Effective Online Advertising
The Secret Revealed

by James on December 16, 2008

Get the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

OK, so the secret to effective online advertising isn’t such a big secret. But, lets consider what’s going on today.

Online, Marketers are looking for consumers in a mountain of wasted circulation. Meanwhile, consumers are looking for relevant content in a mountain of information.

Why am I going on about this? Marketers continue to use traditional media and creative strategies, an inside out approach, when developing online advertising. Perhaps they should consider this simple, and generally accepted axiom, an outside in approach, and rethink how they plan online advertising.

If you get the right message, to the right person, at the right time they will engage.

If a consumer is in market for a new car, show them a brand preference ad. If they aren’t in market for a car, show them a brand ad or don’t show them an ad at all. If they are looking for a specific model then show them a retail offer ad featuring this model. If you do this they are more likely to interact with the ad. Simple. But this isn’t how it’s done.

We target based on demographics just like TV and without consideration for what consumers are looking for or interested in. We use Behavioral Targeting to serve the same generic brand ad to someone who has visited a site. Ad network say they target shoppers in a vertical but only show limited improvements over general targeting. We use ad agencies that don’t understand the difference between an awareness ad and a response ad.  Can we be surprised that banner ads’ CTRs are horrendous and declining?

We ran a test last summer of a new technology developed by MaxPoint Interactive that identified the browsers of in-market car shoppers. When they were identified we served them a banner ad for our car dealership client. The technology also allowed us to change the message within the ad, preference building if we didn’t know the model they were looking for or a model-specific offer if we did. Both actions where based on the behavioral profile of the viewer.

While the technology is still in beta our results were quite good: a 4X to 5X lift in Click Through Rate and a 2X to 3X lift in Conversion. We are running a confirmation test right now.  Preliminary results suggest last summer’s test was not a fluke. It’s funny what happens when you get the right message, to the right consumer, at the right time.

Hip Shots

  • Consumers won’t pay attention to an ad just because we put it there. Targeting is extremely important. Spend the time and money to ensure you are reaching interested consumers.
  • It’s the offer stupid. If your consumer is looking for the solution to a problem, they are “in market,” and you present them with an offer or message that is relevant to their needs, they will engage.
  • Think about your target audience, especially the heavy users, and design your creative and media strategy from the outside in to get the right message, to the right person, at the right time.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

admin July 15, 2008 at 6:16 am

You are correct, integration is driven by the objective and strategy. Then the executions should be appropriate for each media channel. It’s really not that hard. Still, it get botched more often than not. Thanks for the contribution.

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