New research suggests that ads that complement online content can be effective — but not if they rouse consumers’ privacy concerns.
Image courtesy of Flickr user bejealousofme.
Marketers have increasingly been using the Web as a vehicle to reach customers, but companies have sometimes struggled to figure out exactly how to transmit information about a product relevant to a consumer without breaching that individual’s personal sense of privacy. It’s a fine line, and some businesses have successfully straddled it — witness the effectiveness of the sponsored text ads that appear on Google’s search results — while numerous others have failed. Some recent research provides some guidance.
The study was conducted by Avi Goldfarb, associate professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and Catherine Tucker, an assistant professor of marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management. They described their findings in an October 2009 working paper entitled “Online Display Advertising: Targeting and Intrusiveness.” Goldfarb and Tucker had access to a database that tracked almost 2,900 different online ad campaigns for a wide range of products. The data, collected by a media marketing company from 2001 to 2008, contained the survey responses of a total of more than 2 million consumers — an average of about 850 for each ad campaign.