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Consumer Behaviour Ecommerce Advertising & Media

Advertising that provides a shortcut to purchase isn’t all bad



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December 9, 2020 | 3 min read

In 2020 it is estimated the average person encounters between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every day

This may seem surprisingly high but when advertising is heavily personalised and targeted, consumers can see and engage with it without even realising. As someone who has built their career in advertising and has a solid understanding of how brands target consumers, I am always amazed that even I become oblivious to ads.

We’ve all bought something in the past we didn’t need or have experienced a bad dose of post purchase regret but why is that? The answer is simple. As humans we are hardwired to be irrational and so sometimes, we make irrational decisions driven by emotion and our gut instinct over logic. Programmes in recent years like ‘The Social Dilemma’ have focused on the negative effects of this and the extent to which advertisers have a thorough understanding of how and when consumers make purchase decisions but is it all bad?

I don’t believe so. As technology has advanced and programmatic advertising matured, brands can increasingly target consumers with products and services they want. Nothing random or unexpected but instead, directly linked to consumers interests, lifestyle or behaviours. Advertising that saves consumers time by providing a shortcut to purchase rather than presenting huge product catalogs to be rummaged through. ‘The Truth About Amazon’ documentary recently revealed that most consumers tend to click the first deal available with a ‘Buy Now’ button rather than investing time shopping around for further deals.

As well as acting as a time saver, highly targeted advertising can become a source of new information. Presenting an opportunity for consumers to learn about something new or discover something they didn't realise they needed. More often than not, consumers don't know what they want until they see it or a friend recommends it. According to McKinsey, customer reviews and testimonials drive 20 - 50% of all purchase decisions because they help consumers to think and worry less about the decisions they make. Advertising can provide a similar helping hand by preventing overthinking or indecision, arguably making shopping experiences much more enjoyable and stress-free.

It is clear over the past decade there has been a fundamental shift in the way consumers make purchase decisions, particularly as consumers increasingly become more comfortable and reliant on online shopping. This is a demonstration in itself that human beings will continue to opt for the easiest and quickest ways to make purchase decisions and advertisers will continue to create shortcuts to purchase to enable consumers to do so.

Consumer Behaviour Ecommerce Advertising & Media


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