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Kiwis prefer convenience to personal privacy online

While many New Zealanders may claim to be jealous of their online privacy – even critical of advertisers stalking them online – the results of advertising personalisation and retargeting campaigns suggest the opposite is true.

CEO of Auckland digital marketing agency Insight Online, Kim Voon, said that retargeting and personalised advertising campaigns can yield between five and ten times the success rates of regular online advertising campaigns.

“That says to me that most Kiwis are less protective of their online privacy, than some may like to believe, mainly if it makes our lives easier. We could argue that Kiwis put convenience ahead of privacy.

“The reality is that you are far more likely to sell something to somebody who has heard of your brand than you are to somebody who has not. It’s the reason why retargeting isn’t going away anytime soon.”

Voon said that the New Zealand experience is supported by international research.
One survey of more than a thousand people found that 67.9% of those surveyed believed it is acceptable to receive product recommendations based on purchase history, while 52.4% were fine with seeing an advertisement from a recently visited website.

Interestingly, 59.6% of respondents believe that their phone or laptop actively listens to their conversations to show them personalised promotions, but only 21% thought that this was acceptable.

“The thing is that advertisers aren’t tracking you personally. Their campaigns are automatic responses to your browser identity. If you log-on using another computer or browser, the programming will not know it’s you – we give the technology more credit than it deserves.”

Voon said there are a few ways for companies to capture consumer information.

“Obvious ones are identifying the browser identity of the visitor to your website – many sites will inform the visitor that the website uses cookies (a piece of code used for this purpose) -- or by capturing the email addresses with, for example, a free book offer.

“The important thing is not to resort to sleazy tactics, like using a person’s information without their consent. Beyond that it certainly appears that most Kiwis are happy to receive offers personalised to their shopping preferences,” Voon said.

Voon suggests the following three tips to help marketers retarget prospective customers:

1. Don’t be creepy
Voon said the technology certainly exists to be able to use a potential customer’s first name in a digital advert.

“But I think that’s creepy. Enjoy the benefits that remarketing offers you, in terms of being able to sell to somebody who recognises your brand, but also be respectful.”

2. Avoid repetition
Voon said the first step in being smart about remarketing is understanding that there is value in getting your brand in front of people who have already visited your website, but there is such a thing as too much.

“If somebody sees your advert on every single website for the next week or two, it’s too much. Don’t annoy your potential customers because that kind of repetition is precisely what’s likely to make them feel that maybe their privacy is threatened.”

3. Keep an obvious next step in mind.
Voon said once somebody is on your list because they have visited your website, it is time to think about the next step – ask yourself what they would need to hear or do next.

“Segment your audience and develop a conversion sequence for each of those niches. If they have visited your website to view a product, then perhaps offering them a discount coupon is a logical next step.”

Voon said he was not surprised by the international research on how people feel about remarketing and advert personalisation.

“I don’t think we’re any different in New Zealand. I don’t think we are as ‘hung-up’ about our privacy, when it comes to our online shopping and browsing habits, as some people would have you believe – indeed our results suggest people appreciate the convenience and attentiveness.”

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