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What percentage of targeted ads reach their intended audience?

By Robert Allen 09 Jan, 2017
Essential
Internet Advertising

Chart of the day: Online campaigns precisely targeted at a certain demographic often miss the mark.

Digital advertising is sold on the basis of targeting. Whilst everyone watching the super bowl or the X factor gets shown the same TV ad regardless of their age, gender or interests, digital ads can be hyper-targeted to just be seen by the exact demographic you know is most interested in your product. Or rather that's how it works in theory. In practice, the results are often very different. Recent research by Nielson found for certain groups, such as males in the 18-24 age range, only 17% of targeted ads were actually reaching the intended demographic. The rest were being seen by people the advertiser did not intend to target.

This reveals a big flaw in targeted advertising, as across the board about half of views are coming from people the advertiser wasn't paying to target. Whilst there is a wider debate about the metrics of hyper-targeting versus mass media, the point is advertisers should be aware of the difference between what they think they're paying for and what they are actually getting.

  • Source: Nielson
  • Data Sample: 40,000 campaigns measured by Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings in the U.S.
  • Date: Q2 2016

By Robert Allen

I was the Editor of Smart Insights between 2015-2017. I managed the blog and you will find blog articles on a range of subjects- Marketing Technology trends and latest tech developments are a regular focus, as well as exploring key marketing concepts. You can get in touch with me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. The new Editor is Carolanne Mangles.

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