online ads

The Solution You Can't Find in a Google Search

Last week, via Instagram, I mentioned having lunch with an old friend and colleague from my days in New York. He’s an incredibly talented designer and painter.

And he works in marketing.

And not just any marketing. He’s the creative director for the digital campaigns of a global fashion company that sees over $100 million in annual revenue from digital sales alone (I so so so wish I could say the name of the co. but the company is extremely private and he asked I keep the name to myself when sharing stats).

But wait, what does ‘creative director for digital campaigns’ mean exactly? It means he signs off on all digital content that goes public representing this company. And his job is not just about making the work look visually appealing or just aligning with brand guidelines. It’s a lot more.

mit-technology-review-karina-napier-creative-marketing-agency-portland-maine

And that “more” is the kind of solution we all need to improve online campaigns which you can’t find via a quick Google Search.

So first things first, a few numbers:

The digital ad effectiveness of this company ranges from a 2x - 10+ x return on investment. This means for every dollar the co. spends on say, a Facebook ad, they’re seeing 2 - 10+ dollars back. WHOAH.

Next: they earn about $100 million dollars annually from just digital campaigns. How does the co. know this to be true? They track where the customer comes from and what the customer purchased on the co’s site. This isn’t big brother spying, this is simply a way of seeing what source or channel sent the customer to this company’s site and if the customer bought anything, and if so, what. If the co is running Facebook ads, the marketing team wants to know if people are clicking on those Facebook ads, going to the site and buying something. This is called a ‘customer journey’ and it’s trackable without being creepy. Plus, learning what’s working with your marketing tools and what’s not, is highly important. So, say you can run 4 ads simultaneously. By tracking how many people click on each ad and observing where people go on your site via each ad, then documenting what the customer buys will teach you a lot about which ad ‘performs’ best.

But there’s more to it! What happens when the Facebook ad(s) works - ie is enticing enough that people click on it and land on the company’s web page? The web page has to have enough relevant information, but not too much to get the customer to take the next step. That step is BUYING something.

My friend participates in making sure the text on the page, the buttons, the images - all the content - is approachable and actionable and speaks to the customer so that wanting to buy is as easy and as attractive as possible. The UX (user interface) on the site must allow the customer to buy easily and quickly. ‘Cause you have about 30 seconds to grab the customer’s attention and about 2 minutes to keep it.

So yes, there’s a formula to getting the customer on your page and then keeping their attention and then ‘converting’ the customer to buying. Remember, this does not have to be sneaky, slimy, or manipulative in any way.

Think about this experience like a brick and mortar store: you want an eye catching window shopping display so the customers want to come into the store (a captivating window display is in effect the equivalent to your Facebook ad). Then after the customer enters the store, you want them to easily scan your merchandise and see what you have to offer. Stores spend a lot of time on attractive, accessible display. Your website needs to do this, too. The cash register is also very visible in a brick and mortar store. You want people to be able to pay easily in a physical store and online! And pricing - the most important part - the PRICING is visible and easy to read! This piece must be presented and presented immediately - especially online. People, my friend reminded me, shop by price (the amount of data he must have access to is mind boggling).

So your Facebook ad is your window display and your website as we have all heard a gadzillion times, is your store front.

Getting to the biggest point, here: how do you get the people to respond to the window display and come in and then buy something?

Test. You test and you test and test again.

Just as you would likely play with various arrangements in your store’s window display to see what people respond to most, you do this with your Facebook ad. Then just as you would inside a store, you move your merchandise around a bit to see what people buy most and put those items up front, so customers can see this opportunity right away and buy more of those items.

But you must test. The variables you can play with online:

  • photos in your facebook ads (think: if you sell textiles and your customer is used to seeing a lot of patterns, maybe use solid, bold colors in your ads so the images stand out).

  • copy in your facebook ads.

  • the text and position of the call to action (button) on the page where customers land from the Facebook ad.

  • placement of pricing on your website.

  • display of items for sale on your website.

  • how many times does the customer have to click to get to the pricing once they’ve landed on your site? Get this down to as few clicks as possible. 1 is ideal. 3 is should be the max.

  • scrolling - eliminate as much of this as possible.

  • desktop vs mobile. Remember a lot of us are on our phones! Esp Facebook users looking at your Facebook ad. Test the legibility of your information on both desktop and mobile.

And really, have fun with this. Take your time. Some ‘tests’ can last an entire month. Maybe the first month fails, but by month 6 you could be kicking ass.