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Consumers want to 'unfollow' ads that 'follow'

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Consumers want to 'unfollow' ads that 'follow'

DMTI in association with Simplify360, Digital Market Asia and Businessworld recently conducted a study to understand the Indian consumer behaviour on online shopping- their habits and preferences.

1216 responses were gathered pan India, supported by 635 in-depth interviews. The sample had a 37% female respondents and a 63% of male respondents. 38% of the respondents were in the age group of 18-25 and 28% in the age group of 26-30.

Remarketing has been touted as the most sophisticated piece of algorithm to grace the world of digital marketing in quite some time. But it seems it’s not doing a very sophisticated job of it, with respondents calling the remarketed ads as ‘haunting, an invasion to privacy and useless’ among many other not-so-nice names.

Almost 42 % and 44 % of the respondents remember being “followed” by ads based on their last search and last purchase respectively, said the report.

The study observed that many of the respondents, in the course of the interviews had said that online is the new destination for window-shopping. They spend quite a considerable amount of time looking for items, adding them to the cart and either getting a better deal somewhere else or abandoning the cart altogether. And then, “these items start following us everywhere”.

“Sometimes it’s good to be reminded, but then shouldn’t my search behaviour tell them if I had any intention to purchase at all?” asks Prashant, a 32 –year-old entrepreneur from Hyderabad (as quoted in the report).

Remarketing looks to be blindly following the consumer with the products they had searched for, even once, and following them everywhere, be it with travel tickets on a news site, or apparels on an online bookstore. As the consumers say, their search behaviour too should be accounted for. How many times has a product been searched for is definitely a factor worth looking into. And maybe, the relevance of the landing page with regards to the products in the ad is something that needs more attention, observes the study.

Some interesting findings of the research are as follows:



• Not bombarding consumers with ads and capping the number of impressions per day to suit consumers, not marketers. 57% of respondents commented against brands that force pre-roll video ads on YouTube as a mandatory watch as well.

• 55% and 61% of the respondents look for discounts and deals online respectively. Second on the list is the convenience that online shopping has to offer. If the price were no lesser online, respondents say they would prefer to go buy it in a store.

• Consumers are more confident buying brands they have bought and used before and brands can leverage on this familiarity to do away with the “touch and feel” constraint, especially for products priced on the higher side.

• Take the search behaviour into account too. Someone who has been on the page for ten minutes is much more likely to buy the product than someone who was there for a mere ten seconds. 44% of respondents suggested that their online purchase decision is often slower.

• To keep it specific. If someone landed on the page of a certain product is shown ads for a plethora of other remotely related products, chances are high it will really annoy the consumer.

• Contextuality of the ad matters. If someone had looked for a personal product and you remarket them the same product on every public page like a news site or an e-ticket portal, something that they may be accessing in office or with family, chances are very high that they will not look for the product again.

The report concludes that the main segment of buyers for tomorrow, the consumers in the age group of 18-25, is the smartest set of consumers the marketers have ever met. They are smarter and more demanding than any other. They are also the main influencers for all online purchase decisions in the family, which makes them even more important as a consumer segment. They want even the smallest of things customised and personalised for them, they are bored of going through pages and pages of products, they want narrower lists and they know their way around the net, they clean their cache before purchasing tickets, they know about remarketing and they know how to lose them or worse, block them. And given that they are evolving every moment, the marketers need to keep up.

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