Addressability is the Antidote to Ad Fatigue
Gone are the days when a catchy jingle or clever billboard held sway over consumer attention. Today, the shopping experience is a digital dance, one where brands must learn the measures delicately and efficiently to avoid stepping on toes and wasting money. In an era when digital advertising has become increasingly pervasive, the challenge for brands lies in finding effective and nonintrusive ways to reach their target audiences. However, putting on my own consumer hat for a moment, this 2023 holiday shopping season, the game seemed to veer toward an overwhelming barrage of marketing text messages.
The surge in text messages promoting deals reflects a growing uncertainty among advertisers in navigating the changing landscape of consumer engagement. Brands, grappling with the demise of third-party cookies, bombarded consumers with unsolicited deals, mistaking intrusion for true and valuable engagement. The result? A chorus of consumer annoyance.
According to recent research from YouGov/Picnic, 70 percent of people find digital advertising annoying and unpleasant, while 72 percent note that annoying or intrusive advertising experiences make them less likely to purchase from that brand in the future. The issue of unsolicited text messages sent by unfamiliar brands is prevalent. Such messages are intrusive and raise questions about how these brands use personal information, particularly phone numbers. The lack of privacy is a concern, and many consumers wonder how these brands acquired their information (e.g., phone numbers, email addresses) in the first place.
This is where customer-centric addressability comes in, offering an encouraging resolution to a growing industry problem.
Crafting a Considerate and Effective Advertising Strategy
Recognizing an individual or grouping of consumers’ aversion to text messages or reluctance to click on links in texts, especially as SMS phishing scams are on the rise, is invaluable information that can shape a considerate and effective advertising strategy. Successful marketing is contingent upon knowing the customer and reaching them in a manner that aligns with their preferences. By understanding the nuances of consumer behavior and tailoring messages accordingly, brands can create a positive and seamless interaction that resonates with the right consumer.
In a recent LinkedIn poll I ran, I inquired about how consumers personally feel about text message deals. The majority of respondents (52 percent) noted that advertisements and text messages should never mix, with 24 percent of consumers noting that text message advertisements are only OK from brands they like. Addressability, in the context of digital advertising, involves understanding the target consumer's buyer journey and preferences. It's not simply about data, though access to pseudonymized identifiers like hashed phone numbers and emails is crucial, and several AdTech firms have suggested their own unique identifiers as substitutes for cookies. However, most of these solutions would cause further fragmentation by focusing on addressability within their own organization or platform. This would restrict the extent of their reach and interoperability with the broader ecosystem.
Timing also plays a crucial role in this AdTech dance. Addressability isn't just about knowing who you're talking to; it's about knowing when to talk to them and how. Imagine receiving a back-to-school backpack offer weeks after your child has returned to class. Clumsy, right?
The true value lies in understanding the buyer's complete shopping journey — their preferences, their anxieties, their media consumption habits and more.
Imagine a world where a clothing brand understands that you don't like receiving text messages. Instead, it let you know about a great new dress through a personalized banner ad while you're browsing your favorite fashion blog. What about scrolling through Instagram and seeing an ad for running shoes based on your recent pre-marathon training? Or imagine a bookstore that sends you a targeted e-book recommendation based on something you might like stemming from an in-store physical purchase. This shows these brands not only know you’re a runner, a reader or a fashionista, but also what you're currently interested in and may possibly need (or want).
The Role of Addressability in Personalized Advertising
When advertisements aren't personalized, consumers may not see the value in the products being offered by brands or the content published on the web. This can lead to a negative experience for users and may discourage them from returning to the site. This issue is similar to what we saw at the end of the previous AdTech boom when we were inundated with low-quality ads. These ads annoyed internet users and provided little value to publishers, creating a lose-lose situation for everyone involved.
Today, addressability allows brands to anticipate consumer needs before they become overbearing demands. For consumers, the value exchange must be clear: receive relevant offers that enhance the shopping experience, not disrupt it. The days of deleting spammy texts while muttering, "How did they get my information?" are numbered. Brands that are misusing these channels with their target audiences by sharing irrelevant offers and spray-and-pray communications can even shrink the number of opportunities available to engage with consumers within an increasingly crowded environment. Addressability ushers in an era of mutual respect, where brands legitimately earn our attention, not bombard us into marketing submission.
Addressability also provides brands with the valuable ability to analyze campaign performance across various channels. This analysis helps brands determine which strategies are effective in attracting consumers and which ones are not. By identifying the tactics that entice consumers and avoiding those that repel them, brands can improve their marketing efforts and achieve better results.
This is the true magic of addressability — delivering the right message, at the right time, and in the right context and channel.
Addressability isn't about control; it’s about connection. It’s a move away from intrusive practices towards a more considerate and personalized approach that respects consumer privacy and preferences. By focusing on utilizing addressability strategically, brands not only enhance their marketing effectiveness but also contribute to a more positive and consumer-friendly online environment.
In this era of empowered consumers, brands have a choice: cling to clumsy mass marketing and risk being relegated to the sidelines or embrace a strategic approach to activating addressability and take center stage in the hearts and minds of their audience. The choice is clear.
Nola Solomon is senior vice president, global go-to-market strategy and commercialization at Criteo, the commerce media platform for the open internet.
Nola Solomon serves as Senior Vice President, Global Go-to-Market Strategy & Commercialization for Criteo. With over a decade of digital advertising experience in both the US and abroad, Solomon brings deep programmatic expertise and a truly international perspective to her role leading Criteo’s global go-to-market strategy. Solomon is responsible for propelling growth by driving strategic product initiatives and aligning overall product strategy with commercial perspectives.
Prior to Criteo, Solomon served as Vice President, Programmatic, Advanced Advertising Product & Strategy at NBCUniversal Media, and held previous leadership roles at Dailymotion, The Trade Desk, and AOL.