The customer journey is a complex beast. A lot of times, I'll talk about the marketing funnel like it's this simple elegant thing, but it is anything but.
Depending on your industry or product, your shoppers could spend 6-8 hours online researching for e-commerce purchases and over 6-8 weeks researching options and competitors for their B2B software purchases.
How many touchpoints do you think that ads up to? How many targeted channels could you deploy within a week that would increase the effectiveness of your funnel? What I love about display ads is how fast you can deploy, test, and learn how they impact your customers throughout the funnel. The ability to deploy creative to targeted audiences based on their behavior with a large number of impressions is very valuable to marketers.
Strengths and Weaknesses of Display Advertising During The Awareness Stage
Display advertising can be one of the easiest ways to get your brand in front of your target audience. Adding a display can be a good shot in the arm for a business if done right.
- Cheap- Because inventory for display advertising is in abundance the prices are generally cheaper than other forms of advertising.
- Low Lift- You can go from concept while driving to work to serving ads by lunchtime.
- Create - Static ads can be created pretty easily in almost all digital art programs, or you can use affordable online solutions like creatopy to make some elegant animated ads.
- Launch - There are a lot of good and easy-to-use display advertising platforms out there depending on your industry and needs.
- Traffic & Branding - Display ads can be an easy way to grow your funnel and drive traffic to your website, but to think past that. They are a great way to introduce new customers to your brand. You could easily create an awareness campaign that catches a customer's attention, and then serve them 3-5 ads per day about different ways you could make their life easier. Even if they don't click on the ad you are able to easily enter them into your sphere.
- Waste - Most brands miss with display, and you can see them spending tons of money on display ads that generate traffic. But the traffic is poor and they haven't set up the proper reporting to help them optimize their display campaigns. If you don't know if you are wasting money or not read this article on why you need a reliable growth marketer.
- Limited Impact - You can only say so much on a display ad. You have to do a lot on that little banner so you have to focus your message on one specific thought. I think I remember Jay Baer talking about marketing as building a house, and different touchpoints have different weights. A display ad would be one shingle. You need a lot of shingles to build a house.
What to Measure When Optimizing an Awareness Campaign for New Visitors
Let's say there is a marketer that launched a display campaign and has the wrong metric as their North Star. Let's call him Marketing Michael. Marketing Michael lumped all his display campaigns together and set his North Star as the cost per click (CPC). Over the last three months, he's been able to optimize his CPC down to 23 cents! Yay Michael! But... his bounce rate from display ads is 96%, and his cost per engaged visitor is over $50. Don't be Michael. Below is a list of what you should measure for your awareness display campaigns. Make sure to set these up so that they can isolate and measure each campaign and ad separately.
- CTR - Click Through Rate
- Cost Per Click
- Cost Per New Visitor
- New Visitor Bounce Rate
- Cost Per Engaged Visit (>2 Pages)
What To Test
The first thing I set out to test for is the click-through rate. I want to optimize how my target audience is connecting with my creativity. I will create around 12 variations of my display ads with different messaging. Mostly the same creative. I just want to test the messaging. Then after 10-14 days, I cut the bottom two. I might add more two more if the click-through rate across the ads is low, but then I'll move on to the CTA. For me, those two components have the biggest impact on CTR.
If you have a healthy CTR, but feel like your bounce rate is high. Then think about testing your landing page. Where are you sending the traffic? Maybe you need a dedicated landing page for this campaign before you send them off to a product page. Rarely does anyone click on a display ad and then purchase. It happens.... but rarely.
Start creating theories for why something is performing the way it is. Talk it out with a co-worker for practice talking through why this creative is working with this audience but isn't generating an engaged traffic source. Don't just read the data, describe it with a narrative. Then create a list of variables that you should test. This will obviously improve the campaign, but doing this over and over will hone your instincts and help you start up successful campaigns faster in the future.
Top 4 Things to Test with Your Display Advertising Campaigns
- Ad creative
- Landing Page
As always, head over to the contact page or reach out to me on Linkedin or Twitter if you want to chat. Hope there were at least a few things here that you will take into consideration before your next campaign.
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