Personalized Ads Attract Big Spenders, Frequent Shoppers

January 21, 2009

The biggest retail spenders and most frequent shoppers are more interested in – and much more likely to click on – ads that are personalized for them vs. non-personalized ads, according to a survey from ChoiceStream.

Results from the 2008 Personalization Survey (pdf) show that 39% of consumers overall are more likely to click on an ad if it is personalized, while that number rises to 58% among those who shop online at least several times a month.

The survey also finds that the bigger the spender, the greater the interest in personalized ads. Half (50%) of those spending more than $250 online over the past six months indicate that they are more willing to click on ads that are personalized. This compares with only 32% of the smallest spenders.


Consumers Admit Being Influenced by Ads

Consumers are surprisingly savvy about online advertising in terms of its effect on their behavior, ChoiceStream said. Some 70% of consumers admit that their purchase decisions are at least sometimes influenced by having seen an ad for an item.


A smaller, but still significant percent of consumers admit that they are influenced by brand advertising as well, with 39% admitting that they are more likely to buy from vendors or retailers that they have seen advertised than from unrecognized sources. In both cases, the bigger the spender, the more likely he or she is to admit to being influenced by advertising.

Consumers are also aware of how shopping sites use data to target ads to them. A full 60% of shoppers are aware that retailers use information about their online shopping behavior to target advertising to them, the study found.

Additional survey findings:

  • Overall, 78% of consumers are interested in receiving personalized content, which is consistent with last year’s response.
  • The types of content consumers want personalized are relatively consistent with the previous survey findings, with music, books and DVDs being the most popular categories.


  • Consumers continue to recognize the value of personalization in social networking with 71% believing that personalization would improve their experience by introducing them to other members with similar interests and preferences.
  • Interest in personalized ads is strongest online and on television. A large majority of consumers are interested in personalized advertising distributed through their television (72%) or online (73%). The number of consumers interested in personalization on their mobile device is relatively low (35%).
  • ?45% of consumers reported receiving personalized recommendations that were a poor match based on their tastes and interests in 2008 (vs. 46% in 2007).
  • The most often cited reasons for why recommendations were considered to be poor were that they were inappropriate (such as evening bags for men (51%)), or that they didn’t match their preferences (48%).

“Online consumers are a savvy bunch and it’s not surprising that they’re more likely to tune in to ads personalized to their tastes and interests. What is surprising, though, is the extent to which the higher quality prospects seem to be more interested in personalized ads,” said Cheryl Kellond, SVP at ChoiceStream. “Advertisers that are spending premiums to target the biggest spenders and the most frequent shoppers should take note that those shoppers want intelligent ads that speak to their specific needs and shopping intent. The more personalized those ads are the better chance retailers have of connecting with those consumers.”

About the survey: This year’s survey was completed by 504 respondents who were invited to participate via email by MarketTools, an online survey services provider. Respondents were US adult internet users, 95% of whom have made at least one online purchase within the past year, who were distributed across 4 age categories (18-24, 25-34, 35-49, 50+). They were 54% female and 46% male.

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