IAB Engage Digital Advertising News

AOL UK chief bemoans 'terrible use of data'


By Ronan Shields | Digital Editor

October 15, 2015 | 2 min read

AOL's UK MD Hamish Nicklin warned marketers that "terrible use of data" is threatening the digital advertising industry as online audiences are likely to completely reject all commercial messaging unless the inudstry clears up its act.

Speaking at today's (15 October) IAB Engage conference in London, Nicklin told attendees that advertisers misuse of audiences' personal data has led to an erosion of trust and belief in the value that brands and media owners provide.

"If we don't fix this then the future looks pretty bleak," he said, bemoaning "terrible creatives, and click-bait links."

Nicklin further added: "The creative side of me has me hitting my head off the wall thinking: is this it?!"

If such practice continues en masse, then it is likely to increase audience alienation and further spur the rise of ad blocking.

However, he did note that all is not lost, and that consumers do see the value that brands can provide, "the execution of advertising just has to get better".

"Is it advertising that people are trying to block, or are they trying to block completely irrelevant and disruptive experiences? If we can be more and open and transparent, then people see the benefit [of being served ads]," he said.

He further went on to cite research which claimed that 82 per cent of people said they'd be happy for brands to use their data as long as there was a fair exchange of value, and that 48 per cent think it's already happening. However, he did note that 83 per cent expected brands to ask permission before they do, saying "let's find a way of bringing back openneness and trust and then bring back advertising to the next level".

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