Sociomantic Labs, a provider of programmatic advertising solutions for e-commerce marketers, has announced initial findings from a new study on consumer attitudes toward online shopping and digital advertising. The study, conducted by independent research firm ResearchNow, polled 1,000 consumers. It found that personalized ads lead to a dramatic improvement in a marketing channel's perceived influence, as well as a channel's ability to encourage consumers to take action.

Contrary to popular belief, 70 percent of respondents said they are comfortable receiving ads and content crafted specifically to them. In fact, the biggest marketing offense was not ad targeting, but the poor execution of that targeting — 41 percent listed their top marketing pet peeve as ad spam (ads for the same product appearing multiple times on a single page).

When executed well, however, messages across all channels targeted were more influential, in some cases by a wide margin:

  • Online ads — 26 percent of respondents rated online ads as influential; that number rose to 52 percent among respondents who ranked online ads as well targeted.
  • Mobile ads — nearly a quarter of people (22 percent) who found mobile ads well targeted said these ads were likely to influence their online buying behavior, compared with only 5 percent of the total response pool.
  • Facebook — 50 percent of people who found Facebook ads well targeted said the channel influenced their buying behavior, compared with only 17 percent of the general pool.

In addition to improving a channel's influence, the survey also found that effective targeting increased a channel's ability to drive conversion. Compared with the general response pool, the likelihood of a person acting on a discount was significantly higher among those who felt the channel was well targeted:

  • Online ads — among people who reported web ads as well targeted, 74 percent said they are likely to act on a coupon delivered through that channel, up from 53 percent of total respondents.
  • Mobile ads — 35 percent of respondents said they were likely to act on a coupon delivered through a mobile ad; that number nearly doubled among those who said mobile ads are targeted (67 percent).
  • Email — 82 percent of people said that they would be likely to act on an offer delivered through email. Among those that felt email was well targeted, this already high number rose even further to 91 percent.

"What we've learned from this survey is that consumers welcome well targeted marketing messages and respond positively to offers made through a wide variety of channels," said Jason Kelly, CEO at Sociomantic. "As the data shows, accurate targeting is critical to impacting consumer decisions and conversion. One of the key points brands should take away from this research is that customers must be at the center of effective e-commerce marketing programs. This means businesses need to seamlessly reach, engage and transact with their customer where, when and how she chooses."

Read more about retail marketing.

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