Written and compiled by our Head of Paid Media, Adam Mitchell.
Launching a digital marketing campaign and measuring on-going results within a static environment is an extremely myopic approach and simply insufficient to harness the true power of digital.
To add real value to a brand and its customers from online marketing or achieve a sustainable digital growth path for the business, we need to optimise beyond quantitative metrics (click-through-rate, impression costs etc) and focus attention to our audience, specifically around their behavior and experiences. As common sense indicates, a bad ad or badly constructed website is going to deliver bad results regardless of how much budget is invested towards it or how much campaign targeting optimisation is done.
You’ve heard the following two phrases for sure, “online advertising is highly targeted” and “online marketing is measurable”, but we need to test elements within the user journey and conversion funnel to gain maximum returns.
Here are three often overlooked elements which will contribute to the success of your digital marketing.
1 – The Landing Page
User experience needs to be taken into account across all touchpoints and devices to drive performance. Optimise for the customer based on actual market and interaction feedback, not solely what the marketing manager thinks is right, I’m referring to an outside-in optimisation approach:
In real-life it takes 8 seconds to make a first impression. Online it takes 0.8 seconds to make a first impression. Keep this in mind when designing your landing page. If the landing page makes the user think too hard about what to do once they’ve landed on the page, they will close it with a click of a mouse button and move on (far easier than walking out of a store). So don’t only track conversions (sales, signups or enquiries) on the landing page, implement tracking that enables behavioural reporting to facilitate user experience optimisation. Test page layouts, copy, form fields, click patterns, call-to-actions and monitor bounce rates, time on site and exit pages/points to assess where improvements to a page can be made to drive more conversions or engagement.
3 tips when designing landing pages:
- Keep landing pages succinct, clutter is not going to create a good first impression.
- Content should be directed at helping the user, not boasting about the business.
- Always provide a clear path to completion for direct response objectives.
Test one element at a time, here we started testing the copy in a drop-down field (credit: Kevin):
Changing the copy of a drop-down, showed a 45% increased chance of form completions.
2 – Creative
Regarding paid media campaigns, although every effort is made to ensure each impression is pre-qualified with granular targeting criteria such as geography, interests and keywords, we need to test creative too. Apart from tailoring creative to the user manually or dynamically, A/B tests should be mandatory when running online campaigns. A/B refers to testing one element against another during a specific time period, so try to start a campaign with two variations of the same ad set. Changing one element of the creative to allow for testing can be quick and easy, but allows for additional campaign performance learning to influence better messaging or designs in future.
Always begin testing with two elements that will indicate a true outcome, in other words test copy versus copy or images versus images and so on.
Test images against each other too (credit: Amy):
Active testing of copy, images and call-to-actions should accurately represent online landing pages and take into account the device it is being displayed on to enhance engagement and conversions.
3 – Data
People online want control over what they expose themselves to, they want highly relevant information and they want it in moments that matter to them. So tailoring your creative, messages and landing pages is crucial to drive brand lift online. A blanket approach to media messages is just not going to cut it in a digital world, especially for direct response marketers. Use data and customer audience lists to influence targeting and creative across channels. Knowing what products your customers purchased, what pages they browsed or what holiday destinations they booked and at what times of year is extremely valuable information. When this is layered with CRM data for online and mobile media targeting, it will allow you to further personalise your advertising and deliver a relevant message at the right time to your targeted user.
When analysing data ensure that metrics do not conflict with each other, like video-completion-rates and video click-through rates, the video cannot be completed if I click away. Ensure that metrics are not viewed in isolation so the full story is assessed, for example: a high bounce rate on a one page website should be expected as there are no additional pages to view, so in this case look at metrics like conversion data instead. Similarly a higher cost-per-click on an ad for a more specific user is justified if the overall cost-per-conversion reduces, so agree on the right metrics to determine campaign success.
An online marketing strategy that keeps the customer at the center of its focus and that optimises beyond generic reporting metrics is always likely to prove more efficient at increasing awareness, return on investment, talkability and loyalty. Therefore brands and online marketers should be cognisant of their online budget allocations not only to media and creative, but also to the elements that will give them the best possible chance of winning with their customers.
As they say, pouring more water (budget) into a leaking bucket (website page/creative) is not going to make any change, we need to plug the leaks to improve performance.
Featured image: unsplash.com