4 July 2017

82% of UK Consumers Don’t Know About the Filter Bubble

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James Ashe, Managing Partner

Over three-quarters of UK consumers don’t realise that their social media feeds are curated for them based on algorithms, and it’s having an effect on the way that they view advertising.

The ‘filter bubble’ is becoming a hot topic in the marketing world. As marketeers look for new, innovative ways to advertise on social platforms, they have to understand how an advert will work within the context of an individual’s feed. The filter bubble, as it’s known, is a way to describe your unique social media feed, filtered and changed by algorithms and search engine to match your interests and to promote the people you interact with most – they’re living in a bubble of their own making.

In a recent study, it was found that 82% of people didn’t know what the term meant, and didn’t realise the implication that their filter bubble had on their social networks or their search preferences. For better or worse, the filter bubble is affecting the way that people view advertising on digital platforms, with more and more people starting to recognise blatant advertising that isn’t targeted in a way that corresponds with their own personal interests.

The study showed that consumers were reasonably happy with the adverts they were shown on social media, but only if those adverts corresponded with their interests. Around 52% of participants didn’t mind seeing adverts related to their hobbies and interests. However, only 37% were happy to see retargeting ads related to products they were yet to buy or had already bought in the past and just 19% were interested in adverts that were related to their age.

It seems that hyper-targeting – choosing an audience for your adverts based on data like their age, gender, location, and familial situation – is no longer as effective as it once was.

It’s not to say that hyper-targeting doesn’t have its place – for example, when marketing a local event, you need to ensure that you’re reaching the correct demographic to maximise ticket sales. During our campaign for the Chateau Impney Hill Climb, we used hyper-targeting on Facebook to great effect, targeting interested parties who had recently attended other classic motor racing events and effectively increasing sales.

However, catering to specific hobbies and interests, rather than making assumptions based on age and gender, makes perfect sense – if a user is already clicking on those types of posts, they’re far more likely to interact with your brand in the end.

Craving more digital marketing advice? Read some of our other blogs:

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