If the rise of digital has taught marketers anything, it s that advertising must be highly relevant to achieve any kind of cut-through, but there is one proviso: consumers are willing to accept targeted ads only if they do not intrude on their privacy.

According to a Millward Brown survey exploring video — the ad format of the moment — 41 percent of respondents are receptive to ads targeted on their interests, yet just 25 percent are receptive to ads that use their browsing history for basic retargeting.

It s no coincidence that with marketers still relying on cookies, cookie synching and fingerprinting, the adoption of ad blockers continues to rise, with usage growing by 48 percent last year in the US alone.

This makes the setting of an ad crucial to its success and something marketers must consider to achieve maximum relevance and minimal irritation.

Ads that blend in with their environment can be used to enhance the personal relevance of messaging without overstepping privacy boundaries; one study found 60 percent of users prefer ads targeted to what they are doing — content consumption included.

When ads do not take their surroundings into account, brands risk wasting campaign spend and damaging their reputation through inappropriate ad placements, as demonstrated earlier this year when ads supporting US presidential candidates appeared beside terrorist-related content on YouTube.

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