Survey: 3 Out Of 4 Consumers Now Notice Retargeted Ads


The curtain has been lifted. Consumers are overwhelmingly aware they are being tracked and advertised to by retailers whose sites they’ve visited. A new survey from Marketing Land and SurveyMonkey finds this and other interesting insights on how consumers view site retargeting.

As behavioral targeting comes of age with ever more ways to target consumers based on actions they’ve taken online, it’s not surprising more consumers are becoming savvy about being retargeted on Facebook and the web at large.

The level of awareness may surprise you, though. The survey, which focused on site retargeting specifically, found that over 75 percent of respondents said they have noticed being retargeted in this way.

consumers know they are being retargeted marketing land

Consumers know that retailers know they’ve visited the site and want them to come back. The fact that awareness is so high underscores the need for marketers to execute retargeting campaigns with care, being mindful of the types of offers they show, impression capping, conversion filtering and campaign duration.

Affect On Purchasing Decisions

Of the 75 percent of consumers who said they have noticed being retargeted, 8.7 percent said they had been reminded to revisit the advertiser’s website and 7.4 percent said they had responded to an offer in the ad. The largest percentage of consumers, 46 percent, said they ignore the ads. Another 38 percent said they are put off by the ads, underscoring the need for marketers to be cognizant of the unease many consumers feel about being tracked online.

Still the data signals why retargeting campaigns have proven so effective in getting consumers back to retailers’ sites by maintaining share of mind as consumers continue to browse the web and by featuring special offers in the ads.

“How have those ads affected your purchasing decisions?”

  • I have been reminded to revisit the retailer’s website as a result of those ads — 8.65%
  • I have responded to a special offer in those ads — 7.37%
  • I ignore them — 46.15%
  • I am put off by those ads — 37.82%

While the percentages of consumers who admit to having been influenced by site retargeting ads may appear low, most marketers would be very pleased with 7 percent click-through conversion rates and 8 percent view-through conversion rates from their retargeting campaigns.

Concern About Retargeting

The numbers of consumers who expressed a lot or some concern about being tracked by retailers topped 53 percent. These numbers may be higher than  an earlier study this year found for several reasons, including heightened awareness of internet tracking brought out this summer with the reports of NSA tracking as well as the increased awareness, in general, about how retargeting works. Close to half (46 percent) of respondents indicated either a neutral or unconcerned reaction to being retargeted by retailers.

“How concerned are you that retailers can show you ads for their products after you have visited their websites?”

  • Very concerned — 18.87%
  • Somewhat concerned — 34.80%
  • Neither concerned, nor unconcerned — 29.41%
  • Somewhat unconcerned — 6.86%
  • Very unconcerned — 10.05%

Concern, of course, doesn’t mean some portion of those consumers don’t in fact react to or are influenced by retargeting ads. Facebook Exchange (FBX) retargeting vendor, Triggit, last week reported click-through rates on FBX ads nearly doubled and conversion rates were up 34 percent on Cyber Monday compared to the previous year. It’s no wonder one in five marketers now has a dedicated budget for retargeting.

For more on the survey, see Greg Sterling’s Survey: Majority Use Smartphones In Stores, Not For E-Commerce and, Matt McGee’s coverage on our sister site Search Engine Land, Brand Bias: 70% Of Consumers Look For Known Retailers When Doing Product Searches.

The survey was conducted on November 21-22, 2013 by Marketing Land and SurveyMonkey. Results were collected with a 95 percent confidence interval and a 5 percent margin of error from more than 400 Americans using SurveyMonkey Audience.

Summary Of Findings & Complete Survey Data

Related coverage of the survey results: 

Related Topics: Channel: Display Advertising | Display Advertising | Retargeting & Remarketing | Statistics | Statistics: Online Behavior | Top News


About The Author: writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting. Beyond Search Engine Land, Ginny provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter

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  • Chynna Ashley

    Add-ons such as AdPlus ( would be able to help consumers choose which adverts they want to see instead. Win/win for all! :)

  • Scott Clark

    “I am put off by those ads” = “I am put off by ANY ads”

  • Jomer Gregorio

    I noticed this too! From Adsense and Facebook. Personally, I think its a great tool if used properly. Most people still have that “procrastination” when it comes to signing to a product or service due to various reasons. But if you can help solve those uneasy thoughts that your customers have by retargeted ads, then I think your campaign will be a success.

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