Consumers Find Over-personalized Ads Creepy and Bombarding


But cost-obsessed marketers aren’t likely to do anything about it

The obvious fact that technology, in its multifarious guises, annoys many of the people it’s aimed at never seems to affect the behavior of the companies and other bodies who employ it.

Supermarkets going self-service is a classic case in point (except Booths in the north of England, which are going back to tills with people.) Digital advertising is another as it takes over the ad world – now accounting for about 60% of the global total.

Now another survey from Manchester digital agency Embryo has found there’s a growing concern among consumers about over-personalised ads, with many people finding them “creepy.”

Findings include:

  • Two-thirds (66%) of internet users expressed feeling ‘bombarded’ by the sheer volume of online advertising
  • Many users have developed a resistance to control and limit the amount they encounter, leading to a decrease in their responsiveness
  • One-third (32%) of users consider digital ads influential in purchasing decisions.

Embryo’s Chloe Pryce says: “It’s clear from our research that the fine line between personalized advertising and invasion of privacy seems to be increasingly blurred, causing consumers to experience a sense of unease about just how much information advertisers have about them to target them with ads.

“Marketers need to recognize and empathise with these feelings. Finding a balance between targeted campaigns and respecting user privacy is not only ethical business practice but it also ensures there is no risk of deterring potential customers.”

But are they likely to? The secret sauce of digital ads, and unwelcome technology in general, is that it saves money – even you piss off your customers.

Which is a fine old bind for the so-called discipline of marketing to find itself in.