Youth Feel That Retargeting is More “Creepy” Than “Cool”

September 9, 2022

Consumers tend to find that certain marketing tactics cross over into being annoying or even creepy. And it sure seems as though some tactics are more “creepy” than “cool” in the eyes of consumers around the world, according to Cheetah Digital global data [download page] that examines consumer trends by age group.

The survey asked consumers in various countries around the world whether it would be creepy or cool if a brand/retailer interacted with them in various ways. Some tactics deviated into consensus creepy behavior, while others generated different reactions depending on the respondent’s age group.

Generally speaking, consumers agree that personalized offers after staying on a brand’s site for 2+ minutes represent an acceptable form of personalization, with a majority of respondents from each generation opting for the “cool” rather than “creepy” tag. In last year’s study, a majority share across generations found this to be creepy, so things appear to have changed on that front.

Responses were much more varied when examining adverts on social media sites based on recent shopping experiences on other sites. While a majority of Gen Zers (64%), Millennials (60%) and Gen Xers (56%) view this as “cool,” the opposite is true for Boomers, 60% of whom tabbed this a “creepy” practice.

Other tactics fall soundly on the creepy side. Retargeting – or “adverts that follow across devices” – were deemed “creepy” rather than “cool” for 59% of Gen Zers, 56% of Millennials, 60% of Gen Xers, and 72% of Boomers. However, the study does note that there has been an increase from last year in the share of consumers finding this to be cool rather than creepy.

Another creepy tactic is advertising related to something talked about near a smart device. Some 55% of Gen Z respondents find this to be creepy, rising to 74% of Boomers. Previous research has also found consumers giving this the creepy label.

Finally, the most creepy practice? Adverts based on location data from companies the consumer doesn’t know. At least 6 in 10 respondents across generations consider this to be creepy rather than cool, with a high of 78% of Boomers perceiving this to be a disturbing marketing tactic.

For more, download the report here.

About the Data: The results based on a survey of 5,404 consumers across Australia, France, Japan, Spain, the UK and Ireland, and the US. The age groups were as follows: Gen Z (18-25); Millennials (26-40); Gen X (41-55); and Boomers (56-75).

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