The disconnect between marketers and consumers when it comes to delivering relevant online advertising is on the rise, according to the latest “State of Digital Advertising” report from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI).
In Germany and the U.K., marketers consistently overestimate the success of their campaigns when it comes to delivering advertising that matches their customers’ needs or interests.
Sixty-nine per cent of German marketers believe they are doing a good job at delivering relevant ads, however, only 49% of German consumers agree.
U.K. marketers had a more pessimistic view when it came to the value of their ad campaigns (49%). However, only a third of British consumers felt that they were getting it right.
Smartphones have become the device of choice for many European consumers when it comes to accessing websites, with a 141% increase in visits since Q1 2014.
However, there is a note of caution when it comes to the success of video ads on mobile, with an ad completion rate only 80% of that on desktops. Advertising on mobile devices not only needs to be relevant, but it also needs to grab consumers’ interest during the first few seconds, as 18% of viewers in Europe move on after a video advertisement has played for five seconds and only 58% of the ads are viewed to the end.
One way to get consumers to engage with ads is to make them laugh. They are less focused on product benefits, price, or that the ad matches their own personal values. Consumers also want to see better frequency capping when it comes to ads, with over a quarter of Europeans believing they would have a better experience if they didn’t see the same adverts time and time again.
When it comes to delivering relevant ads via social media, Facebook outperforms other platforms—52% of Europeans feel that Facebook does the best job when it comes to showing them interesting and relevant ads and provides a better experience for consumers.
The Personalisation Gap
European consumers desire personalisation, but issues still exist in their minds around both delivery and privacy.
Nearly half of all consumers prefer some form of personalised advertising, compared to less than a third, who, as yet, don’t see the benefits. The over-34 age group seems to be the hardest to convince, with 40% unhappy with the idea of personalisation, compared to only 20% of 18 to 34-year-olds, who were more critical of it being done badly. It seems that the gap between “not good enough” and “want it” suggests an area for improvement.
John Travis, Adobe’s EMEA vice-president of marketing claims: “The new digital reality is bringing about a massive transformation in which customer experience has become the brand of your organisation.” However, gaining the customer data that drives those experiences is a big issue in Europe.
Fewer than one in three Europeans are comfortable sharing their data with brands, and fewer than 25% believe that marketers respect their privacy.
There is some encouragement, at least, among younger consumers, with 35% of 18-34-year-olds claiming to be happy when it comes to sharing their data, but this still lags behind their peers in the U.S.
Online Advertising Effectiveness
Advertising costs have outpaced inflation since the advent of digital, with the cost of reaching consumers outpacing inflation since the 1990s, when technology started to change our lives. This has left advertisers facing tough choices of how to best allocate their marketing budgets.
For example, search marketing costs have increased by 13% on desktop, and over 19% on mobile, compared to an average 3.6% inflation rate in Europe over the last three years.
The report also found that some channels may be losing their effectiveness when it comes to acquiring site traffic. For example, spend on search has increased by 47% over the last two years, while site visits from search only increased by 33%. However, social media advertising seems to be increasing its cut-through with the younger generation, with the older generation only noticing ads when they are actively browsing for information.
The Online Advertising Ecosystem
Although European marketers deploy fewer ad platforms and agencies than their U.S. counterparts, the fragmentation of the ecosystem leads to its own problems—for example, over 30% of advertisers work with three or more media buying platforms.
Europe is lagging behind the U.S. when it comes to the uptake of automatic/programmatic buying, with fewer than one in five marketers spending more than half of their budget on programmatic or automated ad channels.
Marketers believe that greater economic transparency (50%) is the biggest media buying challenge facing them today. France has recently extended the Loi Sapin anti-corruption law to digital media, while Procter & Gamble’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has given his agencies a year to get to “a transparent, clean, and productive media supply chain” or risk losing their business.
About Adobe Digital Insights
Adobe Digital Insights publishes research on digital marketing and other topics of interest to senior marketing and e-commerce executives across industries. Research is based on the analysis of select, anonymous, and aggregated data from more than 5,000 companies worldwide that use the Adobe Digital Marketing Cloud to obtain real-time data and analysis of activity on websites, social media, and advertising.
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