By Daniel Hunter

WeSEE, the innovative advertising and visual classification company, announces research revealing that over half of UK consumers find online advertisement targeting too simplistic, and when it comes to video advertising, a whopping 70 per cent skip or are bothered by advertising that they believe to be ill-targeted.

Consumers today recognise that online advertising is meant to be targeted, unlike the untargeted flashing website banner ads of yesteryear; today only under a third (30%) of consumers say online advertising is untargeted. However the industry still has a way to go.

On average, 57 per cent of UK consumers believe that the targeting is too simplistic. Broken down by age group, 70 per cent of 18-25 year olds; 67 per cent for 26-35 year-olds and 61 per cent of those aged 36-45 share these sentiments.

“The 18-25 age group is a huge demographic for online marketers. As this segment is incredibly digitally savvy, it follows that they are particularly attuned to the level of relevance that an ad has to have for them to pay attention to it," Adrian Moxley, WeSEE Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer commented.

"This group has grown up with the Internet and expects a level of personalisation that older users don’t. Brand marketers need to realise this and respond accordingly, by taking the steps necessary to ensure that advertising is targeted and relevant, or will lose out on engaging with this demographic. To truly target the online audience in any age demographic, brands must be aware of what their audience is doing online — what they are looking at and for how long and where this content is coming from.”

Nearly half of consumers (47%) spend at least 15 minutes a day browsing visual content such as images and videos online. This is even higher in younger age groups with a massive 83 per cent of 18-25 year-olds spending this amount of time looking at visual content online and over a fifth of this age bracket spending an hour or more a day doing this.

In fact, streaming video content is one of the most popular activities on the Web — consulting group Accenture reported that 90 per cent of consumers globally regularly consume video content over the Internet. Brands and advertisers must take this into account when considering how to reach their audience online and ensure they prioritise the ads served alongside this content.

WeSEE has revealed that much of this visual content is not coming from brands and media companies, it’s user-generated. Nearly half of consumers (44%) upload visual content to the Web every month. Although the younger age groups upload the most visual content the most frequently, with half of 18-25 year olds do this every week and one in ten are doing this every day, 41 per cent of the over 55s and over 65s upload visual content to the web at some point.

The huge uptake in video-streaming services presents advertisers with new opportunities; however advertisers are not yet using these opportunities to their full potential. WeSEE’s survey had found that the majority of consumers (70%) either ignore these ads by skipping them (45%) or worse, are actively bothered by them (25%).

However one in five also said they didn’t mind ads in video content online, so long as it is relevant to them, and 30 per cent of consumers say that they are willing to engage with online advertising if it introduces them to a new product or service that is relevant to their interest. These findings reveal the potential for advertisers to do more to win over this audience.

In terms of advertising across social media, WeSEE’s survey found that 35 per cent of UK consumers are now uploading images and video to the social web, meaning that this is a new content stream that brands need to consider when they are placing ads on social networks. As huge amounts of this visual content is going to be untagged, advertisers cannot just rely on text to know what each user is interested in.

This is especially significant in light of 74 per cent of people saying they find the ads shown to them on social networks to be poorly targeted, delivered in a clumsy fashion or irrelevant altogether. These figures suggest that there is a lot more that advertisers could be doing to reach this captive audience online.

Whether you are focusing on reaching consumers through video advertising, ad words on search engines or via the social Web, some sectors are ahead of the game. WeSEE’s survey found that nearly a third of women (30%) cite fashion brands as those using online advertising most effectively, closely followed by a quarter of women who said supermarkets were ahead of other sectors here.

Men on the other hand reported that they think the travel sector is using online advertising to the best advantage (28%), with 25 per cent and 24 per cent respectively saying that supermarkets and consumer electronics brands do well in this area. Both sexes reported that the restaurant and entertainment sectors are bottom of the pile in online advertising.

“One huge reason that consumers are saying that ads are untargeted or simplistic is because advertisers are only interpreting some of the data available to them when working out what a user might be interested in," co-founder and CMO Moxley explained.

"Images and video content are completely ignored by advertisers unless they are properly tagged with keywords. Add to this the fact that such a large portion of the web’s visual content is now user-generated and unlikely to have an accompanying text-based description attached to it; you potentially have an advertiser’s nightmare — the web is full of content that cannot be interpreted.

Advertisers need to target ads in a more sophisticated manner — consumers are willing to share data on their likes and dislikes online but when this is not properly interpreted it causes annoyance. Not only do brands which don’t target ads effectively for the ever-evolving ways in which consumers are using the internet stand to lose out on potential revenue, but poorly targeted ads are actively annoying consumers, so the damage to the brand could be longer standing.”

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