The Hyper-Personalization of Ads — And How To Handle It 

Today’s consumers want personalization in marketing and advertising. A McKinsey & Company study found that 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences — and 76% get frustrated without them. 

Thanks to the precision targeting capabilities of digital marketing, advertisers can (and should) tailor their ads to their audience across platforms, including Connected TV (CTV) and social media. As advertising becomes increasingly personalized, marketers need to shift their strategies to meet these changing expectations. 

Here, we’ll explore how marketers and video makers alike can use audience-first strategies to create purpose-built ad creative and make the most of these experiences. 

The State of Personalized Advertising 

Like we mentioned, viewers expect personalized advertising experiences, and it’s clear brands are changing their strategies to meet these expectations. By 2025, the global personalization software market is expected to reach $1.78 billion USD, up from $1.16 billion in 2023. 

To create a better experience for customers, brands are adjusting several elements of their campaigns to include more data. According to Statista, marketers are using three types of personalization the most: 

  • Basic personalization (i.e. including a customer’s first name in an email) 
  • Purchase-based personalization
  • Advanced personalization, which includes recommendations from real-time data or artificial intelligence 

Platforms are also making changes to accommodate personalized experiences. Hulu, for example, has an Ad Selector placement that allows viewers to choose between two or three different ads, encouraging viewers to watch the ad they’re most interested in. Brands can create three different pieces of creative and viewers can choose which one is the most relevant to them. 

Getting Personalization Right Is Essential 

You’ve probably been delivered an ad once or twice that clearly wasn’t meant for you. Or an ad was way too on the nose, and it seemed weird the brand knew that much about you. No matter the details, irrelevant ads are never a good experience — and they feel even worse when they’re too relevant.

As of May 2023, a Statista study found that brands were struggling to connect with their customers. The respondents, broken down by age group, stated a lack of relevance was the key reason brand personalization fails, followed by a lack of authenticity. 

How the consumer feels about the brand also plays a big role in getting personalization right. As one AdExchanger article puts it, “Without the perceived brand relationship or value, personalization can come across as intrusive and unnerving.” In other words, if the consumer doesn’t feel connected to the brand, personalization can be, well, creepy. 

How To Plan for Personalization 

We’re guessing you don’t want your brand described as “creepy” or “irrelevant,” right? Well, to keep those words out of your audiences’ minds, we’ve got some tips to help you maintain effective personalization. 

Understand Your Audience 

Before you can understand the type of ad creative your audience wants to watch, you need to understand the audience segments themselves. 

One way to do this is to utilize the data you have about your audience. Marketing teams can use a variety of information to personalize ads. According to a 2023 Statista study, 86% of respondents use demographic data, 49% use behavioral, 44% use firmographics, 41% use lifestyle, and 32% use contextual. 

With this information, advertisers can provide more relevant ads at the right time. By basing your creative around your audience, you’ll be able to connect with them more effectively. 

Create Ad Variations 

The good news? Ad variations are a great way to capture your audience’s attention and promote personalization. The great news? You can adjust just about every video element to make these variations. 

For example, you can create variations with different actors or voiceover artists. Maybe one version of your ad will resonate more with your audience than another, driving increased engagement. These variations can also help prevent ad fatigue, benefiting both advertisers and viewers. MNTN Research reported that 67% of consumers want a variety of different storytelling approaches to avoid ad fatigue.

Keep an Eye on the Industry 

New ad formats, streaming platforms, and other opportunities arise all the time, so marketing teams need to pay attention to the industry. Without these new placements, you could miss out on relevant (and high-performing) opportunities for your brand. 

For example, if you know your Instagram audience performs well, you’ll want to consistently check in on their available ad placements. Having a constant understanding of their offerings can help your team feel confident that your current ads are in line with their Instagram video ad specs and ensure you know about new opportunities in a timely manner. 

Maintain a Consistent Testing Strategy 

Testing is an essential part of any marketing strategy, but it’s particularly important for successful personalization. Multivariate testing, for example, is a great way to find out which elements of your video creative resonate most with your audience. 

You can start broad (animation vs. live action) and get more granular as you continue testing. And this style of testing allows you to examine just about every video element, including talent, voiceover, CTA, location, and more. 

Once you start gathering data from your tests, you’ll be able to iterate your future campaigns, creating a constant cycle of creative improvements. Plus, each time you test, you’ll learn more about your audience and grow your library of first party data. 

(Effectively) Use Available Data 

We know we just talked about using data, but we really can’t stress it enough. And we have to take a minute to talk about the importance of effectively using your data. If you’re using inaccurate or outdated data, your personalization isn’t going to work. In fact, it might even create a negative perception of your brand. 

But with clean, accurate data, you’ll be able to create audience-based conversations that help you reach your target audience segments more efficiently. 

Fuel Marketing Success with Personalization 

Since many viewers expect personalization, it’s essential to do it right. From the ability to choose ads on streaming platforms to the importance of picking the right folks to star in your content in the first place, brands can personalize their content in a ton of different ways. 

And now, with digital features across channels, you can personalize viewer experiences on CTV, social media, and more. With the right personalization strategy, your brand can effectively connect with your target audience, drive performance, and increase engagement.

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