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UK Insights

Improving digital ad ROI relies on understanding audience usage levels

Mikayla Samuels

Connected Life Consultant

Digital 05.06.2018 / 10:00


Insights from Kantar TNS and Kantar Millward Brown show how people’s online behaviour affects their attitude towards advertising.

Digital ad spend is forecast to top $203bn in 2018. Yet many senior marketers from global brands lack confidence in digital advertising’s ability to deliver, and our research shows that most people feel they are being bombarded with increasingly intrusive messages. While that criticism is aimed at advertising as a whole, the consensus is that poorly executed digital advertising is driving the trend.

How can marketers ensure that their campaigns cut through across an ever-expanding choice of channels, without alienating people along the way? Recent insights from Kantar TNS’s Connected Life and Kantar Millward Brown’s Adreaction studies show how people’s online behaviour affects their attitude towards advertising. They demonstrate how a person’s level of connectedness and activity online significantly affects how they respond to advertising – and therefore how (and how often) brands should target them.

Are brands telling better stories? Activity matters

Unsurprisingly, the more active a person is online, the more ads they’re exposed to. They are also more likely to recognise and appreciate the better storytelling that is enabled by new ad formats and better integrated multimedia campaigns (74% vs 39% amongst those who are least active online). The group who see the most ads are twice as likely to say that their opinion of brands is improved by multimedia campaigns. In contrast, people that are less active online are almost twice as likely to find multimedia campaigns irritating and overwhelming.

Indeed, understanding your audience’s level of online engagement will tell you not just how much advertising they see on average, but where they are likely to see it, what they expect from campaigns, and how they are likely to respond. People who are the least active online tend to visit digital and social media channels only when they perceive there is a tangible advantage; they are the slowest to adopt new trends, and are likely to be found watching broadcast TV. In contrast, the most active users will be online researching and buying their next pair of trainers.

This polarisation is set to continue. The more mature the market and choice of media, the more distinct and diverse people’s digital behaviour becomes, making these differences increasingly important to consider. So what should marketers do?

1. Integrate for everyone

Integrated campaigns are 31% more effective at building brands, yet our research found that one in four campaigns are not well integrated. Align your content seamlessly across each platform and format to ensure each piece tells part of the same coherent story.

Everyone expects multichannel campaigns to deliver basic connective elements or hygiene factors like the same logo, slogan, message and story. However, the most active online users are more demanding, also expecting campaigns to include consistent, and appealing characters or personalities. The most notable differences are that they also like consistent use of website addresses and social media hashtags (20% of this group think this important compared to 6% of the ‘least active’ group). So, these digital integration techniques can help improve impact... but you shouldn’t rely on these exclusively if your target audience is more diverse.

2. Be selective

Brands need to define a clear role for online media by identifying and targeting people in the moments that matter, bearing in mind that acceptable frequency will vary according to how different people use social and digital media.

For example, people less active online are twice as likely to say they feel that brands won’t leave them alone, than the more receptive, more active users. So more precise targeting becomes increasingly important.

Great campaigns have a specific reason for placing each creative execution in each channel. Advertisers will only achieve strong creative across multiple placements if they understand that attitudes to ads vary by channel and format, and different media have different inherent strengths, at different times.

3. Customise appropriately

Your less active audiences are primarily concerned with wanting online videos to be short and to cut to the chase. In contrast, those who are most active online tend to see the value in more sophisticated customisation, which goes beyond simply shortening or re-editing a TV ad.

For example, the most active users are more than twice as likely to feel that online video should feature different and “more online relevant” characters (24% vs 10%); be edgier or riskier; or include additional features such as a “making of”.

The sophistication of your target audience therefore dictates the amount and type of customisation you should invest in.

To conclude…

To deliver on digital’s promise of creating seamless and personalised experiences online, marketers must take a more calculated approach to the integration, customisation, and placement of their content. This means tailoring campaigns to the particular preferences of their target audience, based on an understanding of their level of online activity and engagement. In this increasingly connected world, identifying the moments when people are receptive to your content will be key to getting ahead.

Read the full article on the Kantar TNS global website here.

Source : Kantar TNS, Kantar Millward Brown

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