LONDON: Only half of online ad impressions served in the UK that were targeted at women actually ended up reaching them, according to a new analysis of 60,000 campaigns across 20 countries.

Measurement firm Nielsen said that there was a 62% success hit rate for campaigns that targeted men in the UK, with the discrepancy even worse for campaigns that targeted consumers aged 18 to 34.

Among this age group, just 22% of ad impressions reached women compared with 33% reaching men, according to Nielsen’s examination of data from campaigns that ran through 31 December 2016.

And the overall hit rate for women in Europe was even lower (46%) than in the UK, with just 45% of ad impressions reaching women in Germany, and 49% in France, although Italy fared better with two-thirds (66%) of ads successfully served.

“Online advertising has plenty of room for improvement in hitting advertisers’ desired audiences, particularly women,” said Barney Farmer, Nielsen’s UK Commercial Director.

“Various things that can make a difference are better use of the available technology, incorporating wider sources of data, particularly first party data, as well as buyers taking more action on the insights they’ve got from previous campaigns to improve future results,” he added.

However, on a more positive note, Nielsen found that mobile proved to be one area where advertisers were much better at targeting women than men.

Among mobile campaigns targeted at 25-44 year-olds, 37% of impressions were successfully served to women, compared to just 22% among men – or nearly double the on-target rate.

For campaigns aiming to reach both men and women, the study also revealed that mobile outperformed desktop, having a higher on-target hit rate in six of the nine age breakdowns in the UK. In Europe, mobile outperformed in 12 out of 13 age breakdowns.

By sector, travel and business/consumer service, online marketers were the most likely to reach their target audience (both 67%), followed by entertainment (65%).

However, retail (42%) and FMCG (43%) marketers struggled, although FMCG was much more successful on mobile (52%) than desktop (42%), as were computers and electronics (60% versus 51%).

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by WARC staff