Here’s How Often Digital Ad Campaigns Reach Their Intended Audiences

Digital ad campaigns reached their intended audiences 59% of the time in Q2, a rate relatively unchanged from Q4 2015’s 61%, according to a recent report [download page] from Nielsen. The report indicates that mobile on-target percentage has grown substantially, now matching desktop performance.

With each (mobile and desktop) seeing an overall on-target percentage of 60%, the Nielsen study indicates that desktops performed better for broadly-targeted campaigns, while mobile was stronger at reaching narrower targets. Additionally, mobile campaigns generally were better at reaching females, whereas desktop campaigns had higher performance reaching males. That correlates with the general study findings indicating that campaigns with broader targeting criteria (e.g. 18+ or 18-49) tended to be more successful reaching males whereas those with narrower targets (e.g. 18-24) performed better in reaching females.

The on-target percentage benchmarks when sorted by device, age and gender can be accessed by enlarging the above chart. On-target percentage refers to the percentage of all impressions served with a target audience that were actually delivered to that audience.

Meanwhile, on an industry-wide basis, the study indicates that:

  • Computers & Electronics campaigns were most successful in reaching persons aged 18-34, with an on-target rate of 68%, while Entertainment campaigns had the highest on-target percentage among 18-34-year-olds when narrowing to both males (51%) and females (38%);
  • For campaigns with an intended audience of 18-49-year-olds, the Business & Consumer Services sector had the highest on-target rate (74%) absent gender criteria, wile Entertainment campaigns again were most successful in reaching males (61%) and females (57%) in this age group;
  • Entertainment had the highest on-target percentage for persons aged 25-54 (61%) and females aged 25-54 (43%), whereas Business & Consumer Services performed best with females of that age group (55%).
  • Finally, the report notes that across all age groups and genders, publishers achieved higher on-target rates than platforms and ad networks.

    The full study is available for download here.