Consumers have been rapidly upping their standards for the ads they interact with, and a fragmented digital marketing industry is still working to catch up.
As we’ve argued before, digital advertising is now just as critical for brick-and-mortar retailers and other traditionally offline companies as it is for 100% digitally-based companies. But as more and more companies come online, it’s becoming increasingly clear that digital marketers must work toward establishing a set of industry standards — both with respect to ad targeting and ad quality — in order to avoid turning the monetized internet into a virtual Wild West.
The Importance — and Challenge — of Ad Personalization
In order for digital campaigns to be effective in this day and age, each ad must must be highly personalized and relevant to the end consumer. According to one study, 50% of consumers who have been marketed to over the internet or by phone claim that the ads to which they are exposed are very rarely or never relevant to them. 61% have received ads for a hobby or interest they don’t have. Perhaps most remarkably of all, 35% have received offers for areas they neither live in nor visit.
These figures demonstrate just how much waste currently exists in the digital marketing sphere. Reducing that waste begins with increasing marketers’ ability to place the right ad in front of the right person at the right time, but to do that, both publishers and ad buyers will have to agree to make a concerted, coordinated effort.
One step the digital advertising community has already proposed is the institution of a standardized, industry-wide ID system that would enable marketers to recognize and target specific consumers across a variety of devices and digital channels. Google’s and Facebook’s dominance of the digital ad sphere is due in large part to the ability of both platforms to capture users’ identities.
Consumers are typically logged into Google and Facebook as they read the news, shop online, and interact with their preferred sources of entertainment, allowing the tech giants to gather troves of important data that indicates exactly what makes each user tick. The average ad provider doesn’t enjoy this luxury, and the goal of measures like standardized digital consumer IDs is to diminish the industry’s dependence on these two ad platforms. Only then will truly personalized marketing become the industry-wide norm.
Facilitating Ad Personalization through Transparent Marketing Practices
Beyond difficulties around identifying user characteristics and preferences, another hurdle to improving digital ad quality is securing consumer buy-in. As Chartered Institute of Marketing CEO Chris Daly points out, “Businesses have a responsibility to their customers to be transparent, respectful, and clear about how they use their personal information. Not only is this best data practice, but it ultimately will help consumers feel more confident and enjoy the benefits of sharing more personal data with businesses.”
Daly’s statement sums up the problem quite nicely: consumers expect personalized ads, but personalizing ads requires access to consumer data, and consumers are hesitant to grant marketers access to their data for fear of being inundated with excessive advertisements. As such, ad providers need to clearly demonstrate to consumers that the digital advertising industry as a whole will not tolerate deceptive or intrusive ads. Ad filters – which are not the same as unsophisticated ad blockers – are a solid start, as they empower ad providers to prioritize user-friendly, high-quality ads.
From the marketing side, delivering relevant, tailored ads is a surefire way to satisfy ad filters and most other quality control mechanisms. As the digital advertisers and consumers alike continue to raise their standards, it is more important than ever for companies to optimize all of their marketing efforts.
For most companies, working with an artificial intelligence marketing platform like Albert™, the first digital marketing platform built from the ground up on AI, can go a long way toward achieving such optimization. Albert™ tests thousands of variables at a time to quickly discover and target new micro-segments of customers that humans marketers never even knew existed. While the industry works to agree on new standards, your organization can get ahead of the curve now by adopting powerful AI technology.