Two thirds of advertising campaigns lack personalised experiences as marketers struggle with multi-national challenge

Rakuten Marketing data highlights the importance of smarter marketing investment as new media opportunities and international sales peaks dominate 2020 aspirations

LONDON, 22 January 2020 – New research by Rakuten Marketing finds UK marketers estimate just one in three campaigns (33%) are personalised ad campaigns, meaning many are still relying on content that cannot be changed to suit the needs of specific consumers.

This is all the more pertinent as the continued migration away from cookie-based advertising in 2020 is pushing marketers towards new, rich media channels. These include video advertising (29%) and in-app advertising (26%), which make use of GDPR-compliant first-party data – and generate greater engagement and connection – but may require greater investment.

Crucially, marketers are aware of the risks of inertia. Conducted among 600 marketers in the UK, France and Germany, the study reports 32% of respondents place ‘consumer fatigue with online ads’ among the greatest threats to marketing in 2020.

Nick Fletcher, Country Manager UK at Rakuten Marketing comments, “Marketers are increasingly struggling to reach their entire target audience across all channels at all times. The truth is it’s unsustainable. Marketers have to rationalise their approach, making data-led decisions about who it makes sense to speak to, when and via which channels.”

A precise approach

Nine in ten marketers are already responding to this need for better engagement by opting to create more relevant campaigns orientated around major sales moments in the calendar. At a European level, core seasonal peaks such as Christmas (51%) and Cyber Weekend (32%) are now joined by Prime Day (18%) and Chinese New Year (15%).

Uptake of these less locally celebrated shopping days is particularly strong among luxury fashion marketers, 22% of whom are planning to launch campaigns for Chinese New Year in the UK. This underlines a desire to capitalise on the strong appetite for UK luxury brands in APAC. These marketers also have plans for Prime Day (24%) and Singles’ Day (20%).

In France and Germany, days including Chinese New Year and Singles’ Day is a growing focus for marketers within the travel vertical. A quarter of travel businesses in France and 20% in Germany will launch Singles’ Day campaigns, while 21% of travel companies in France and 20% in Germany have planned campaigns around Chinese New Year.

Cross-border experiences

Choosing which moments to jump on is important not only because marketers are attempting to engage consumers across multiple channels, but also because they are addressing so many more regions. In France, Germany and the UK, marketers estimate at least a third of their company’s sales are now generated by overseas shoppers.

The number of campaigns aimed at international shoppers by UK marketers has grown by 35% over the last two years with the highest growth reported by luxury fashion marketers at 42%. Importantly, one in ten UK marketers are now working in regions such as Singapore, Brazil, China, Japan and the Middle East.

Nick Fletcher explains, “Going international with marketing campaigns means making fundamental alterations – from language to pricing and messaging. In some cases, price competition and discounts are essential to driving cross-border commerce, but they should not be seen as a substitute for great customer experiences. To ensure brands can replicate their success in new markets, experiences that feel personal are a must.”


The research cited in this article was taken from a study commissioned by Rakuten Marketing and conducted by Savanta in September 2019.

About Rakuten Marketing

Rakuten Marketing uses innovative, data-driven technology to help brands reach consumers with timely and authentic digital advertising experiences. Pioneering AI and machine learning, paired with unique data and inventory from the Rakuten ecosystem, enable brands to identify new audiences and re-engage existing ones. This predictive technology allows Rakuten Marketing to deliver valuable experiences people love, resulting in cost-effective performance across its integrated marketing solutions: affiliate, display and search.

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