According to Nielsen, the research and measurement firm, the overall UK success rate of 53% is lower than in Germany (58%) and Italy (57%), although it is significantly better than in France (43%).
That is based on a study involving 3,400 UK campaigns that ran between April and June 2016, which formed part of wider analysis of more than 44,000 campaigns across 17 countries.
Nielsen's benchmarks report revealed that travel (66%) is the marketing category most likely to reach its online target audience in the UK, followed by entertainment (64%) and business & consumer services (63%).
Looking at the data covering the European Union, the most successful categories at reaching their desired audiences are also travel (65%), followed by business & consumer services (60%), then entertainment and financial services (both 57%).
However, according to the findings for both the UK and the wider EU, the FMCG and retail sectors are seen to be struggling to reach their target audiences.
Just 42% of retail marketers reach their desired audience in the UK, rising to 49% in the EU, while the UK and EU rates for FMCG digital marketing campaigns stand at 40% and 42% respectively.
The report also found that mobile ad campaigns are getting better at reaching their intended audiences, although accuracy depends significantly on the particular demographic that campaigns seek to engage.
For example, mobile ad impressions reach their target audience 33% of the time in the UK if targeted at one gender across a medium age range spanning 16-30 years. That compares to 28% on desktop.
But for a narrow age range spanning less than 16 years, 22% of mobile impressions reach their target audience, compared with 20% on desktop.
"Although 100% accuracy is likely to remain a pipe dream, a school report on digital technology’s ability to hit specific audiences might read 'could do better'," said Barney Farmer, Nielsen's marketing effectiveness director in the UK & Ireland.
"However, in fairness, it's more precise than traditional media, and performance is improving all the time, particularly on mobile whose superiority in reaching narrower audiences reinforces its status as the most highly personal ad medium," he added.
The Nielsen report comes as a recent article for Warc, as part of its Toolkit 2017, provides further detail about how to achieve marketing effectiveness in the digital age and explains how FMCG marketers, in particular, can improve their targeting.
Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff