More channels, strategies and increasingly sophisticated technology have all contributed to the consistent growth of digital advertising over recent years, growth which is set to continue as digital ad spend is predicted to increase by a further 3.5% in 2019. As more brands see the value, and necessity, of running digital advertising for acquisition and retargeting, marketers must be looking at how they can maximise the effectiveness of online advertising at every opportunity.
At a time when so much budget is being invested in the channel, ensuring you receive a significant return on marketing investment from digital advertising is essential. And we don’t just mean financial return. ROI comes in many forms, in this instance it’s equally important to look at improvements to website bounce rates and time spent on site. Yet in a recent survey of marketers, only 10% selected programmatic advertising as the digital marketing channel they perceived generated them the highest ROI, with 57% stating it generated them low to medium ROI. So, what exactly is limiting digital advertising effectiveness? And what can you do to improve the effectiveness of online advertising?
Target the right audience
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again; programmatic advertising is only as good as its audience. Developing precise audience segments to target is one of the most critical components of delivering effective advertising. Start by asking what you are trying to achieve and what you are looking to promote, then develop target audience groups that will have a high intent to engage with ads containing that specific content. Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach which favours quantity over quality - it’s more important to get your ads seen by the right people, than simply as many people as possible. You should be building user profiles that combine:
- Context - session events (what actions they have taken during their session) and shopping mode (are they browsers, researchers, product focused, bargain hunters, or one-time shoppers)
- Profile - behaviour (their interests, purchase history, browsing patterns etc.)
- Demographics - persona data (age, location, gender etc.)
By linking all these elements, you’ll be able to engage users based on not only who they are, but also their motivations and needs. You should also continue to target these audience segments with the same relevant experience during the rest of their journey.
Value impressions as well as clicks
How many times have you seen an ad, seemingly ignored it, only to visit that brand’s website at a later date? You might not have realised, or even made the connection, but the chances are; if you’ve seen an impactful advert, you probably went on to visit that website at some point. With an average click through rate (CTR) of 0.14% for display ads (July 2018), it’s clear that online advertising effectiveness isn’t dependant on clicks alone. If it were, brands most certainly wouldn’t be pumping so much budget into the channel. This is where we must also focus on the value of impressions, and how to maximise every single ad view.
An impression refers to the point at which a visitor views an advert. To create lasting impressions, not only must ads be visually engaging and clearly display your brand and products, they must also be highly relevant for your audience and their motivations. This includes placement on contextually relevant websites. By delivering content relevant to the segments you want to target, you’re also likely to improve viewability, one of the ad industry’s main challenges. You should be optimising ads for viewability to increase the chance of your audience scrolling and seeing your advert.
But digital advertising effectiveness isn’t achieved solely once you’ve gained an impression. The real power lies in what happens next; what happens when they land on your website?
Connect ads to the onsite experience
All too often, there is a disconnect between paid advertising and onsite experiences, and very few brands are able to truly link an ad click or view, whether that be display, video or PPC, with a site visit. With bounce rates from paid ads hitting over 65%, it leaves us questioning how brands can improve the onsite experience to engage visitors from the very first moment they arrive.
It's simply unrealistic for brands to create 100s of landing pages for every ad. As a result, audiences that visit a website after simply viewing an ad are often met with a generic webpage, with little relevance to the ad they saw. The same often goes for those who click. While there is more chance that they will be greeted with a relevant landing page matching the ad, more often than not, brands will direct them to a category or homepage.
Brands must be doing more to personalise the onsite experience for every visitor so that regardless of their journey, they are immediately presented with the most relevant website content.
Websites should deliver on the promises made in adverts. If someone landed due to a promotion, make them feel recognised by resurfacing that offer. If someone landed without seeing any form of promotion, show them something different - or risk losing unnecessary margins with customers that were going to buy anyway.
In failing to personalise, brands risk losing out on valuable conversions as currently 98% of all ecommerce website visitors leave without making a purchase. By connecting ads to the onsite experience and understanding not just who customers are but their true intent, brands can align content with the type of advert viewed, without the need for a visitor to even click. By intelligently and seamlessly linking offsite and onsite, visitors will be shown what they are looking for, every time.
Let's look at an example...
I am browsing online and see an advert from a shoe brand advertising three pairs of white sports shoes. It catches my eye, but I’m not ready to act. The next day, I decide that I would like some new shoes so type the brand name into my search engine and visit their website. What happens next varies based on how connected the offsite and onsite experiences are:
- Option 1) I could land on the website homepage and see a generic homepage. From there, I have to navigate my way round the website until I find the product I was looking for. In this time, there’s a possibility that I could get distracted and leave or simply not find what I wanted and give up.
- Option 2) If advertising is more connected to onsite, I could land on the website and be presented with the same three pairs of shoes I saw in the ad that encouraged me to visit. This would immediately engage me with the website and help me to easily purchase the product I was looking for.
Undoubtedly, option two has the better outcome. By improving the relevancy of the onsite experience for every visitor driven by digital advertising, campaign performance is likely to significantly improve, particularly influencing time spent on site, engagement and ultimately conversions.
For brands looking to maximise return on marketing investment from digital advertising, looking beyond the ad to onsite is essential. Advertising and marketing must work together to ensure every customer has a seamless experience, across every channel, that is aligned to what they are looking for and why.
At Ve, we’re pioneering the future of digital advertising with a first of its kind integration between digital advertising and onsite experiences. Whether you use our in-house DSP or a third party, we can help you connect any paid advertising to the onsite experience, helping you deliver visitors with the most relevant and engaging content after every ad view.