Report: Tackling bad advertising experiences

Latest CMO Club report looks at how to improve ad experiences for customers

We’ve long known consumers hate bad ad experiences. It also turns out marketers do too. But while marketers are aware of the problems bad experiences cause, it may be that little will change until marketing team structures change.

A research project by US-based marketing leadership community The CMO Club, in conjunction with creative management platform developer, Thunder, investigated the opinions of its B2C members regarding what makes a bad ad experience.

The resulting CMO Club Solution Guide, Solving Bad Ad Experiences, found that relevancy, frequency and consistency (or a lack thereof) were the top three factors that most impacted ad experience.

More specifically, when asked what would most impact an ad experience, 78 per cent nominated showing ‘ads for products the customer already bought’ as being inexcusable – well ahead of other annoyances such ‘ads that force users to interact with the brand before getting content’, or ‘getting too many ads from the same brand’.

Ad fatigue was still seen as a problem however, with 71 per cent suggesting that frequency capping was important to the ad experience. Surprisingly however, 60 per cent lacked confidence in the accuracy of frequency reporting for cross-device or cross-channel advertising.

And while 95 per cent believed personalisation improved ad experiences, more than 75 per cent still nominated ‘knowing the customer’ as being the biggest obstacle to delivering a better experience. This was despite 41 per cent indicating they already personalised digital advertising, with another 53 per cent planning to do so in the next 12 months.

“There is broad consensus around what makes a bad ad experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean people have the confidence in the technology to solve it, or they haven’t taken the steps yet to do it,” says Thunder’s co-founder and CEO, Victor Wong.

Beneath these results however he says the survey reveals the extent to which marketers have adopted a people-based approach, rather than focusing on devices and channels. This means that many brands have yet to invest in CRM and personalisation technology.

“This really points to the under-penetration of a people-based approach within the marketing organisation,” Wong says. “Everyone is talking about moving towards it, but we have a long way to go to get there.”

Wong says for many marketers the barrier is an organisational design which reflects a world where there was no expectation to know who you customer was.

“We need to move organisations from these different media-specific setups to really a customer-centric team,” Wong says. “You don’t need to break up your team based on the marketing tactic or channel any more. And a lot of organisations are beginning to recognise that.”

 Wong says he sees this problem as being most prevalent in consumer packaged goods (CPG) makers, who never traditionally sold directly to customers and hence have often not invested in creating a CRN practice.

“But now they are up against these fast-growing CPG brands that do sell direct to customers and do have a distribution channel,” Wong says. “So if you think the marketing organisation of 20 years ago still makes sense today, you really have to wonder how you can ignore an entire distribution channel that didn’t exist 20 years ago.”

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