Over 75 million US internet users will use ad blockers in 2017, slightly more than a quarter of the total US internet population. To be clear, consumers are not rejecting advertising per se, just irrelevant ads: 83% of people agree with the statement: “Not all ads are bad, but I want to filter out the really obnoxious ones.”

Spray and pray tactics have become a liability for brands as consumers tune out irrelevant offers. Brands’ only option to be heard in this increasingly cluttered landscape is to focus on providing consistent, targeted, and relevant content and messaging. Just over half of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if a brand does not make an effort to personalize communications, and 65% say that personalization influences their loyalty to a brand.

Data and targeting

The rewards for leader brands are self-evident: 63% of millennial consumers agree they are willing to share data with companies that send personalized offers and discounts. Building personal experiences for consumers fuels a positive feedback loop that benefits brand product innovation and marketing and, therefore, further benefits consumers themselves.

This is why it’s so important for brands to double down on an area they have traditionally put little focus behind: clearly explaining how they use customer data and what benefits accrue to the consumer.

As brands increasingly compete for consumer attention, a notice of clear value exchange becomes necessary. This has already become a hallmark of leading brands. Right off the bat, 92% of brands analyzed in L2’s Data and Targeting report fail to supply a prominent and succinct explanation of their use of cookies. While 78% make some effort to explain the benefits of signing up for an account, only half clearly explain the benefits of signing up for an email newsletter.

Once consumers make the leap to register for a brand site account or email newsletter, they are largely unable to customize the content and benefits they wish to receive. During the account signup process, only 11% of analyzed brands prompt users for their content preferences, and only 13% offer the ability to choose the frequency of email communications.

Brands can ill afford not to get better at deploying such “table stakes” on their sites. This might be yesterday’s nice-to-have, but today it is increasingly emerging as a key competitive tool for retaining and gaining customers.

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