Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Over half (55%) of consumers are put off buying products or services if they see the same ad online multiple times

Retargeted ads put more than half of people off buying

If same ad seen 10+ times, consumer irritation turns to anger
However, type of website where ad appears makes a difference
Surfing behaviour considered almost as personal as home address

Over half (55%) of consumers are put off buying products or services if they see the same ad online multiple times, according to a study published today by ad technology company,InSkin Media, and RAPP Media, the media planning and buying agency.

Only 10% of consumers are more likely to buy something after seeing the same ad served repeatedly because of their previous web surfing behaviour (known as retargeting).

Over half (53%) say online ads are initially interesting and useful but the more they are repeated the more irritating they become. For example, people are nearly 4x more likely to be encouraged than discouraged to buy something if they see a relevant ad during their research on it. However, as an ad is seen up to 5 times, it becomes ‘annoying’ and ‘intrusive’. Once it hits 10 times, ‘angry’ becomes the dominant reaction (see chart).

Reaction to frequency of retargeted online ads

“The retargeting-genie is certainly out of the bottle, but it’s a fine line to tread as brands potentially lose control through a perfect storm of increased automated buying and the spectre of consumer cookie deletion,” says Paul Phillips, RAPP’s Head of Media Strategy. “Marketers and planners are negligent if they don’t devote more careful planning around frequency caps and other contextual filters before letting the maths men hit the send button.”

In contrast to the positivity for a relevant ad being seen during research, one seen after research is over is 15% more likely to discourage than encourage a purchase. If seen after the product is purchased, its nearly 4x more likely to discourage future purchases.

Phillips says: “It’s not just about how many times the ad is seen, it’s when it’s seen. Retargeted ads served after the research phase could potentially do more harm than good.”

Relevant and quality environments make a big difference

However, the report “Familiarity, Frequency and Fine Lines”, based on a Research Now survey of over 1,600 people aged 20 to 60, reveals that ads seen multiple times are 40% more likely to be received positively if they’re served on a website related to the ad content (e.g. a hotel ad appearing on a holiday website).

For example, if people see an ad up to 3 times, they’re 66% more likely to think it’s clever if it’s on a related site than one unrelated. If seen 4-5 times, they’re 33% less likely to be angry if it’s on a relevant site.

Ads served on unrelated sites are over 11x more likely to discourage than encourage a purchase.

The quality of a site also has a big impact on how advertising is perceived; people are 37% more likely to click on an ad if it’s on a site they trust. The survey took respondents to view the same ad on different websites; a Land Rover ad on The Independent website was 71% more likely to be rated positively than on lesser-known site, Catster. Among women respondents, a Clinique ad on Marie Claire was 88% more likely to be rated positively than on lesser-known site, Instructables.

Hugo Drayton, InSkin Media’s CEO says, “Along with understanding ‘how often’ and ‘when’, advertisers must pay more attention to ‘where’ – a big issue in programmatic buying. Ads perform better on premium, trusted or contextually relevant sites. As with too much repetition, ads served next to irrelevant content may have a negative impact on consumer purchase intent.”

Surfing behaviour seen as almost as personal as home address

69% of consumers are uncomfortable with advertisers knowing which websites they’ve visited, only marginally lower than knowing their home address (72%) and current location (71%).

However, people are most uncomfortable about advertisers knowing their personal income (83%), followed by their mobile phone number (81%) and last online purchase (73%).

Almost one in four (23%) people are unaware that advertisers collect personal information to serve relevant ads – women are 56% more likely than men to be unaware of this.

Drayton concludes: “The industry got carried away with retargeting. It’s a powerful tool but it needs to be qualified by more thought and action to ensure it’s used effectively. As an industry we risk alienating a generation of consumers. Online advertising is hugely powerful and positive, as long as it is used intelligently.”

For more information contact:

Alex Burmaster, 020 3544 3570,

About InSkin Media
InSkin Media is an advertising technology business, specialising in high-impact, non-intrusive online advertising formats. Founded in the UK in 2009, and with offices in London, Hamburg and Hong Kong, the company is one of Europe’s market leaders in display and video advertising, partnering with over 100 publishers, representing over 230 websites, globally, and delivering successful campaigns for over 150 blue-chip brand clients.

In 2013, InSkin Media was named Best Media Owner in the IPA Media Owner Awards, having been rated as top company in the IPA Media Owner Survey that April. In 2012, InSkin Media won three British Media Awards, and also won Media Momentum’s Award as the fastest-growing digital business in Europe in 2011.

About Rapp Media
RAPP Media is part of the world’s leading customer experience agency, driven by data, inspired by culture, and enabled by technology. The agency believes in creating real-time, brand-building, problem-solving, useful customer journeys across all channels. RAPP continues to build on its heritage as a powerhouse in direct, relationship and loyalty marketing to deliver experiences that make brands, products and services richer. The multichannel network is comprised of more than 50 offices in 30 countries. RAPP is a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc.

Graphic by a4gpa