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5 important things to get right with online display advertising for retail

5 important things to get right with online display advertising for retail

Online display is a powerful tool for retail brands, but if you aren’t using banners and ad creative in the right way, your campaign could be ineffective or worse irritating.

We recently set to work on a display campaign for a London retailer. They were sceptical about the effectiveness of these campaigns, because during a previous campaign, they had received some negative feedback from customers. They were tired of seeing the same banners everywhere they browsed online.

Of course, the issue isn’t display campaigns as a whole, but how they are run. Here are five things to get right as part of your display advertising campaign:

  1. Audience Research

If you don’t have a firm idea of who you’re advertising to, your campaign is not going to be as effective as it could be. A major factor in researching your audience is identifying their browsing habits and choosing the most relevant online real estate.

Programmatic display planning is the natural evolution of a well planned display strategy, since the automated campaign will not just place ads on certain websites, but target specific user who fit your profile. It will even go further by targeting other users who shares the same browsing profiles. If these additional demographics do not generate clicks, they are discarded automatically.

  1. Tracking

If an automated system isn’t taking care of strategy and review on your behalf, it is essential to ensure that tracking on your campaign is completely accurate and up to date. You have to be able to see how ads are performing in order to know what is working and what needs to change.

But then that’s the beauty of online advertising: when you place an ad in a newspaper, on a billboard or on TV, you might see the number of sales notionally increase, but you won’t be able to track specific conversions from specific ad content. With online advertising you can.

Google Analytics access is a must, particularly GA Custom Campaigns, which will help you to gain a picture of your ad performance overall. All you have to do is create a customised URL for each ad and monitor their specific performance. You can compare the performance of each ad against another. We can even do this on your behalf.

  1. Creative

The success of a particular ad will depend on a number of factors, including one which we have already covered (the location of the ad to begin with). But equally important is the design of the ad itself. Display advertising is a highly visual medium and a great image will go a long way.

We witnessed this first hand recently when working on a retail campaign for a prominent children’s charity shop. In the instance of that particular company, the ads which proved most successful featured beautiful images of some of the young people which the charity worked with. They created a connection with the viewer and generated more direct click-throughs.

In other retail spheres, a simple improvement we can often make is to feature the actual products we’re selling in the creative. This can be a lot more inspiring to the customer than a call to action and a company logo.

Retargeting is a form of display advertising which targets users who have already visited your site by following them on their subsequent online journey and placing ads on the websites they visit. This can allow us to auto-generate ads which do not only display for these users, but present them with the specific products they browsed on the retail site. This is a highly effective strategy, which borders on a no-brainer for retail.

  1. Landing pages

For conversion and tracking purposes, it pays to send incoming traffic to specific landing pages for each ad, instead of sending all to the homepage. Why? Because this will allow you to customise the message you present to these visitors and will also make it easier to encourage them to make the purchases or engagements you want to see. It will also support the work you do to track and review your campaigns, since the traffic volumes to each page will serve as a key indicator of success.

In order to make this as fair a test as possible, you will need to block these custom landing pages from search engines. We can do this on your behalf with a simple edit to the site’s robots.txt file.

Getting traffic to a page is one thing. Getting it to convert is another. For this reason, each landing page should be optimised for conversion, with a strong call to action and as simple a design as possible to coax users toward your desired action or outcome. Ask yourself what you would like the user to do. Then work out how to make that happen.

A/B testing allows you to present different portions of your visiting traffic with different versions of a page to analyse which design generates more business. This allows you to make a data driven decision on the look and feel of your pages.

  1. Budget

Perhaps the most important factor of all to nail is the issue of a budget. Setting your budget level and planning for the long term will itself be a gradual process. You will need to see how the campaign performs to establish how much funds will be required in the future and also where these funds will best be allocated. It pays to be patient and make decisions based on facts, like performance.

It also pays to have an experienced online marketing professional in your corner. That’s where we come in. We can help you to build an engaging and highly targeted campaign which generates the best return for your advertising spend. It might not fire on all cylinders from day one, but through a process of review and optimisation, we will deliver a campaign that places the right ads in front of the right users, while avoiding the nuisance factor and capping any excess spend.

For more insight, contact our retail 0800 011 9270.

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