Do you want companies to send you or expose you to irrelevant ads? I think not. But maybe this intuition of mine is wrong. What is needed is a scientific study. Thankfully, SAS and Leger Marketing asked some questions on this topic recently. They found that:

60% of online Canadians agree that “I would like to receive offers and promotions that were more personalized to me.”

So, in fact, 40% disagree (or, perhaps were neutral). But what does this mean? Do the 40%:

  • not want any advertising at all;
  • prefer untargeted advertising; or,
  • they have read more into the question and understand that relevant must come at a cost somehow.

And, in fact, the interesting questions about companies delivering relevant advertising (and, again, all companies should want to do this), are more around the potential barriers to delivering relevant ads. All advertising (even direct mail) has challenges in syncing the message with the audience (you need to be able to find the audience and have a media that can be targeted) but the biggest question is how do you know to whom the ad is relevant.

Market research can answer this question but it is the promise of “big data” that is the most alluring to companies. And here the issue moves from the question of consumer desire to consumer concern. How much information are you willing to share with companies in order for them to deliver a relevant ad offering? Should they be able to track your online activity?

Irrelevant ads, especially when I have to be repeatedly exposed and/or when I must view the ad to see the content I am actually interested in are the most frustrating.

So when I see a question that asks whether people want, more relevant advertising I have to say, so what?