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Reaching Consumers Online: The New “Norm”al for Digital Ads
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Reaching Consumers Online: The New “Norm”al for Digital Ads

There’s no doubt that online advertising has seen tremendous growth in recent years, but advertisers and publishers alike are still unsure if their campaigns are successfully reaching their desired audiences. A new benchmark study from Nielsen provides much-needed context into online advertising performance—and found that some consumers are easier to reach than others.

The study was based on the average on-target percentage from nearly 5,000 campaigns measured by Nielsen Online Campaign RatingsTM.

While not all campaigns are equal, precision marketing is having an impact online

In a perfect world, ads would reach their intended audience all of the time. While we’re a ways from that, benchmark on-target percentages demonstrate that precision marketing is working.

For example, the vast majority (76%) of online campaigns geared toward consumers ages 18-49—the standard TV demo—reached that audience. These consumers make up just half (51%) of the online audience, demonstrating that online campaigns are generally successful at marketing to specific audiences.

Younger consumers are easier to reach than older ones

Ad campaigns geared toward consumers ages 21-34 reach their intended audience 62 percent of the time. Campaigns focused on reaching consumers ages 35-54, on the other hand, reach them just 41 percent of the time. This is despite the fact that those 21-34 represent less than a quarter of the online population (22%), compared with one-third for consumers 35-54.

Average On-Target Percentage for Specific Age and Gender Breaks

Age 12+ 18+ 18-24 21-34 18-34 25-44 35-54 25-49 25-54 35-64 18-49
Age Span (Years)     7 14 17 20 20 25 30 30 32
persons 98% 92% * 62% 60% 48% 41% 52% 58% 52% 76%
females * 76% * * 46% 32% 28% 38% 42% 39% 56%
males * * 22% 38% 46% * * * 42% 39% 56%
Note: Age and gender norms are available for demo breaks that had sufficient data to meet the minimum requirements for inclusion.
Source: Nielsen

Specific Age and Gender Breaks as Percentage of U.S. Online Population

Age 12+ 18+ 18-24 21-34 18-34 25-44 35-54 25-49 25-54 35-64 18-49
Age Span (Years)     7 14 17 20 20 25 30 30 32
persons 93% 87% 10% 22% 26% 33% 34% 41% 50% 49% 51%
females 50% 47% 5% 11% 13% 18% 19% 22% 27% 27% 27%
males 43% 40% 5% 11% 13% 15% 15% 19% 23% 22% 24%
Note: Age and gender norms are available for demo breaks that had sufficient data to meet the minimum requirements for inclusion.
Source: Nielsen