencies, and look forward to a time when audiences can have greater engagement with, and a positive reaction to, online adverts.