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Consumers disregard retargeted ads & favour controlling their data-sharing in return for tailored offers

The majority of people (86 per cent) are losing patience with bad ad retargeting, deeming it “irritating” or “intrusive” on their privacy, and often choosing to ignore them entirely, according to new research.

Of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed by Intent HQ more than half (59 per cent) said they favoured personalised advertising, but only the sort where they have chosen to exchange their personal data in return for a “fair deal” such as information or personalised offers – not cookie-based ad targeting.

An even bigger proportion (71 per cent) revealed they were prepared to give basic data such as their name and email address so they can log in to sites.

Although the report revealed that people still felt threatened by privacy issues online, with 84 per cent of them saying this remained a concern, almost half admitted this doesn’t stop them giving personal details if they wanted certain information, resulting in more accurate personalisation along with ad and content targeting.

Meanwhile publishers that expressed clear reasons for how they intend to use personal data are “far more likely” to gain the trust and loyalty of consumers, with 79 per cent of respondents saying they are more likely to respect an honest company that gathers data via a social log-in, rather than those that resort to “behind-the-scenes” cookies.

Intent HQ chief executive Jonathan Lakin said the report provides evidence that consumers are frustrated with “blunt-edged” ad retargeting, which relies on cookie-based data.

“Consequently, advertisers and publishers are now increasingly using permission-based social logins to collect this information. By combining this with online behavioural data and then applying sophisticated new methods involving artificial intelligence to target ads and content more accurately, they are enjoying a dramatic rise in conversion rates,” he said.

These results follow a report by MinedIntent, sponsored by Intent HQ, which suggested that trust - or its erosion through the irresponsible use of data – should be taken into account when assessing the value of a publishing brand. ‘This latest survey underlines that consumers really do value publishers that gather and use data responsibly, knowing that their actions will have a long-lasting effect on customer relationships,” says Lakin.

Nick Stringer, head of regulatory affairs at the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), said consumer trust was “fundamental” if data-driven ad models were to be successful in delivering more effective marketing and helping to fund content and services.

"The research shows that people are happy to receive advertising in exchange for information to enable greater customisation. However, they also want control over this information and their privacy and the IAB and its ad partners have put in place a pan-European initiative, supported by the UK Government, to do just this," he added.