Australians either don’t like targeted ads or consciously ignore them, Laura Demasi, research director for The Mind & Mood report, told B&T.
“You’d be hard pressed to find anyone say something positive about the practice,” Demasi said.
Women over 40 stood out in the qualitative Digital Communities report for being targeted with “crudely stereotypical advertising”.
One over-40 female respondent complained about receiving ’53 year old mum looks 37’ and dating for seniors ads: “I look at them and think, hurrumph, why am I getting that?”
Another said: “I’ve got single on my status and now they advertising all these dating sites on the side. It’s rude.”
Those involved in the study also described targeted ads as “creepy” and said it feels like they are being watched by Big Brother.
“It’s so much harder to discover anything new these days. It’s like you have this digital ghost of who you are hovering over you. It’s horrifying,” one respondent said.
But consumers are not adverse to engaging with brands on social media – as long as they are given the option.
“You have the polar opposite with opt-in forms of digital advertising like following Facebook brand pages,” Demasi explained.
“Giving people a choice to engage with you is incredibly powerful. They have some sense of ownership, they feel like they’re getting something out of it, and they like you for it.”
Offering freebies is one way to build brand engagement on social media, according to the study which found 49% of Australians feel more connected to brands that offer discounts.
The figure jumps up to 58% among women but drops to 36% for men.