Consumers Say They Prefer Targeted to Random Online Ads

DAAZogby-Consumer-Interest-Targeted-Ads-Apr2013Asked whether they would rather see online ads for random products and services or ads directed towards their interests, 40.5% of respondents to a new survey [pdf] chose the latter (targeted ads), while another 27.6% were content to see both. The study, conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), found only 16.1% preferring random ads, with another 15.8% unsure. Late last year, a study from Ipsos similarly found Americans giving targeted social networking ads a vote of confidence.

Separate results from the DAA survey indicate that 47.3% of respondents are opposed to a law that “restricted how data is used for online advertising, but also potentially reduced the availability of free content such as blogs and video sites.” Still, opposition to such a law is possibly due more to potential reduction of free content rather than restrictions on the use of data: elsewhere in the study, 9 in 10 respondents said that free content like news, weather, email, blogs and videos are either extremely (68.7%) or somewhat (28.6%) important to the overall value of the internet.

Other Findings:

  • 75.4% of respondents would rather get free ad-supported content, compared to 9.3% who would rather pay for ad-free content.
  • Almost 6 in 10 respondents said an online ad had at some point helped them find an offer or product they wouldn’t otherwise have known about.
  • 42.1% of respondents reported having purchased a product because they saw or clicked on an online ad, but that was fewer than the 46.3% who said they had never done so. The remainder were unsure.
  • 1 in 2 said an online ad has ever helped them save money on a purchase or saved them time in finding it.
  • 3 in 4 believe they should be the ones making choices about what sorts of ads they see and how they’re generated, while 11.3% feel the company that makes their browser software should choose, and 9.4% think the government should choose.
  • Identity theft is respondents’ biggest concern about the internet, cited by 38.7%, followed by viruses and malware (33.5%).
  • 61.5% don’t trust the government to trust how internet advertising is delivered, while 17.8% do.
  • 41.1% of respondents believe that if a major internet browser makes it harder for companies to display advertising to users, the impact will be that they will have access to less free content. A similar proportion, though, believe that it either wouldn’t have any effect (27.8%) or that it would result in access to more free content (8.7%).

About the Data: The poll, conducted on April 2-3, 2013, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults and possessed a margin of error of +/- 3.2% points.