Consumers are willing to welcome companies into their living rooms, but they have to feel the interaction aids them and they are not simply “being marketed to", according to a new survey from YouGov. 

The Digital Innovation: Surviving the Next Wave of Change report assesses how marketers can ready themselves for forthcoming technological advances. The results suggest that contact through personal digital assistants is set to present a new range of opportunities to brands, despite ongoing and widespread public apprehension about individualisation in marketing.

YouGov’s research suggests that many Britons would be happy for personal digital assistants (such as the Amazon Echo) to aid them across a wide range of tasks. Such widespread acceptance of the benefits technology opens the door for personalisation to enter the mainstream and a valuable arena for marketers.

More than four in ten consumers say they would let a personal digital assistant either help them with or undertake activities such as the upkeep of their vehicle (43%), monitoring their diet or fitness (both 43%), recommending holidays (42%), and suggesting new things to try (41%). Meanwhile, more than a third would let them assist with or do such tasks such as recommending leisure activities (38%), sorting out home finances (35%), and assisting with grocery shopping (34%).

Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov, said:: “New technologies such as personal digital assistants and virtual reality are building momentum and are on the cusp of entering the mainstream. Both would represent a big leap forward for marketers as brands can get an even closer, more human, look at who their customers are. If consumers feel they will benefit, through these technologies they will share a wealth of information with brands, from the make-up of their families, the music they like and even their route into work. This allows marketers to be much more subtle in how they tailor ads and information to individuals and could even end up feeding directly into the development of new products.”

However, despite the potential widespread appeal of personal digital assistants, there continues to be widespread scepticism of the individualisation of marketing in general. Approaching half (45%) of British consumers are not happy with the idea of any personalisation of the information, recommendations and advertising they receive, a figure that increases with age.

This is particularly true when it comes to advertising. YouGov Profiles data shows that more than half (54%) of Britons feel “creeped out” by personalised adverts and approaching six in ten (57%) say that seeing adverts that are too personal can “put me off clicking on them.”


By Jonathan Davies, editor, Digital Marketing Magazine

GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at

comments powered by Disqus