Tag Archives: advertising

Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

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I know you’re busy, so let’s cut to the chase.

Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference is back on June 25th – June 27th in beautiful Vancouver, Canada.

What’s in it for you?

First off, we’ve carefully curated a star-studded speaker lineup that includes the likes of Mari Smith, Scott StrattenKindra Hall and Rand Fishkin. See the full agenda here. (Fun fact: We made a pledge to have 50% female speakers this year, and we stuck to it.)

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Additionally, unlike other conferences where you’re torn between tracks, this conference is single-track. No need to miss a thing or weigh up your love for PPC or CRO. You can have it all and bring back stellar takeaways to your team on each of their respective specialities. #Teamplayer

We’re also working closely with our speakers to ensure talks are as actionable as possible. (This is our conference’s promise).

Explore the topics below to see featured talks and get a sense for the ones most exciting to you:

PPC
SEO
Copywriting
Social
CRO

Jonathan Dane — The PPC Performance Pizza

Jonathan DaneIn this session, Johnathan will cover 8 ways to make any PPC channel work with positive ROI. He’ll guide you through a simple framework, The PPC Performance Pizza, that will double performance on any PPC channel, from Google Adwords to Facebook.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use search, social, display, and video PPC to your advantage
  • Which channels and offers work best in tandem for more conversions
  • The frameworks KlientBoost uses to double your performance within 90 days

Rand Fishkin — The Search Landscape In 2017

Rand FishkinMuch has changed (and is changing) in SEO, leaving us with an uncertain future. In this talk, the one and only Rand Fishkin will share his view on the search landscape 2017, dive into data on how users behave in search engines, explain what the election of Donald Trump means to site owners and, most importantly provide you with the essential tactics every marketer should embrace to be prepared for the changes.

You’ll learn:

  • How has search behavior changed and what does it mean for marketers seeking organic search traffic
  • What new tactics and strategies are required to stay ahead of the competition in SEO
  • How might new US government policies affect the web itself and future platform and web marketing opportunities

Amy Harrison — The Customer Disconnect: How Inside-Out Copy Makes You Invisible

Amy HarrisonWhen you write copy, there are 3 critical elements: What you KNOW about your product, what you WRITE about your product, and what your customer THINKS you mean. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to have a disconnect between all three, and when that happens, customer’s don’t realize the true value of what you have to offer. In this talk, you’ll identify any disconnect in your own marketing, and learn how to write copy that breaks through the noise, differentiates your brand, and speaks to your customers’ desires.

You’ll learn:

  • How to recognize if you even HAVE a disconnect
  • How to beat the blank page – know what to include for every piece of copy you create
  • How to make even commoditized products sound different and fresh to your customer

Mari Smith — Winning Facebook Advertising Strategies: 5 Powerful Ways To Leverage Your Results & ROI

Mari SmithFacebook is constantly adding new features, new products and new ad units. What works today and what’s a waste of time and money? How should marketing teams, agencies and brands focus their ad spend for maximum results? In this dynamic session, world-renowned Facebook marketing expert, Mari Smith, will answer these questions and more.

You’ll learn:

  • Simple processes for maximizing paid reach to build a steady flow of top qualified leads
  • How to make your Facebook advertising dollars go much further, and generate an even higher ROI
  • The top ten biggest mistakes marketers make with their Facebook ads and how to fix them

Michael Aagaard – Your Brain Is Lying To You: Become A Better Marketer By Overcoming Confirmation Bias

Michael AagaardHave you ever resisted or ignored a piece of info because it posed a threat to your worldview? If you answered “yes,” you’re like most other human beings on the planet. In fact, according to the last 40 years of cognitive research, favouring information confirming your worldview is extremely common human behaviour. Unfortunately, being biased towards information confirming what we already believe often leads to errors in judgment and costly mistakes in marketing. But how can we overcome this?

You’ll learn:

  • The facts about confirmation bias and why it is such a dangerous pitfall for marketers
  • A framework for becoming aware of and overcoming your own confirmation bias
  • Hands-on techniques for cutting through the clutter and getting information rather than confirmation

Did we mention the workshops?

We’re bringing back workshops (see Sunday’s tab on the agenda) and we’ve tailored the topics based on your feedback. We’ll be talking hyper-targeted overlays, how agencies can leverage landing pages and getting people to swipe right on your landing page. The best part? They’re all included in your ticket price. Most importantly, marketers who purchase CTAConf tickets, get notified first once registration for workshops opens. Workshops were standing room only last year and we’re bringing them back bigger than ever, so first dibs on registration’s a real bonus.

Finally, we want you to have a ton of fun while you learn. We’re talkin’ 8 food trucks, incredible after parties, all the dog hoodies you can handle, wacky activities and full access to the recordings of every session. SPOILER: we’re looking into renting a Ferris wheel (seriously, this is a thing).

Convinced? Grab your tickets here.

(Hey, blog reader. Yeah, you. We like you. Get 15% off ticket price when you use discount code blogsentme.” That’s cheaper than our early bird price.)

Want to see the excitement in action?

Here’s a peek at what we got up to last year:

The countdown is on

Regardless or whether you’re a PPC specialist, conversion copywriter, full-stack marketer or living that agency life, we’ve got something in store for you. Our workshops and talks touch on everything marketing: pay-per-click, agencies, copywriting, conversion rate optimization, landing page optimization, branding and storytelling, email marketing, customer success, search engine optimization and product marketing.

Check out the full agenda here.

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See you at the conference (and on that Ferris wheel)!

Grab your tickets here and remember to use discount code “blogsentme” at checkout for 15% off that ticket price!

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Save the Date for Unbounce’s Call to Action Conference 2017 [Discount Code Inside]

Glossary: Value Proposition

glossary value proposition

A value proposition is what you guarantee or promise to deliver to your potential buyers in exchange for their money. It’s also the main reason why people choose one product over other. If it’s done right, it can give you the competitive edge and help you grow your business. The value proposition is vital to conversion optimization as it allows you to build a perception of the value that a user is getting. So, if you test it, these few sentences might have a significant impact on your conversion rate and sales. What the value proposition does when done right:…

The post Glossary: Value Proposition appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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Glossary: Value Proposition

The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

beginners guide to facebook ads

Most people use Facebook ads to pump up their visitor numbers. Wait, what? Let me be clear. They don’t wake up with that goal in mind, but it’s usually what ends up happening. I see this all the time with clients I work with. The problem isn’t that they can’t set up the Facebook ad campaigns or get visitors to their websites. It’s the next step where things go haywire. The visitors they’re paying for don’t download ebooks, sign up for accounts or buy products. The reason for this simply is that the thing they offer doesn’t appeal to those…

The post The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert appeared first on The Daily Egg.

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The Beginner’s Guide To Making Facebook Advertising Convert

Facebook Organic Reach is Dying: Here’s Why It’s a Good Thing

Facebook reach
More and more our News Feeds are full of updates from friends… not companies — but there are benefits to this. Image via Shutterstock.

Facebook wears many hats. It does everything, and is everything. It’s where we turn to celebrate many important life milestones, share our lives with our friends, organize events, consume media and much, much more. But for marketers, it’s an advertising tool.

Social media marketing has changed a great deal over the past few years. One of the biggest changes is Facebook’s shift away from organic reach into a paid marketing channel.

If you manage a Facebook Page, I’m sure you’re familiar with this subject, and you’ve probably noticed a sharp drop in the number of people who are seeing and interacting with your content organically.

As a marketer, this change has been tough to stomach. It’s now much harder to reach your audience than it was a few years ago. And with recent updates that Facebook is, again, shifting its algorithm to focus on friends and family, it’ll be harder still to reach people who are already fans of your page.

Facebook organic reach is hard
TFW you can almost reach your audience… but not quite. Image via Giphy.

Before we dive into why the plight of organic reach is a good thing, let’s first take a look at what brought along this decline in the first place.

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Understanding how social reach is declining

In 2014, Social@Ogilvy released its much-cited report, “Facebook Zero: Considering Life After the Demise of Organic Reach.”

In the report, Ogilvy documented the harsh decline of organic reach between October 2013 and February 2014. In that short period of time, organic reach dropped to around 6% for all pages, and for large pages with more than 500,000 likes, the number was just 2%.

Ogilvy graph

Based on this data, a Facebook Page with around 20,000 fans could expect fewer than 1,200 people to see its posts, and a page with 2 million fans would, on average, reach only 40,000 fans.

The reasoning behind this change from Facebook’s perspective is twofold, as Facebook’s VP of Advertising Technology, Brian Boland, explained in a blog post.

The first reason for the decline in organic reach is purely the amount of content being shared to Facebook. Advances in smartphone technology means we can now create and share this content with just a few swipes of the finger or taps on a screen. More and more of our friends and favorite brands are also active on the platform, meaning competition for attention is higher. Boland explains:

There is now far more content being made than there is time to absorb it. On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

The second reason for the decline in organic reach on Facebook is how the News Feed works. Facebook’s number one priority is to keep its 1.5 billion users happy, and the best way to do that is by showing only the most relevant content in their News Feeds.

Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

To a marketer, this may feel like a negative, but it’s actually a good thing, because what we’re left with now is a far more powerful marketing tool than we had when reach was free.

Let me explain…

Why the decline of organic reach is a good thing

When a social network first achieves mainstream popularity (think Facebook circa 2009, Instagram in 2014-15, Snapchat in 2016) organic reach rules the roost. As a marketer, it’s all about figuring out what content your audience craves and giving it to them.

Then, we hit a peak, and suddenly the social network all but transforms into a pay-to-play platform — bringing with it another huge marketing opportunity. At Buffer, it’s something we like to call The Law of the Double Peak:

Buffer double peak

Facebook hit the organic peak in 2014, and since then reach has declined to a point where it’s almost at zero now. But, on the other hand, we’re left with a far more powerful advertising tool than we had before.

It’s also important to remember that before social media — with print, radio, TV, banner ads, direct mail or any other form of advertising — there was no such thing as organic reach. You couldn’t create a piece of content and get it seen by thousands (even millions) with no budget.

Facebook, now, is probably one of the most cost-effective digital ad products we’ve ever seen. It’s the best way to reach a highly targeted audience and drive awareness about your product or service, and probably an even better marketing channel than it was back in 2012 when organic reach hit its peak.

4 ways to maximize the paid marketing opportunities on Facebook

Once you’re over the fact that not everyone on Facebook gets to discover your brand for free anymore…

1. Ensure your ads are relevant

With more than 3 million advertisers all competing for attention in more than a billion users’ News Feeds, Facebook uses what’s called an ad auction to deliver ads.

The ad auction pairs individual ads with particular people looking for an appropriate match. The social network’s ad auction is designed to determine the best ad to show to a person at a given point in time. This means a high-quality, hyper-relevant ad can beat an ad that has a higher advertiser bid, but is lower quality and less relevant.

The two major factors you need to work on to ensure Facebook sees your ad as relevant are your targeting and ad creative.

For example, if you’re targeting a broad audience such as men and women, ages 18–25, living in the United Kingdom, chances are your ad may not be relevant to every person. However, if you were to break your audience down into smaller, more specific groups your message may be more relevant (and therefore successful).

2. Test different messages and creative

There are endless opportunities for testing on Facebook Ads: titles, texts, links, images, age, gender, interests, locations and so on.

The image is the first thing people see when your ad shows up in their News Feed. It’s what grabs their attention and makes them stop and click, which means it’s essential to get the image right. Though, you probably won’t hit the nail on the head first time ‘round. Thankfully, Facebook allows you to upload multiple images for each advert and optimizes to display best performing ones.

Your creative can have a huge difference when it comes to conversions. AdEspresso recommends coming up with at least four different Facebook Ad variations and then testing each one. For example, you might test two different images with two different copy texts (2 images x 2 texts = 4 variations).

AdEspresso also found that creative with a picture of a person performs far better:

Facebook ad variations

When you create ads, plan out a number of variations — changing copy, images and CTAs in order to discover what works best for each audience you’re targeting.

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3. Be specific with your content

Combining the first two points above, targeting to a specific segment using creative that is specifically built for that target audience is incredibly powerful.

Many businesses have a range of customers, all with slightly different needs. For each customer your business is targeting, jot down as much information as you can about them and try to form a few customer personas to create specific ads for.

Then, with your target personas in place, think about how you can use Facebook Ads to target each individual group. This could mean creating an ad set for each group and testing different images and copy within your ads to see what works best for each group.

By tailoring ads to specific personas, you can vastly improve your advert’s relevancy and also serve the needs of your customer better.

4. Pay attention to real metrics

With social media, it can be easy to fall into the trap of measuring only soft metrics — the things that don’t correlate directly with sales or revenue growth, but can still be good indicators of performance. On Facebook, this means things such as Likes, Comments and Shares.

When it comes to paid marketing channels, like Facebook Ads, it’s important to have some solid goals in mind and pay attention to the metrics that translate into your ultimate goal. For example, having a post receive a few hundred Likes or a high engagement rate could be seen as success, but that’s probably not the ultimate goal of your campaign.

Paid advertising on Facebook is a lot like paid-for marketing has always been. For 90% the end goal is sales or, for larger companies, brand awareness. And with paid-for ads you’ll want to be a little stricter with yourself when it comes to measurement. That’s not to say ALL advertising on Facebook must be purely focused on selling — that strategy likely wouldn’t work — but certainly any specific advertising campaigns should be focused on increasing your bottom line.

How do you use Facebook?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of Facebook as a marketing channel. How have your strategies changed over recent years? Are you one of the 3 million businesses who advertise on the platform? I’d love to hear your learnings and perspectives too.

Thanks for reading! And I’m excited to join the conversation in the comments.

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Facebook Organic Reach is Dying: Here’s Why It’s a Good Thing

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What does Evolutionary Site Redesign in action look like? Like this.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

TL;DR: After 7 months of testing with weBoost, an electronics manufacturer, their website looks radically different and the company has seen an over 100% lift in their year-over-year conversion rate. This is evolutionary site redesign (ESR) at work. Read the full case study here.

The company

weBoost homepage
The hero section from weBoost’s (current) homepage.

Our partnership with weBoost began in the summer of 2015. weBoost is an ecommerce retailer and manufacturer of cellular signal boosters. These boosters provide stronger, more reliable cellular signals while simultaneously enhancing the user’s ability to receive and transmit data.

The goals

Beyond the goal of simply increasing ecommerce sales, the weBoost team was looking to fuel their entire marketing program. In order to do that, weBoost executives were also hoping to gain customer insights through WiderFunnel’s proven conversion optimization process: the Infinity Optimization Process™.

At the outset, there were several questions that weBoost was looking to answer through a partnership with WiderFunnel:

  1. What kind of information do we need to provide about our products in order to make the sale?
  2. Are our customers well-informed for the most part, or do they need more technical, descriptive details about our products?
  3. What user flow results in the best conversion rate?
  4. How can we learn about our customers to fuel marketing efforts across the company?

The results

After 7 months of testing, the weBoost website looks dramatically different and the company has seen a lift of over 100% in their year-over-year conversion rate.

The insights achieved along the way have allowed weBoost to broaden their further up-funnel programs as well as boost e-commerce sales. The benefit of conversion optimization, then, is not just about direct sales, but increased brand awareness and overall growth.

And this is only the beginning.

Mike St Laurent

The testing we’ve done with weBoost is a perfect example of evolutionary website redesign (ESR). Their website looks radically different than it did when our partnership began, and it’s converting at a much better rate.

Michael St Laurent, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

How did we do it?

In this case study, you’ll read about several tests we’ve run on 3 key areas of the weBoost site: the homepage, the product category page, and the product detail page. We have been able to redesign the entire website iteratively, based on statistically significant wins on each of these pages: this is evolutionary site redesign in action.

ESR works by implementing a system of continuous A/B split testing throughout an entire website and digital marketing. Rather than relying on gut feeling and flawed intuition, website decisions are made against the crucible of customer actions.

Check out the full case study for the specifics:

  • A shortened weBoost homepage sees huge success
  • A well-intentioned layout change on the category page goes south
  • A stronger scent trail on the product detail page leads to a 27% increase in completed orders

…and more!

Jamie Elgie

WiderFunnel delivers Wilson Electronics [weBoost] a cadence and quality of A/B testing that is game-changing for our brand. Direct sales increases are enabling us to increase our spend on other advertising because of the known performance return. That in turn is driving our overall brand awareness. Put simply, WiderFunnel does not just help us sell directly; it is rocket fuel for our entire cross-channel marketing program.

– Jamie Elgie, Chief Marketing Officer, weBoost

Read the full case study here

Learn more about how the weBoost website underwent a dramatic transformation through evolutionary site redesign (and how it’s now converting at a much better rate). Read the full case study here.

The post What does Evolutionary Site Redesign in action look like? Like this. appeared first on WiderFunnel Conversion Optimization.

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What does Evolutionary Site Redesign in action look like? Like this.

8 Steps For Building A Profitable Google AdWords Display Campaign

There is a misconception about the Google AdWords Display Network. Many believe it is only for big businesses running large-scale branding campaigns (think Coca-Cola). But that is not true! When display ads are set up and managed correctly, they can be just as effective as search ads in driving direct leads and sales. Let’s take a closer look at this misconception. Branding Vs. Direct Response Advertising First, let’s define the two types of advertising: branding and direct response. The misconception surrounding display advertising (branding) stems from a lack of understanding about these two very different types of advertising. With a…

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8 Steps For Building A Profitable Google AdWords Display Campaign

Larry Kim’s Approach to Personalizing PPC Campaigns [WEBINAR]

Ever receive an email with a broken merge field in the subject line?

“Hey !FIRSTNAME, I done goofed.”

It’s the ultimate personalization fail.

The marketer attempts to appeal to the prospect with a touch of personalization but accidentally reveals the secret to his magic trick. It’s jarring to say the least…

v6dFs83

The same goes for neglecting to personalize your pay-per-click campaigns.

If you’re not careful, your generic PPC ads could be creating jarring experiences for prospects. And a poor experience = a poor conversion rate.

74-percent-customers-hubspot-stat

The good news is that personalizing your PPC campaigns is easier than it’s ever been, thanks to a slew of recently released AdWords features. And in our latest webinar, Larry Kim of WordStream shared five of his favorite PPC personalization tactics — magic tricks that won’t make you pull your hare out.

Watch the full webinar here, or read on for a sneak preview of the tip Larry called “the most interesting AdWords feature in the last 10 years.”

A Customer Match made in heaven

As Larry explained in the webinar, we’re living in the golden era of personalized PPC marketing. For the first time in the history of advertising, you can target ads based on identity.

What is this witchcraft, you ask?

A little AdWords feature called Customer Match, which lets you upload a list of customer email addresses that you grab from from your email automation platform Then, when prospects are signed into Google Search, YouTube or Gmail (which according to Larry is about 50% of the time), you can serve them up an ad that relates to the list they were in.

Have a list of prospects who you opted into an offer for a PPC ebook?

Upload that list into AdWords and serve them up an ad about a related offering, already knowing that they’re into learning about PPC.

The magic of identity-based targeting

Customer Match works so well because you’re not blanket messaging strangers — you’re targeting people who are already familiar with your brand.

But Larry explained that the real magic happens when you couple Customer Match with more advanced email marketing segmentation.

Most marketers already use email marketing to reach out to specific lists of people who correspond with different stages of their marketing funnel: leads, recurring customers, recent purchasers, expired warranties…

ecommerce-audience-email-segmentations

Larry suggested taking those same email segmentations and uploading them into Google Adwords as separate audiences.

From there, he explained, you can leverage existing segmentations and offers by sending complementary, hyper-targeted paid advertisements.

The result is usually pretty incredible. Check out this example from one of Larry’s customers, where they were using different targeting mechanisms for the same keywords:

roi-targeting-only-customer-match

The Customer Match campaign (“Email” in the first column) is generating a $9.43 ROI — significantly higher ROI than any other of the targeting mechanisms.

And it’s not only about the return on ad spend. Larry has found that Customer Match can result in conversion rates triple that of a generically targeted campaign:

conversion-rate-of-non-targeted-campaign

Not too shabby, right?

…So what’s the catch?

Thinking this seems too good to be true? Well yeah, there is a catch.

Larry explained that your conversion volume is going to be low — you are cherry-picking your leads, after all.

lower-conversion-volume-for-customer-match

So to be clear, Larry isn’t advocating that you shut off your primary drivers of conversion volume in favor of this type of cherry-picking. But he is recommending that you experiment with capturing these rare and beautiful clicks.

And if you thirst for more…

giphy (1)

Take it a step further with Similar Audiences

Google has this other really snazzy feature called Similar Audiences which can help you expand your reach by leveraging the success of Customer Match.

In a nutshell, Google looks at the behavior, demographics and search patterns of your Customer Match audiences and finds similar people for you to reach out to. It’s an easy way to go after a larger audience of people without having to say goodbye to those sweet CPCs and conversion rates.

Go forth and personalize

Customer Match is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to personalizing your PPC campaigns.

There’s so much more you can be doing to make your prospects feel like you get where they’re coming from and that you’ve got a custom-tailored solution for their problems.

…In fact, Customer Audiences were one of five tips that Larry shared on the webinar.

If you want to get real up-close-and-personal with prospects, you’ll want to hear the rest of what Larry had to say on the webinar. You can watch the recording here:

unbounce-blog-cta-webinar-recording-larry-kim-FINAL

(Psst. For a tutorial on using Customer Match in your PPC Campaigns check out the AdWords support article here.)

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Larry Kim’s Approach to Personalizing PPC Campaigns [WEBINAR]

Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You

Let me present to you one of the most painful facts from the online advertising industry.

Web users almost never look at anything that looks like an advertisement!

In fact, you are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad.

As the Internet has evolved over time, web users have become increasingly indifferent to online ads.

And the reason behind such behavior of users? Banner Blindness.

This post introduces you to Banner Blindness and its roots, along with ways to defeat it. The post includes the following sections:

What is Banner Blindness?

It is a phenomenon where website visitors consciously or subconsciously ignore banner ads or any other banner-like elements on a website.

Benway and Lane coined the term “Banner Blindness” in 1998 after they conducted a study on website usability. They found that any information provided through external ad banners and internal navigational banners on a webpage was being overlooked by users. Moreover, users ignored the banners irrespective of the banners’ placement on the webpage. The study concluded that the traditional practice of making large, colorful and flashy banners had little effect in capturing web users’ attention.

It’s noteworthy that the issue of banner blindness has escalated greatly with time.

While the first ever banner ad on the Internet had a click-through rate of 44% (wow!), the current banner ads have a dismal click-through rate of 0.1%.

Interestingly, Banner Blindness is not just limited to the online world. We can find instances of its real-life occurrences, too. For example, during the 2006 elections in Florida, 13% of voters couldn’t cast their votes for their preferred candidate because of a poorly-designed ballot!

Banner Blindness Statistics

Here are some statistics that illustrate the gravity of Banner Blindness as an issue:

Why Does Banner Blindness Exist?

When web users scan or read through a web page, they only look at information which is relevant to them. They tune out everything else that doesn’t provide them with what they need.

This tendency of users has been developed over time, as the frequency of (irrelevant) ads has grown manifold.

Today, websites are bombarding their visitors with a ridiculous amount of ads. In U.S. alone, over 5.3 trillion display ads were served to users in 2012. This means that a typical web user finds more than 1700 online advertisements every month!

With so many ads constantly encroaching their web space, users have learned to focus just on the information pertinent to them.

Users have mastered the art of finding value amid clutter. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

A research by Lapa, too, suggested that web users learn the structure of a web page very quickly,
allowing them to locate useful content faster and avoid ad banners.

Banner Blindness and the Signal Detection Theory

Brandt Dainow, from ThinkMetrics, expertly links Banner Blindness to Signal Detection Theory.

The Signal Detection theory talks about how humans can distinguish important signals from noise in a jumbled environment. For example, even in a noisy party, you are able to tune out all other voices and sounds so that you can listen to the person speaking directly to you.

In the same manner, people visiting a web page are able to tune out unnecessary content (ads and other elements) so that they can go through just the information they need.

How Users Browse Through a Web Page

With the help of multiple eye-tracking studies and click map reports, we have learned a lot about the way users read a web page.

Users don’t fully read a web page. They simply scan through it.

The F-shaped Reading Pattern:

The eye-tracking study by Nielsen revealed that users mostly navigate on a web page in an F-shaped pattern.

Users first read the starting of content — on top of a web page — in a horizontal manner. Next, they move down and read in a second horizontal movement (shorter than the first). And finally, they scan through the rest of the web page’s left-side vertically downwards.

The right-side of a web page is largely ignored by the users. And the right-side is where most of the display ads are placed!

Here’s a screenshot from Nielsen’s study that highlights the ads on web pages using a green box. The image clearly shows how users’ didn’t fixate on the ads.

Banner blindness eye-tracking map

The point has been further supported by a research conducted on text advertisements at Wichita State University. The finding of the research says, “Users tend to miss information in text ads on the right-side of the page more often than in text ads at the top of the page.”

Add-on: Since some websites are serving their content along with a lot of superfluous ads and elements, their whole user experience is suffering. Web browsers are treating it as an opportunity to win over users, by offering ways to improve the users’ browsing experience. Most browsers, as we all know, allow users to activate ad-block extensions for a long time. Now, they’ve gone a step further by providing them with a “reader-view mode” option. Once selected, the option transforms the web-page into a plain-text version, letting users to just view the information they require from the page.

This is how Mozilla’s Firefox does it.

Reader view mode in browser

Banner Blindness in the Mobile Era

The mobile channel is a huge contributor to a lot of websites’ traffic. It has even become the top source of traffic for some websites.

The mobile application market, too, has reached a considerable number of users.

As a result, mobile has emerged as one of the hottest properties for displaying banners ads.

But wait.

Mobile ads, too, suffer from Banner Blindness! Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Here’s how.

First of all, there are not many choices for banner ads on mobile. The most popular banner dimension of 320×50 pixels covers 82% of all mobile banner ads. This banner is mostly placed on the top/bottom of the mobile screen. Since it does not intrude the main content that users read, its presence is easily overlooked by the users.

Secondly, mobile users spend a substantial amount of time browsing websites and applications ‘on-the-go.’ During this time, users are even more focused towards reading the main content (and ignoring the ads).

Concern Over Banner Blindness Studies

Many of the studies conducted to prove the existence of Banner Blindness, do it on the basis of indirect evidence that participants don’t remember ads. A research in Applied Cognitive Psychology named “Is Banner Blindness Genuine? Eye Tracking Internet Text Advertising” raised doubts over this methodology.

The research argued that “one should be careful before concluding that banners have not been looked at on the basis of users’ memory performance.”

Although the research’s eye-tracking results confirmed that 64% of the text ads included in the research were overlooked by participants, 82% of the participants still fixated on at least one of the text ads.

However, even after fixating on an ad, the participants couldn’t recall if the ad content was incongruous with the web page’s main content.

This highlights the importance of having ads that ‘go’ with the web page on which it’s placed.

6 Ways to Beat Banner Blindness

We’ve seen how Banner Blindness negatively affects the performance of our online ads. But still, there are tricks and techniques that can minimize Banner Blindness and make our ads stand out in front of users.

Let’s take a look at them.

#1 Ad Placement

Place your ads above the fold on a web page to gain more attention from users.

The above-the-fold content works better than below-the-fold content in terms of visibility ratio, time spent, and time to notice.

A study by Infolinks found that 156% more users read the above-the-fold content as compared to the below-the-fold content.

However, the study also found that leaderboard ads — placed at the very top of a web page — aren’t always the best performers. An ad placed on the bottom of the screen (but placed just above the fold) was seen 225% more quickly by users.

Related Post: Is Above the Fold Really Dead?

#2 Native Ads

First things first. What is Native Advertising?

Native Advertising is the practice of designing and presenting ads to users in the same form and function of a web page.

The ads have the same look and feel as the web page’s ‘native’ — or original — feel.

Native ads provide greater context to users, and generally have higher visibility.

There are various types of native ads, out of which search ads, in-feed ads, and sponsored content on websites are the most popular.

Especially, the native in-feed ads on different social media platforms, are currently offering a much higher click-through rate as compared to other ad-units.

Here are examples from Facebook and Twitter.

FB native ad
A native ad on Facebook

twitter native ad
A native ad on Twitter

#3 Behavioral Ads

The Banner Blindness studies mentioned above provide us with some additional information on users’ perception of ads.

80% of users felt that the last ad they saw was irrelevant to them.

Less than 3% of users believed that the ads they saw gave more context to the brand/product the ads promoted.

Ads can get greater visibility if they relate well with users’ interests. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Behavioral ads offer ad content to users based on their interests and preferences. These ads can be served to users on social media as well as the conventional web.

Under behavioral targeting, there is another advertising practice named “Retargeting” that offers a higher click-through rate.

In retargeting, users are served with ads based on their history of actions on the Internet.

For instance, when users browse products on amazon.com and leave without converting, a retargeted ad displaying the same products can follow them on other websites, prompting them to return to amazon.com.

Related Post: Retargeting Tools and Tips to Skyrocket Your Conversion Rate

#4 Ad Design

When your ads are not native, it is important to give your ads a highlighted presence on a web page. You can do that by tweaking your ads’ design.

Contrast

Ads that have sufficient contrast with the rest of the web page have a higher chance of getting noticed by users.

First, you should know the color schemes of the websites that host your ads. Then, you should decide your ad colors that match your brand AND provide contrast to the host sites’ colors.

When host sites are light-colored, use dark colors for your ads. Similarly, use light colors for your ads when the host sites use dark.

CTA

Include a prominent Call-to-Action (CTA) button in your ad copy (if the goal of your ad is a conversion).

An attention-grabbing CTA will make users fixate on the button and then, on the rest of the ad.

Ideally, your CTA button should have ample blank space surrounding it, so users can identify it easily. The color of the CTA button, too, should have great contrast within the ad copy.

Just like how your ad should stand out on a web page, your CTA should stand out within your ad.

Below is an example of a clean ad with a prominent CTA.

CTA example

Source

Directional Cues

Direct your users’ to your banners using visual cues.

Like this.

directional cue

Source

Another great example of directional cues is pictures of human faces looking at a specific direction.

It is human nature to follow the gaze of other humans. Be it real humans, or pictures of humans, we always try to find out where they are looking.

By including human faces as directional cues in your ad design, users are more likely to interact with your ad.

Here’s an example.

Directional cue

Related Resource: Dutch Major Uses Directional Cues to Improve CTA’s Clickthrough Rate

#5 Innovative Ad Types

Welcome-page ads

These ads appear before the host website loads for a user.

Some of these ads can be closed by the user, to move on to the host site. Other ads make the users wait for a certain amount of time, before the host website opens up automatically.

Forbes.com uses the latter of the two, making users spend at least three seconds on its ad page.

Welcome page ad

Welcome-page ads just might be our biggest weapon against Banner Blindness. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

Website-skin ads

These ads cover the entire background of a website.

Furthermore, as the ads seem like they belong to the host website, users associate the host website’s brand value and trust factor with the advertiser.

Find below an example from IMDB.com.

Website skin ad

Source

#6 A/B Testing

With so many best practices on ad designing (some being mentioned here), it is impossible for one to make an ad incorporating them all.

Additionally, it is equally difficult to know beforehand which ‘best practice’ is actually going to help an ad, and which one will prove to be a dud.

The best way to go about it is A/B Testing.

You can make multiple versions of an ad, and test them against each other to determine which version works the best for you.

Online Advertisement: A Branding Practice

Sure, Banner Blindness makes users avoid fixating and clicking on online ads, but there are still other ways by which your ads can provide value to you.

Apart from initiating conversions, your ads should also spread awareness about your brand.

A research from the University of Chicago — “Banner Ads Work — Even If You Don’t Notice Them At All” — suggested that even the mere presence of your ads on a web page can result in a positive effect on users. The research says, “regardless of measured click-through rates, banner ads may still create a favorable attitude towards the ad due to repeated exposure.”

Let’s continue with the noisy party example from earlier.

You tune out all other noises from the party to only listen to the person speaking directly to you. Yet, when other people from the party mention your name (even in their own conversations), you immediately notice and acknowledge it.

Here again, we find a connection with the Signal Detection Theory.

We still identify relevant information from the noise we have tuned out. And in the same manner, web users process even those ads which they’ve ignored, at some level in their minds.

Your ads, even when unnoticed, can help effect a latent conversion. Tweet: Why Banner Blindness Shouldn't Scare You. Read more at https://vwo.com/blog/banner-blindness

View-through conversion rate is a great parameter to measure the effect an ad has in making users convert in their follow-up encounters with a brand.

Conclusion

Banner Blindness is the reason why online ads get minimal interaction with web users. However, you can beat it by offering relevant ads to users and placing the ads better.

Also, online ads help in building brand recall along with attracting conversions. Therefore, you shouldn’t be judging the effectiveness of ads through their click-through rate alone.

If I missed anything important let me know in the comments section below.

The post Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You appeared first on VWO Blog.

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Why Banner Blindness Shouldn’t Scare You

Beating Banner Blindness [PODCAST]

no evils all
Image by Billy Rowlinson via Flickr.

In this episode of the Call to Action podcast, we have a quick story about why we’ve restructured our AdWords account into country-specific campaigns. Then, we speak to Aaron Orendorff of iconiContent about everything display ads: banner blindness, the fat thumb phenomenon and how one company used display ads in their content to recruit qualified employees.

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Read the transcript

In this episode: Dan Levy, Unbounce’s Content Strategist, interviews iconiContent’s founder, Aaron Orendorff.

Dan Levy: You start off your article with kind of a crazy statistic. It’s that you’re more likely to have twins than click on a banner ad. At the same time, you insist that display ads are not dead?

Aaron Orendorff: Exactly. So I get this number from Google DoubleClick data where they say, today, on average, in America, the click-through rate for a banner ad is just around 0.1 percent. So, a few years ago, Solve Media took that number and sort of crunched it in a really creative way and did a whole bunch of advertisements about, “You’re more likely to [fill in the blank] than ever click a display ad.” So they had things like the twins; you’re more likely to apply to Harvard and get accepted; win the mega-millions lottery; become a Navy SEAL; or my favorite: survive a plane crash.

Dan Levy: Wow.

Aaron Orendorff: But the reality is all recent numbers put the display ad networks at a combined total of roughly $3.5 billion worldwide, which is a staggering number, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that just because people are throwing money at it, it works. But, as I’m sure we’re gonna talk about a little bit later today, there are some incredible ways to actually up those click-through rates and really get a huge return on the investment.

Dan Levy: Right. So one of the reasons we hear people dismiss display ads is the idea that most web users these days are suffering from banner blindness. Is banner blindness a myth, or has it just been overstated?

Aaron Orendorff: It’s definitely not a myth. One of the best studies you can look at is by the Nielsen Norman Group, and it’s a very academic study. It’s a bit dated at this point, but if you just Google it, you can find it very easily. And they’ve got a ton of great visuals, some of which I included in the blog post that this was built on.

Recent data puts estimates roughly somewhere around 86 percent; that is, 86 percent of web users suffer from banner blindness. They’re looking at the either center column or the left column or the right column and ignoring anything that’s on the sidebar. That’s the easiest way to think about it.

So numbers like 86 percent, the heat maps from eye-tracking software reveal really clearly that it’s absolutely not a myth, and I don’t think it’s overstated.

Dan Levy: Great. Well, I wanna get into some of the ways that marketers could combat banner blindness. But, first, you say that one of the mistakes display advertisers make is that they only really pay attention to how many clicks their ads get. So what else are they missing there?

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah. This is a great one, and I don’t think this is a noob mistake at all. We all sort of fall for the, you know, as soon as I launch something, I wanna know exactly how it’s performing, and I’m chomping at the bit to look at the numbers as they pour in. And the easy stuff that we get access to is click-through rates and just conversions on the ads themselves.

A couple things that I mention in the article is it’s really important to set up a Google funnel using Google Goals, and they’ve got some great visualization tools that allow you to get a picture of not just who’s entering the landing page or entering your product page from a specific ad, but to find out which ads culminate in the most conversions at the end of the funnel, so all the way down to not only do they add it to cart, but they checked out, and they gave you money.

So, there, you’re able to see both the big picture of, okay, what ads are the source? Am I using Facebook and getting the most ultimate conversions? Am I using Google and getting it, or am I using my own site and getting it? But, also, what are the sticking points? Where’s the falling off? Where’s the friction coming in?

And I’ll give you one other great example of this. I was just down in California for International CRO Day, and Sean Work, who runs the blog over at KISSmetrics, talked about this exactly. And, for him, it was much more of a service-industry focus.

So he was talking a lot about not just getting those people to visit your website and actually buy from you, but then finding out what the sources are, where they’re coming from, of the people that actually stick around, really trying to reduce churn, so that you’re not fooled by those initial numbers into thinking just because it’s getting clicks, it’s actually bringing in revenue.

Dan Levy: Right. People get distracted by the click, but it ultimately comes down to the conversion.

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, absolutely.

Dan Levy: You know, it’s become almost a cliché to hear about how selling to your existing customers can be a lot more profitable than trying to reach new ones. You suggest that there is an opportunity here for display advertisers. How so?

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah. The two real key words here − and they’re often used interchangeably − are retargeting and remarketing. And, sometimes, this can refer to using emails and retargeting. Google calls it remarketing. But, basically, what it boils down to is a culled ad, even if it’s generated by a search, has that dismal 0.1 percent click-through rate on something like Google Ad Display Network.

With retargeting and remarketing, what you’re doing is you’re taking the actual data from where your visitors went on your website. So, if they visited your stiletto section on your shoe store, then you can actually retarget them on other display network sites with those specific products.

So that’s sort of − I call it the micro yes customer, the person that hasn’t actually committed yet, but you’re still leaning on that principle, the weapon of persuasion that Robert Cialdini talks about, consistency and commitment, that people are much more likely, if they’ve taken a small step toward you, to take a larger step later on. And you’re just keeping that fresh in front of their minds.

The other way to do this is Google will actually allow you to tag the customers that ultimately check out, so they buy something from you. And then you can offer not just upsells, but, “If you’re interested in this, you might also be interested in that.” So you’re speaking directly to what someone’s already shown an interest in, whether just at the micro level − “I’m just browsing” − or especially at the, “I’ve purchased this, and now, as we all know, I’m much more likely to purchase again, especially in the short term.”

Dan Levy: Right. You also talk about a case study where customizing on-site display ads resulted in a 149 percent increase in click-throughs for the company Visual Website Optimizer. Can you unpack that one for us?

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, I love this one, yes. This is such a nugget, especially for anybody who’s trying to recruit folks and find the right people. So what Visual Website Optimizer wanted to do was hire new developers in India specifically. So they used behavioral tracking and geo-tracking to isolate where their visitors were coming from.

And they just did a really simple split test where half the visitors from India who went to their homepage got no display ad, and the other half got this − oh, it’s great − this tiny, little − if you can go to the blog and see it, it just says, “We’re hiring in Delhi,” with a smiley face after it, and not even a real smiley face, just an emoticon.

And it’s just that simple − I mean, it’s smaller than their headline. It’s smaller than their button. It doesn’t even necessarily look like a button. And yet, that drove that 149 percent increase to the company’s careers page. I mean, just that specificity of, “You’re here, and we’re talking directly to you,” pays off immensely.

Dan Levy: So is that one of the tricks for combatting banner blindness, you know, make your display ads not actually look like display ads, make them look more conversational, look like regular copy?

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, almost like an instant message or something you would see on a Facebook, and especially because it’s got the specificity that’s, you know, it’s like when I hear my own name, my brain responds differently than when I hear other people’s names. It’s an instinctual response, or even just like − I always think of this as sort of like the, “Thank you, Delhi,” from a concert where everybody goes nuts, even though the band just said their city’s name, and they know they do this at every city, but they still love it.

Dan Levy: Right. They’re reading it off the set list on the floor because they’re −

Aaron Orendorff: Exactly, yeah.

Dan Levy: Right, yeah. It’s funny. You see that tactic done in a sleazy way a lot where display ads, but when you see something that looks like a flashing message from Facebook or something. But, in this case, they’re using that sort of tactic, but in a way that makes sense in the context of the site in that it’s targeted to users who actually find it relevant.

Aaron Orendorff: Yes, and one important word, both targeted and relevant, bringing those two together.

Dan Levy: Targeted and relevant − how do you make that into one word?

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, you want me to start mashing this up? Yeah.

Dan Levy: “Trelevant”? I don’t know.

Aaron Orendorff: “Trelevant”? I have no idea.

Dan Levy: So I’m sure everyone listening wants to get in on this awesome conversion action. What tools do you actually recommend for doing this type of onsite optimization?

Aaron Orendorff: You know, there’s a lot of great resources out there. And KISSmetrics has actually a phenomenal in-depth article on remarketing, retargeting in services specifically, and they give you sort of a pros and cons approach, things like that.

The ones that I’ve had the most exposure to basically fall into three types of categories. And all three of these are about doing exactly what Visual Website Optimizer did, using your own website, because someone’s already come to it, to then direct them to the place that not only fits where they’d like to go, but fits where you’d like them to go.

So some simple ones, first off, coupons, free shipping coupons, discount coupons, coupons specific to pages they’ve visited before with retargeting. A great resource for that is Fanplayr − that’s without an “E.”

And then the banner blindness thing comes up often. And, in fact, Infolinks.com actually registered the domain name BannerBlindness.org. So I’m not sure exactly how − I’m sure it’s not like a non-profit website, but the dot-org always makes me feel warm.

And they’ve got these variety of what they call in-fold, in-text, in-tag where you can have your banner at the bottom of the screen static, kind of like a Hello Bar, but at the bottom instead of the top.

You can actually tag keywords, so that they become hyperlinked to these advertisements, so if someone hovers over the keyword that they used to get to that page, it then sends them to the product itself or the next step in that process. So that’s for product ads.

And then the third one, this one actually I just discovered. I didn’t even include it in the article for Unbounce.

Dan Levy: All right, breaking news, I love it.

Aaron Orendorff: News, yeah. I might just be late to the game, but this is a service called Trendemon, with just one “D,” Trend E-M-O-N. And this is really great for content marketers, for bloggers that are selling a service or a subscription or a membership site. And it tries to actually replace the kind of for-further-reading stuff you often see at the bottom of blog posts. Usually, it’s just generated automatically by either what’s most recent or what’s most popular.

With Trendemon, they actually go in and identify what are the most lucrative paths, what articles connect with the next one that then gets somebody to that membership page? What are the highest converting articles on your site? And then it uses that as essentially a popup at the bottom. When somebody’s read the article and scrolled through, they’re most likely to then commit if they spent that sort of time on it. So those are the three that I’m most familiar with.

Dan Levy: All right. Well, I wanna ask you a little bit about that M-word that seems to be on everybody’s mind these days, mobile. First off, why is it so important to keep mobile in mind when setting up display ad campaigns?

Aaron Orendorff: Well, I mean, the big numbers, we’re all pretty familiar with. 2015 is the first year that we’re gonna see mobile internet viewing surpass desktop viewing, and not just by a little bit either. Estimates that I’ve seen put it at 34 mobile or Smartphone viewing hours to 27 desktop hours per month.

What’s interesting about that is when we look at the actual conversion rates by device type, what we find is a really significant sharp drop-off. So desktop, tablet, iPad, Kindle Fire kind of things usually hover somewhere between 8 and 9 percent conversion rate just across the board.

As soon as we half the screen size, we normally see about a half or even more drop in the actual conversion to around 4 or 5 percent. So there are some hurdles to overcome, not the least of which is the whole − have you heard of the fat-finger phenomenon?

Dan Levy: I have not only heard of it, but I think I suffer from it.

Aaron Orendorff: Okay. Well, everybody does. And this is what accounts for about 40 percent of mobile ads being accidental, based on sort of a bounce rate.

And so those create sort of those first big numbers. This is the need. This is where folks are going. This is where people are, especially starting the process. That’s really important to keep in mind. Whether it’s a service or a product, people start usually on a mobile device, and then they ultimately convert on a desktop.

Dan Levy: Right. I don’t wanna get too technical here, but there is some new jargon to learn when it comes to mobile, so can you tell me a little bit about what responsive ad units are?

Aaron Orendorff: As much as you don’t wanna get technical, neither do it, so I feel for you there.

Dan Levy: Cool.

Aaron Orendorff: The simple answer is responsive ad units are essentially the same as a responsive website. So they’re built behind the scenes to respond to the display size of the device that they’re on, so images get resized. Oftentimes, on a responsive website, you’ll see copy itself get reduced.

And the great thing is neither one of us have to be experts at this. Google already does this automatically. Facebook already does this automatically. And most of the other services that I’ve talked about, anybody who’s reputable is gonna give you that responsive just built right in.

Dan Levy: So what are the most important things to keep in mind when designing those responsive ads for mobile?

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, this is gonna sound so basic, which is great, right, because it’s those simple lessons that we have to return to over and over again, things like image cropping.

But with responsive ads, because you’re trying to anticipate a variety of screen sizes, some of the best practices are: Avoid using text in your images, unless that text is crazy large, unless you’ve tested it out, so that you know when it’s shrunk as an image, it still is eminently readable, just avoid it.

Product images: This is a great one. Product images are much more high-converting than abstract images. If you’re gonna go the sort of abstract-feeling way, there’s some traditional things like, yes, use smiling people, happy people − get a little REM on you − and then especially pay attention to line of sight. You want that − wherever the person’s looking, whether it’s directly at them, or if their line of sight is point towards the call to action, these are just small touches that make a big difference.

And then, with copy, you’re just focusing on exactly what the click is going to do, active language, language that uses the customer’s voice. “Let’s go,” “I’m in,” “Download now,” or my personal favorite, which is just the, “I want to −” fill in the blank, “I want to get access today,” “I want to start my membership today,” “I want to find out the Top 10 benefits of blank.”

Dan Levy: You know, it’s funny. I feel like so many of these tips are important for ad and landing page optimization in general. It’s just that, in mobile, the stakes are so much higher because people are so much more ready to bounce that it forces marketers to just focus on these things even more.

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, that’s a great way to think about it. It’s sort of a condensed, boiled-down experience because people are mobile-snacking and not mobile-reading.

Dan Levy: Right, right. I need to ask you about this one. Can you explain what the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones taught the telecom company T-Mobile about mobile advertising?

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah. So this goes back to the whole, “Just show people the product. That’s what they wanna see.” So T-Mobile launched this campaign when they had a new phone come out a few years ago with Catherine Zeta-Jones as the representative of the entire campaign, and that’s who they featured in all their advertisements.

And I love this quote. This is from User Interface Engineering. They’re the people that were actually behind it. And they explained it just like this: “One older shopper interested in buying a phone with easy-to-press large buttons became frustrated when she couldn’t discern the button size in any of the pictures. When she spotted Catherine Zeta-Jones holding a phone she liked, she became exasperated. ‘She’s a very pretty woman,’ the shopper told us. ‘I just wish I could see the buttons.’”

Yeah, the need to actually show your product in action, or what are the features that are gonna highlight it? And that’s simplicity again.

Dan Levy: Yeah, show it in the context that the user is gonna be using it, so they could actually imagine themselves using it. They know how to use it.

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, instead of Catherine Zeta-Jones using it.

Dan Levy: Right, yeah. Savvy marketers know already that they should be sending their campaign traffic not to their website, but ideally to a dedicated landing page. As we talked about, I’m sure most of the basic rules of landing page optimization still apply here. But is there anything in particular marketers should keep in mind when designing landing pages for display ads?

Aaron Orendorff: Sure. I like to break this down into the two S’s, send and story. And send will often be people talking about aligning the call to action on your display ad with whatever the headline is that you’re sending them to. So it’s very clear, one for one, but send goes beyond just simply the copy itself into things like obviously design, image and color scheme. So there’s a very clear continuity. It’s not a surprise to the person when they click it. There’s no adjustment period.

And the same thing goes for the idea of story. I really love talking to clients about trying to think of their sales funnel as a story that unfolds. The job of the banner ad, the job of the display ad, of the Google AdWord is just to get the click, to entice, to compel an action. And often, you can use things like cliffhangers or the “I want” or a question to drive somebody to the next stage. And then you’re immediately answering it and propelling them onto the next part, the conversion point.

And thinking about it like a story where they’re actually going through a process − there’s kind of this narrative art; there’s a character; they’re the main character of it − really helps you think in those continuity terms a little bit stronger than simply saying, “send” and make it feel the same to us.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s interesting, yeah, using the framework of story to make sure that every element on your page leads you to the next, just the way that a paragraph would in a story.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, yeah, and having a consistent emotion. I mean, okay, so this is obviously − this applies to any sort of campaign, any sort of funnel. The same stuff, image and color absolutely applies to mobile and smaller and display ads.

But the story, having a continuous feel, okay, if you’re gonna go after somebody’s fear, then don’t shift emotions on them from a scary ad to a comforting landing page, right? If you’re going after someone’s excitement, or you’re enticing them, or if it’s driven by lust, then run with it. That’s the emotion that should be amplified every step.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s like a movie or a TV show where you can’t quite figure out if it’s a comedy or if it’s a drama, right? It kind of baits and switches on you, and that’s not a great way to drive people towards that conversion.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, yeah, to communicate in general.

Dan Levy: Yeah, exactly, yeah, communicate in general. I guess a lot of these rules are just − they flow from general communication best practices and ways that you should conduct yourself as a human being talking to other human beings.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, what a beautiful way, yeah, as a human being talking to other human beings.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s what online marketing is ultimately about, right?

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, oh, the conversational element and the building a relationship element, absolutely.

Dan Levy: So I have a feeling you might have converted some display ad skeptic or banner blindness phobics at this point. So what’s the best way for marketers who want to start experimenting more with display ads to get started?

Aaron Orendorff: Getting started, two ways: The simplest and easiest is Facebook. Facebook is gonna be your lowest-entry cost, the most fun to play around with, and really a simple user interface, as well. They’re really easy to create. And it’s so ubiquitous now.

Now, this is gonna depend a little bit on your industry. I mean, things like the average Facebook click-through rate varies quite a bit, and I’ve sort of got some bad news coming. But the lowest-performing, or close to the lowest-performing industry, is advertising in consulting. That’s right about a 0.07 percent. The only thing that performs worse on Facebook − and I found this so hard to believe − is dating sites.

Dan Levy: Oh, wow, interesting.

Aaron Orendorff: Yeah, shock. But things like telecommunication, publishing, and then also just anything entertainment-related has about a 2 to 3 to, in some cases, almost a 10 times improvement on that. So it’s a great place to get started.

Dan Levy: Right. That’s actually kind of good news for content marketers, as well, right, because publishing, entertainment, that’s where you could kind of nudge yourself over to that category.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, yeah, to try to create content that’s in these streams that already exist of why people are there.

Dan Levy: Totally, yeah, but I digress. Sorry for cutting you off there.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, no, not at all. Yeah, and the cost is low. That’s the really great thing. AdWords is, as we all know, incredibly competitive, even just on an all things being equal, we’re looking at about a $2.50 cost-per-click rate, whereas, Facebook comes in at 80 cents cost-per-click, and you can do that by volume and just impression rates, things like that, which comes out to be about 25 cents per 1,000. So it’s a very inexpensive way to get into it.

What I would say is, if you’ve experimented with AdWords before, or if you’re used to using full-body copy, the absolute best place for you to go − and I can’t say enough good things about this dude − is Perry Marshall’s Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising. It is the simplest introduction. And, in fact, Perry Marshall’s got a great podcast, as well, that the amazing folks over at I Love Marketing did where they kind of crash-course you through the difference between AdWords and Facebook advertising.

Dan Levy: That’s best for people who have already used AdWords and are trying to make the transition to Facebook advertising.

Aaron Orendorff: Exactly, or folks that are just used to traditional − I’ve built some landing pages before, I’ve done long-form copy, I’ve written product descriptions, and now, I have a couple of lines to get a point across.

And then the other really great one is your own site. Simple things like what Visual Website Optimizer did, they did with their own service, and they’re an incredibly inexpensive service. Same thing with what you awesome people offer is to A/B test things like geo-targeting, like where the source is coming from, and just start adding those kind of non-button buttons, the, “Come work for us here,” those kind of elements to your own site.

The only trick with that is you’ve got to be sort of a certain level of player obviously to run tests or to see the kind of improvement, but with enough traffic to actually get that, which is why again, go back to Facebook because you’re gonna get the exposure that you need, and you can get immediate feedback.

Dan Levy: Yeah, that’s great advice, using Facebook as your testing ground for testing, testing ground for testing.

Aaron Orendorff: There it is.

Dan Levy: Yeah. I was, like, does that make sense? And, yeah, that’s exactly what I was trying to say.

Aaron Orendorff: That is exactly it, like a human.

Dan Levy: Like a human. That’s great advice. It was so good talking to you, Aaron, appreciate it.

Aaron Orendorff: Oh, thank you. It was really great being here. I look forward to doing more of this kind of stuff with you guys.

Transcript by GMR Transcription


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Beating Banner Blindness [PODCAST]