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There’s a simple reason ad blockers are growing in popularity: people are getting less tolerant of interruptions. Research from eMarketer suggests 27 percent of UK Internet users will be ad-blocking by the end of 2017.
It’s not hard to see why. If I’m shopping for a new beach towel online, chances are I won’t appreciate an unexplained advert about ski holidays that’s taken over my screen. Likewise, when doing research for work under a tight deadline I’ll simply view any unsolicited promotions that eat into my time as a nuisance.
The difficulty for marketers is that customers now do so much of their own research before making a purchase, usually without contacting any brands until they’ve decided what they want. This is just more proof that people want minimal communications with brands in their daily lives, unless that communication is pertinent and helpful.
That is the key point here. People don’t want to be disturbed with something that feels like a waste of time, but if presented with an advert that is personalized, well-timed and above all else relevant they are much more inclined to pay attention.
People don’t want to be disturbed with something that feels like a waste of time, but if presented with an advert that is personalized, well-timed and above all else relevant they are much more inclined to pay attention.
That’s why email marketing remains so effective despite being viewed as “old school” in some circles. Most of the promotions we receive in our inboxes come from brands that we’ve already chosen to interact with, and who therefore have reasonable insight into our interests. As a result, we are more inclined to open these messages even if they do ultimately end up in the trash.
There’s no escaping the fact that almost every advertisement is designed to interrupt people while they’re focused on other things. The trick to finding the marketing sweet-spot is to interrupt a customer or prospect with good reason.
The trick to finding the marketing sweet-spot is to interrupt a customer or prospect with good reason.
After all, there is a huge difference between interrupting someone to deliver information that might measurably improve their day and disturbing them with a total non sequitur.
How can marketers make sure their interruptions are justified and land their messages? The answer lies in understanding their customers’ needs and behaviors, which is why data and data management platforms have become an indispensable part of the marketing team’s toolkit.
But there is a balance to be reached between being relevant and being creepy. As a consumer, it’s one thing to be fed a promotion related to your direct interactions with a brand and another to be targeted with adverts so on-point that it’s clear every step of your online activity is being tracked.
Alongside a deeper understanding of data, it’s therefore worth considering more qualitative approaches to testing personalization strategies.
Alongside a deeper understanding of data, it’s therefore worth considering more qualitative approaches to testing personalization strategies. Something as simple as a focus group or survey goes a long way in helping marketers find the line between personalized and overly intrusive. More scientific approaches like A/B testing provide more comprehensive insight into consumer preferences and can be integrated directly into a company’s marketing software.
Consumers have been conditioned to block out all but the most engaging marketing campaigns, no matter how targeted they are. Personalization was the first step in cutting through the noise, but people have now become even more selective and getting an advertisement in front of them is no longer a challenge.
Marketers now need to make an impression and add value in a matter of seconds, and the only way to achieve that is to know as much about their audience as possible. There is a healthy appetite for personalization among consumers – US research from Verve Mobile found that nearly 40% of 18-24 year-olds believe a “perfect” mobile ad should be customized based on the products they want to buy – so while the use of ad blockers is on the rise there is still a major opportunity out there for brands that find the right balance with their targeted advertising.