Taking Care of Business (via Personalization)


This 1990 movie comedy that focused on an escaped criminal scoring big after stealing an advertising executive’s identity didn’t garner many laughs then and would likely get even less today based on the ad strategies employed. Jim Belushi played the convict and proceeded to beat a business prospect in a game of tennis and then criticize his line of food products. Today’s customers, on the other hand, yearn to be understood.

Online technology ad company Innovid commissioned a study in July to better understand consumers and their preferences because of the pandemic. They discovered from talking to more than a thousand adults that more Americans are favoring personal ads. What this means for CMOs is coming up with a strategy for more tailored omnichannel marketing.

Nearly a third of consumers (32%) queried personalized advertising. The survey showed that personal ads on social media get the most attention, followed closely by video and television.

The survey also discovered that consumers are most receptive to retail personalized ads. The next industries in favor of personalized receptivity were telecom, automobile, hospitality, QSR (fast foods), and financial.

Respondents were then asked the kind of ads they would likely click on if they were personalized. The top vote-getter was events of personal interest. That was closely followed by products or services they might like, ads about their local community or businesses, offers on products they previously showed an interest in and learning more about a relevant subject or topic.

Though not defined, the findings clearly show that contextual advertising would be most appealing for markets looking to use personalized ads. For website visitors, ads that understand customers and the context they desire would be most successful. Ads that are relevant to the demographic and include things related to age and location connect better. And ads that leverage customers’ previous search and click history to convey a better understanding of their preferences also work well and strengthen relationships.

Innovid also looked at the most favored platforms where personalized ads would be most favorably received. At the top were streaming audio, followed by mobile devices, social media, TV, and PCs. The company predicted that as more brands recognize and use personalized ads, clicking CTV ads will also become learned behavior like mobile and PC engagement.

29% told Innovid they would be more likely to make a purchase if the ad they were viewing was personalized. They then shared their list of brands that get personalized ads right. In the entertainment sector, they named Disney, Nintendo, Spotify, and YouTube. Among retailers, Kohl’s led followed by Target and Walmart. Dunkin’, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s made the fast-food list while Ford, Jeep, Subaru, and Toyota led autos. In the hospitality sector, it was Expedia, Hilton, JetBlue, Marriott, and United who nailed it.

Some observers call “a new age,” customers will require a lot more attention and personalization. In the words of American author Chris Kilha, “All business is personal, all the time.”

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5WPR and one of the most well-respected Public Relations professionals in the United States. Ronn is the author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations."

View more posts from this author