Retargeted ads have been found to deter more than half (55 per cent) of UK consumers from buying products or services, according to a study from InSkin Media and Rapp Media.
The report ‘Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines’ was conducted across 1,600 people aged 20 to 60 in the UK, and revealed that only 10 per cent of respondents said they are more likely to buy something after seeing the same ad repeatedly online.
More than half (53 per cent) also said that online ads are of interest initially, but the more they are repeated the more their interest turns to frustration and anger.
Once a person sees an ad 10 times, they become “angry”, while ads repeated up to five times trigger “annoyance” and are deemed “intrusive”.
“The retargeting-genie is certainly out of the bottle, but it’s a fine line to tread as brands potentially lose control through a perfect storm of increased automated buying and the spectre of consumer cookie deletion,” said Paul Phillips, Rapp’s head of media strategy.
“Marketers and planners are negligent if they don't devote more careful planning around frequency caps and other contextual filters before letting the maths men hit the send button,” he added.
Meanwhile it also revealed that retargeted ads that are seen by consumers after they have already research an item or service online are more likely to put them off purchasing (see below graph).
Phillips said: “It’s not just about how many times the ad is seen, it’s when it’s seen. Retargeted ads served after the research phase could potentially do more harm than good.”
However the report also highlighted that relevant and quality environments make a big difference, with ads seen multiple times 40 per cent more likely to be received positively if they are served on a website related to the ad content – such as a hotel ad appearing on a holiday website.
If people see an ad up to three times, they’re 66 per cent more likely to think it’s clever if it’s on a related site than an unrelated one, while if seen four to five times, they’re 33 per cent less likely to be angry if it’s on a relevant site.
Whereas ads served on unrelated sites are over 11 times more likely to discourage than encourage a purchase.
The quality of a site also makes a difference to people’s acceptance of retargeted ads, with people 37 per cent more likely to click on an ad id it’s on a site they trust.
Meanwhile the survey asked respondents to view the same ad on different website, finding that a Land Rover ad on the Independent website was 71 per cent more likely to be rated positively than on lesser-known site, Catster.
Among women respondents, a Clinique ad on Marie Claire was 88 per cent more likely to be rated positively than on lesser-known site, Instructables.
Hugo Drayton, InSkin Media chief executive said: “Along with understanding ‘how often’ and ‘when’, advertisers must pay more attention to ‘where’ – a big issue in programmatic buying. Ads perform better on premium, trusted or contextually relevant sites. As with too much repetition, ads served next to irrelevant content may have a negative impact on consumer purchase intent.”