UK consumers prefer personalisation over promotions

UK consumers prefer personalisation over promotions Colm is the editor of MarketingTech, with a mission to bring the most important developments in technology to both businesses and consumers.

As the chaos of Black Friday erupts over in the Atlantic, UK consumers are by all accounts enjoying a more sedate end to the working week.

In fact, the yearly sales bonanza has so far to take off in the UK in the same way that it has in America.

New research from Harris Interactive provides one big possible reason for this. The study, carried out on behalf of Sizmek, seems to show a major preference for personalised digital ads over one-off discounts or promotions. 40% of the consumers surveyed were not planning on taking part in this year’s Black Friday.

49% would, however, would engage with an ad that was personalised to the brands or products that they favor. Personalisation has particular popularity among millennial consumers, with 73% saying they would seriously consider engaging with an ad aligned to their buying preferences.

“Consumers have no time and limited patience for irrelevant advertising these days,” Andrew Morsey, MD UK at Sizmek, said. “If retailers can personalise and optimise ads effectively in shoppers’ preferred formats using predictive, AI-powered tech, then they should reap the rewards.”

Tailored, geo-located ads are also proving a good way of generating interest, with 70% of millennials and 48% of 35 – 54 year olds saying that they would be more likely to engage with an ad that is based on their current location.

“Combining a customer’s online and offline behaviour is difficult but personalisation should always be the goal. However, research suggests we’re particularly bad at it in the UK – in fact 98% of UK consumers believe that there is such a thing as ‘bad personalisation,’ due to brands having out of date information, getting personal details wrong and making assumptions based on single interactions,” says Paul Fennemore is a Digital Transformation and Customer Experience Consultant at Sitecore.

“This is often due to brands having several separate data insights tools. It’s only by weaving all these disparate sources of data together that you can deliver a personalised customer experience.”

Positive view

A key aspect of ad personalisation is choosing the right place to serve ads. Across all the age groups surveyed by Harris Interactive video was the most favoured format, with 17% of all consumers rating it as the format they are most likely to engage with.

Digital ads were also viewed positively by respondents, with 63% saying they would engage with the format. This rises to 84% for millennials, who also do the majority of their shopping online (66%).

Lucia Juliano, Head of CPG and Retail Research, Harris Interactive, said: 

“Brands and retailers need to respond intelligently to today’s tech-savvy shoppers through their advertising strategies. Relying on a ‘one message fits all’ approach belongs firmly in the archives, and brands must demonstrate they understand consumers, or they will switch off.” 

“Brands will only be able to target customers with personalised content, if they’ve matched and married their data from different channels, in-store and online,” added Fennemore.

“It will be interesting to see which brands come up trumps when they report their Black Friday figures. Undoubtedly, the most successful will be those that have invested in finding out what their customers really want to target them with personalised offers and content.”


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