Do targeted ads work? Brand advertisers ‘fail to reach their audiences online’


Nearly six in ten Britons (60 per cent) believe online advertising is neither relevant nor well targeted, according to a new YouGov survey. The research, carried out for the technology and media company Collective shows that brands are simply not connecting with the right audiences and wasting money on ineffective campaigns.

According to the online survey, only a quarter (25 per cent) find targeted adverts to be relevant in anyway. Despite that, 57 per cent said they would choose targeted adverts over a blanket approach if it meant there were fewer of them, which indicates that brands who can be relevant, will connect with a receptive audience and induce purchasing intent.



Furthermore, one in five (21 per cent) would never trust an advert displayed on a site they had not previously visited, whether or not it was targeted demonstrating the importance for brands to run ads on trusted sites.

This attitude was stronger in consumers living in the North of England and Wales while Londoners were the least likely group to never trust an advert from a site they didn’t know.

However, a further 17 per cent of consumers stated that their trust in an advert would not be swayed one way or the other providing what the site was serving up was relevant to them.

Those living in the East (23 per cent) were more than twice as likely as those in Wales (11 per cent) to hold that view.

Steven Filler, UK managing director at Collective, said: “These findings show that consumers are receptive to receiving targeted messages, but also show that the current approach is failing to connect brands with their audience.

We currently see two extremes being used to target consumers; re-marketing to users who have visited the client’s site, often at high frequency, or generic brand messaging target to sites rather than audiences.

If brands are to make a strong connection with consumers they will need to use genuine audience insight to target the right user with rich, tailored ad formats in good quality environments.”

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