Sales & Marketing

Online advertising
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The dos and don’ts of online advertising

3 Mins

Do retarget previous visitors to your website

Many retailers fall into the common trap of running generic retargeting display campaigns. The result is usually customers who feel at best irritated, worst still harassed.

By creating a retargeting structure that determines when an ad will actually help a customer, and importantly when it won’t, brands can ensure they add real value rather than unhelpful spam.

Implementing a new retargeting structure for B&Q resulted in a reduction in the cost of sale by 90 per cent. The new approach also increased basket size with shoppers spending 60 per cent more than they were prior to the changes.

Another example comes from AirAsia. By retargeting recent website visitors who didn’t convert with information about flight routes rather than rates messaging, the airline improved engagement, sales and brand perception during a difficult year for the brand.

Don’t be too general – don’t try to sell toilet seats to people searching for kitchen supplies

An obvious win is to help your audience by serving them with precisely what they are searching for. For example, B&Q has a massive range of products, upwards of 40,000, and someone looking for a kitchen will have a different need to someone looking to buy some screws.  As a simple rule of thumb, prioritise what your user needs to buy over what you need to sell.

Do adapt your creative to communicate directly with the consumer

Real-time automation enables us to tweak messaging based on an audience’s behaviour, moment by moment. Embrace this opportunity to connect more meaningfully with individuals based on what you know about them: products they are viewing, whether they have shopped with you before, and so on.

To capitalise fully on dynamic advertising, our strategies need to be dynamic too. The Economist nailed this approach, assessing page context and viewer profiles in real time to serve up jarringly appropriate ads that directed people to an Economist content hub, with a call to action to subscribe.

Don’t leave your campaign to run on its own, without monitoring it and adjusting it to get the best performance

The ultimate goal of any online advertising is to minimise wastage while maximising performance. “Monitor, measure, refine” is the continuous mantra of programmatic activity, set to repeat. Don’t hesitate to shut down advertising if it has had no impact during a set period of time – do analyse and learn from it.

By revisiting programmatic strategies with a “plan – don’t spam” mentality, you can significantly boost campaign performance while also bringing down investments.

Combine insights about when not to serve an ad with a more sophisticated, more customer focused and ultimately more creative approach, and you’re already outperforming most online advertising.

David Harvey is director at Altair Media

Image: Shutterstock

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