Attention Retailers: Digital Ads Must Be Personalized
2020 has seen massive shifts in the way that brands must communicate with consumers, not only to break through the noise, but resonate with them. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and with states in various stages of reopening, it has become more important than ever to ensure that advertising is personalized to meet the moment the consumer is experiencing.
As people change how they socialize, shop, work and respond to online advertising in response to COVID-19, the recent findings of 2020 Consumer Attitudes on Personalized Advertising shed light on the personalization preferences of the “Now Consumer.” Here are some key takeaways for retailers:
Personalization Drives Revenue and Brand Loyalty
The research found that 43 percent of consumers find it important that the online ads they see are personalized, incorporating geography, interests and behaviors. To the brand’s benefit, 29 percent said they would be more likely to purchase something if an ad was personalized, and 31 percent expressed increased loyalty to brands that embrace personalized ads.
Unfortunately, despite strong demand among consumers, advertisers aren’t doing enough to personalize across channels. According to eMarketer, only 3 percent of U.S. companies currently leverage true omnichannel personalization. This is especially concerning during COVID-19, as a one-size-fits-all approach at this time can turn off customers, damage brand reputation and undercut revenue.
The need to tailor advertising in this environment is further demonstrated by consumer personalization preferences. Thirty-nine percent said they prefer “ads that understand and address the context of my moment.” This is something that can highly vary depending on where the person lives during this crisis or what they're actively researching online. Furthermore, when asked what types of ads they would be most likely to click on if they were personalized, consumers chose “offers on products in which I've shown interest” (38 percent) and “new products or services I may like” (34 percent). Clearly for retailers, knowing your customers’ interests is the best strategy to convert into sales.
Social Media Wins on Personalization
Where does personalization perform best? According to respondents, social media platforms deliver more personalized ad experiences. Forty-five percent said they see more personalized ads on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, 20 percent said websites, 15 percent said YouTube, and 13 percent said connected TV. When asked what type of personalized ad they would pay attention to the most, social media (18 percent) was the top choice, followed closely by video ads (17 percent) and TV ads (17 percent). With consumers’ desire to see personalization not only on social, but also digital video and CTV advertising, retailers need to use data to develop a more tailored omnichannel strategy to engage and connect across all channels.
Retail Must Invest in Personalization
Retail took the crown as the industry consumers want to see personalized advertising in most. Relatedly, when asked to identify brands that personalize effectively, retailers such as Walmart, Apple, Nike, Target, and Kohl's were most often cited.
While retail is an early adopter of personalization, retailers can do more to benefit from the tactic. Not only does dynamic creative improve relevance, it can help retailers quickly address massive industry interruptions like what we’ve seen with COVID-19. Retail marketers that have the flexibility to swap out creative in real time and adjust messaging on the fly can appeal directly to consumers during challenging times and maintain consistent, meaningful connections.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that an advertiser’s ability to be agile and relevant can be the difference between success and failure. To adapt to the Now Consumer, retailers need to approach personalization with a mind-set that matches the time in strategy, tone and creative.
Stephanie Geno is the senior vice president of marketing for Innovid, an online advertising technology company that offers services used by advertisers and publishers for the distribution and management of digital ads.
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Stephanie Geno is the SVP of Marketing for Innovid, an online advertising technology company that offers services used by advertisers and publishers for the distribution and management of digital ads.