Online advertising and media buying is a huge topic. There are so many ins and outs, best practices and things to think about. In this post, I wanted to touch on a few key points that I find myself making again and again when discussing effective digital advertising with our clients.
We’ve all heard the marketing cliché, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” This could not be more true for online advertising if you don’t have the proper tracking in place.
When launching a new website, make sure tracking is set-up properly at the beginning. Identify your KPIs and create a corresponding measurement plan. Too many websites launch with haphazard tracking, and then the dev and marketing teams are playing catch-up. Other priorities like fixing bugs take precedent, and the tracking issues get put on the back burner.
A lack of tracking can lead to big problems down the road when you don’t know how to spend your budget in the most effective way, because you don’t have any data to guide you in what is actually working. Having tracking in place also gives you leverage with publishers when negotiating renewals. If you can show a publisher the value you are receiving from a campaign is low in relation to the cost of the campaign, then the publisher may be willing to accommodate a lower price point in line with your expectations. If you don’t have tracking in place, you don’t have a leg to stand on. Tracking ensures that you have data to justify decisions and demonstrate the value of your campaigns.
We all know advertising is about reaching the right target audience with our campaigns. This, however, does not just come down to demographics. You might have the ideal audience, but you might not be reaching them when they are actually interested in your offer or when they are ready to take action.
For instance, we ran a campaign on a well-known Q&A site where users help each other with their tech problems. Despite the site having razor-thin targeting options, which allowed us to serve ads only on pages where questions relevant to the advertiser’s product offering were being asked, the campaign did not perform to expectations. The learning was that those who are seeking tech support are generally not in the stage of the buying cycle where they are looking to purchase; they’re just looking for help with the issue at hand. A campaign like this might be effective for generating brand awareness, but it isn’t going to be effective for direct-response.
Of course when it comes to digital advertising, your actual ad design and creative plays a large role in the efficacy of your campaign. Getting this right is easier said than done, especially in the web hosting and B2B technology space. It can be hard to visually illustrate your offer. Too often tech companies go with a flashing banner shouting out price, major specs, or stock pictures of beautiful people. Does that Kate Upton look-alike actually respond to your support tickets? Of course not… and sex doesn’t sell servers. Try focusing on differentiating factors like the niche market you serve, use reliability factors like awards and stats, mention marquee customers and promote service level guarantees. These will go further to support your credibility.
Things are shifting in digital advertising, as we discussed in our previous post about AdBlock and their push to support non-intrusive advertising. People are not only learning to ignore the flashing ads, they can get downright annoyed by them. Ad creative must evolve away from the flashy and annoying to the tasteful. Remember too that it must be clear that your ad is indeed an ad. A design too subtle and you might end up frustrating people that did not realize they were actually clicking on an advertisement. You don’t want to trick anyone into resenting your brand.
So don’t try to cut corners on your ad creative – this is a hugely important piece to the puzzle. Slapping any old banner ad up will most likely not be enough to get you returns.
These are just a few of the tips I share with clients when developing and managing media campaigns. Have any more suggestions for effective advertising? Please share your insights in the comments!
Need a hand to ensure that you have the above covered? Whether we take the reins of your entire media buying campaign or assist you with specific aspects of execution, we’re here to offer customized support. Click here to learn more about our online media buying services or just get in touch with us today to start the conversation about how we can help.