Popping the filter bubble will improve the online brand experience

AdobeStock_125319928 (1).jpeg

Independent media agency the7stars and our client Newsworks partnered with Flamingo London to conduct a new piece of research revealing that 63% of the nation want more serendipitous online content.

“This study reveals there is a huge opportunity for brands and media owners if they pop people’s filter bubbles in a way that is sophisticated. It shows just how complex the digital world shaped by preferences, ad-blocking and algorithms has become.”

Helen Rose, Head of Insights, the7stars,

This study set out to understand how brands should navigate a digital information environment where search and social algorithms create artificial information filter bubbles around individuals. It found that most consumers are not aware that their online information experiences are being limited by social media and search preference algorithms.

It also revealed that while UK consumers have a strong desire to discover fresh ideas, news, or useful information, poor ad targeting is nudging them into defensive mode, where they bar or ignore irrelevant and intrusive information.

The research suggests media planners, brands and advertising tech companies need far more subtle and sophisticated approaches to digital advertising combining planning and improved data targeting and re-targeting. The research found consumers want more serendipitous content online from brands with more choosing positive words such as “curious” (33%), “surprised” (27%) and “intrigued” (25%) than negative words such as “annoyed” (17%) or “irritated” (18%) when asked how they feel when they see ads that are relevant but unexpected.

In contrast, when asked to choose words they associate with expected advertising based on recent searches or expressed interests the majority of consumer chose words such as “targeted” (37%), “intrusive” (30%) and “annoying” (26%) with words such as “clever” and “timely” attracting far lower values.

The study found that while consumers understand the connection between their search behaviour and online preferences with ads that are served to them, they are less clear about how social media and search algorithms limit their access to online information in general.

It found 82% of UK consumers have never heard of the term “filter bubble” and 58% do not know that their Google search results are personalised, while 65% “disagree” that the news they see on Facebook is matched to their personal profiles.

The research showed news consumption is drawn from a healthy mix of sources. While 44% said they consumed news presented by Facebook, 63% use TV news programme; 77% consume print or digital news brands. When asked which their preferred source of news was, 32% of UK consumers chose print or digital news brands, 25% TV news programmes and 9% chose Facebook.

Our client Denise Turner, Insight Director at Newsworks, said: “As we go into a general election we’ve found that almost half of news consumers would prefer not to have a news service filtered by an algorithm and most would prefer to discover new information and ideas. It also shows that while social media is an important part in people’s news diets, proven news brands are more likely to be people’s first choice for news information.” 

This article originally featured in Research Live

Image source: Adobe