Are advertisers failing to understand their online audiences?

Jonathan Thirkill, Founder and CEO of Boostify.

Jonathan Thirkill, Founder and CEO of Boostify.

Businesses are failing to understand customers’ online shopping needs, according to new data which shows close to two-thirds of personalised ads are rated ‘irrelevant’ by those who see them.

New YouGov research – commissioned by customer experience optimisation specialist Boostify – shows some 57% of people surveyed rate the offers they receive online as ‘mostly irrelevant’.

And with 63% of adults saying they find irrelevant offers ‘annoying’, the data suggests a strategic sea-change is needed in terms of how brands interact with their online audiences.

The survey – which polled more than 2,000 adults across the country – sought to understand the role and influence of personalised ads in driving sales.

In an evolving digital era where online purchases are rising, high street stores are dwindling and marketplaces are becoming increasingly crowded, it’s never been more important for marketers to truly know their shoppers and their digital behaviours.

But it’s emerged that it’s the older generations businesses are really failing to understand, with 61% of over 55s agreeing that the offers they receive are mostly irrelevant.

The effectiveness of online ads does seem to vary depending on the age and gender of audiences, however.

There’s a near-10% difference in the relevance of ads targeting men and women, with 53% of women saying the offers they see are ‘irrelevant’ compared to 62% of men.

And younger shoppers are significantly more likely to be influenced to buy a product or service by an online ad. Some 44% of 18 to 24-year-olds admit to being driven to make a purchase by a personalised offer, compared to 24% of over-55s.

It isn’t just the age and gender splits which are apparent in the findings though, there are also clear differences when it comes to geography.

People in the east of England are more annoyed at receiving irrelevant offers (75%), compared to Londoners (55%). Adults in Yorkshire and the Humber (72%) followed by those in the North East (68%) also find these offers annoying.

Boostify Founder and CEO Jonathan Thirkill said: “We’re in a society where content relevance is key for enticing savvy shoppers. It’s no longer enough to blast out universal messaging to all customers, instead it is vital brands harness the individuality of each consumer.

“Getting under the skin of how users interact and behave online allows companies to deliver clear, relevant offers at just the right moment – instead of bombarding shoppers with numerous online offers which will never convert.

“As the research indicates, non-personalised offers can leave customers feeling annoyed, and that’s just one of the many reasons today’s brands should be using customer data to make every online experience a pleasant and profitable one.”