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Ellen Hammett 

Brands struggling to target women online

Brands struggling to target women online

New research from Nielsen reveals that brands are having difficulty reaching their target audiences - especially young women.

Of the 60,000 campaigns measured across 20 countries, only 50% of ad impressions served in the UK that were aimed at women were actually served to women, compared to the 62% success hit rate when targeting men.

The figure decreased significantly for ads targeting 18-34 year olds, with just 22% successfully reaching women and 33% reaching men.

Overall, 54% of ad impressions were delivered to the audience they were meant for.

“Online advertising has plenty of room for improvement in hitting advertisers’ desired audiences, particularly women,” said Barney Farmer, Nielsen’s UK commercial director.

“Various things that can make a difference are better use of the available technology, incorporating wider sources of data, particularly first party data, as well as buyers taking more action on the insights they’ve got from previous campaigns to improve future results.”

By sector, Travel and Business/Consumer Services marketers were the most likely to reach their desired audience (both 67%) followed by Entertainment (65%).

In contrast, Retail (42%) and FMCG (43%) marketers struggled most to reach their target audience. However, FMCG had a much higher hit rate on mobile (52%) than desktop (42%), as did Computers/Electronics (60% vs. 51%).

The research also showed that for campaigns aiming to reach both men and women, mobile outperformed desktop - having a higher on-target hit rate for six of the nine age breakdowns.

Advertisers were also found to be much better at targeting women via mobile than men; among mobile campaigns targeted at 25-44 year olds, 37% of impressions were successfully served to women, compared to just 22% among men - almost double the on-target rate.

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TimElkington, Chief Digital Officer, IAB UK on 10 Aug 2017
“For advertisers and agencies looking to target women online, UKOM – industry governed, multi-platform audience measurement in partnership with comScore - is a great place to start. The finding that advertisers were found to be better at targeting women via mobile than men is no surprise given females’ platform usage. Today 69% of women’s time online is on mobile devices compared to only 58% for men. This is even higher when looking at 18-24 females (76%) and 25-54 mums (74%).

From our perspective, it isn't a case of brands struggling to target women but an opportunity to use digital to target audiences in the way that most suits them and best chimes with their browsing behaviour.”