Why the success of your media campaigns isn’t just about media
Picture this: It’s Sunday afternoon and you’re driving back to Montreal after a weekend in the Laurentians. Just when the traffic and rain have slowed you down to a painful crawl, you notice a billboard on the side of the road announcing that several fast-food chains are waiting at the next exit. It reminds you that you are starving. You immediately start salivating at the thought of a delicious burger, and get off at the exit. But when you get to Burger King, it doesn’t look good. It’s swarmed with people. The line is 15 minutes long. Way longer than you’re willing to wait. You decide to cross the street and go to McDonald’s. There’s no one there, but the restaurant is temporarily out of patties. Which is disappointing, since you have no desire to eat chicken or fish. Then you remember that two exits further down the road there is an A&W. In the end, that’s where you go.
Should the billboard on the side of the highway be held responsible for your failure to eat at Burger King or McDonald’s? Hardly. The goal of the billboard was to get you to the point of sale. Which it successfully did, considering you went into both restaurants. After all, the long lines and shortage of meat weren’t the billboard’s fault. So, if a billboard can’t be held responsible for an abandoned cart in real life, why shouldn’t the same hold true when we talk about online ads?
Sure, online marketers have access to real-time performance data (visits, bounce rates, conversions, etc.). But a digital campaign manager rarely has any control over pure advertising elements, like ads, budget or target audience. As in the example above, they have no control over the user experience a lead has to endure once they’ve been recruited by the campaign – whether it’s inability to deliver on promises (a shortage of meat at McDonald’s) or a customer journey that’s too long and cumbersome (long wait time at Burger King).
That’s why the person in charge of managing an ad campaign (regardless of the channel: SEM, Facebook, Display, Email, etc.) can’t be the only one held accountable for a non-conversion or non-sale. In order for your digital media operations to be successful, you have to give the person in charge the right conditions to succeed. Which amounts to a good understanding of content (product or service offering), a user experience that carries through to the landing page (UX, UI), and a good understanding of the target audience (marketing persona, Analytics audience report, client list or list of known leads, the state of the competition).
As you can see, we need to break down silos so that digital media services, content, UX, Analytics, and traditional and commercial marketing can work in close collaboration.
Capturing user attention is getting increasingly difficult
Unlike in our example, the web isn’t a highway we drive down taking the time to read every sign that appears along the way. In reality, the Internet increasingly resembles an overcrowded road, inundated with ads flashing at you from every direction. It’s not easy to stand out from the clutter in these conditions, and catch the attention of drivers.
At the same time as companies are investing more and more in online ads (in French only, read Le numérique propulse le marché publicitaire canadien), users are protecting themselves by using ad blockers (take a look at this article on the subject: Ad Blocking: The Symptom of an Industry That Needs to Reinvent Itself). This creates a disequilibrium between supply and demand, and indirectly leads to an increase in cost.
Google, the number one ad network on the web, is partly responsible: by changing the appearance of search results and deleting the right column a few months ago, Google reduced the number of AdWords ads presented on its pages, which led to an increase in CPC.
In this context, advertisers need to make sure they’re reaching the right people at the right time, and above all that they’re reaching users when they’re ready to convert (showing an understanding of the user’s needs and highlighting the value of the product or service being offered will lead to a frustration-free customer experience).
Users have little time and high expectations. Give them what they want, and fast
Internet users have notoriously short attention spans. They can spend hours every day on Facebook looking at gifs and cat videos, but they’ve only got a few seconds to spare for you, the advertiser. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your user experience doesn’t feel like a line that no one has the patience to wait in. That, of course, involves having landing pages that load quickly, but it goes beyond that. It also involves ensuring that the customer journey is fluid and easy to understand.
In the example of our fast-food lover, that would equate to ensuring that the second they walk through the door, it’s clear where they have to go to place their order (where’s the cash register? Or, in the case of an online order, where is the call to action?). Once they arrive at the cash, they need to be able to make their choice fast, just by glancing at the menu (what products are available? How much will it cost if I add a particular product to my order?). It’s only after completing all these steps that a lead is likely to convert, and become a customer.
Users instinctively want to repeat a good experience: start a relationship with them
Everything went according to plan. The suspect became a lead, who became a customer. Now what? How can you generate more sales? Do you launch a new campaign, with a new marketing budget? That might not be the most profitable approach in the long term.
All companies have a list of information on the people most interested in their products, that’s way more valuable than any list of audience data or cookies you can buy on an ad network. I’m talking about their list of customers, newsletter subscribers, social media followers and blog readers. Your commercial service shouldn’t just come at the end of the conversion funnel of your marketing campaigns (where sales or leads come from), it should also be the intelligence that drives your advertising activities towards success. Thanks to lead nurturing tools, you can use your CRM to monitor the ROI of your marketing budget all year long. For example, this might include sending an email to your customers to offer a discount on their next purchase, or to reactivate customers who haven’t made a purchase in the last six months. It could also be a remarketing campaign on Facebook to launch a new product or line to some of your buyers.
And starting a long-term relationship with your customers has another advantage: a satisfied customer is a potential ambassador for your brand who will promote you to their friends both in real life (through word of mouth) and online (social networks).
So, did this article convince you that the success of a media campaign is a multidisciplinary 360 experience, and not just about advertising?
To succeed, you need to break down silos and sometimes even undertake a complete restructuring of how your organization approaches digital marketing. If that seems like a cumbersome task for companies who aren’t well enough equipped to take on this challenge, don’t worry – you can go step by step. Optimizing your landing pages is a good place to start; it’s easy to implement and very effective for all kinds of companies and projects. Here you’ll find 4 reasons to get serious about your landing pages.