Have you ever been shopping for something online before and you leave that site to go to another. Of course you have left your shopping cart because you came to your senses and/or decided to wait for the next big sale, only to go to another site and make a purchase (only me? OK), but that is beside the point. Do you notice that in a day or so you see that exact item you were contemplating purchasing all over the Internet? It is in your email box, it on every news site you visit, and it is even showing up in your feed on social media. Or, all of the sudden you start seeing “like” products and services. You were looking at a baby gift for a friend and now you are seeing ads all over the place having to do with babies, children, parenting, etc.? That is not a mistake.
Marketers all over the world are tracking your behaviors, interests, shopping habits, etc. and putting you in audience categories in order to serve ads to you. You can do that with your business too. You can have several different campaigns running as well. You might have a campaign targeted at new customer acquisition, maybe retargeting off of your site, or maybe even geofencing ads to a specific audience that either visited your physical location or you would like to.
Display is becoming more and more important and should really be part of your marketing plan. There are so many different types of ad units available and the tracking is all there. Want to know what product people are interested in more? Run two ads and track the click through rate (CTR). Then go a step further and track the conversion from click. This data will tell you a lot about your customers, products and offerings.
Anyone who knows me knows I live and die by data. Someone can tell you they think something is working or not working or that your design is terrible or whatever, but the numbers never lie (emphasis). Design in particular is subjective in a lot of cases, and it has to be! Otherwise, wouldn’t life be pretty boring? We all have different likes and preferences. I have had people tell me the rules of (enter anything to do with design, marketing, etc.) and guess what, numbers sometimes tell a different story.
Display ads will often give you the most information when it comes to creative and messaging critique. Good ads have good CTR. No one will argue with that. What makes for a good CTR? It ain’t always pretty. In fact, it is usually something that stands out like a sore thumb on a page, or something that is interesting or has an incredible offer. I agree you want to always maintain brand standards and integrity, but the goal is to get someone to click on your ad and go to your website. Remember, you aren’t selling them on that ad. You have to peak their curiosity and get them to take action. Once they get to your site you have a platform to continue to drive their behavior.
Now in order to get all of this information, you have to have all of your tracking set up properly before the campaign starts. Using tracking codes will let you know which ad is which when looking at site traffic sources. This is how you will analyze performance.
If this is your first dive into the world of display, don’t be afraid. It is a great tactic to reach your designated audience. But do make sure you set up data tracking pixels and determine goals prior to your campaign start. After a couple months, have fun digging in your data!