5 Tips for Successful Online Campaigns

 - December 17, 2012, 1:00 PM

We all know that online advertising has seen marked growth in the past five years. eMarketer reports that online advertising overall will increase 23.3% in 2012 to over $39.5 billion dollars (see article here). On the B2B front alone, it is estimated that online advertising will hit $4.8 billion by 2014. Although Dynamic Logic’s Cross Media Research shows that an integrated media approach using different media channels with synergistic ad messaging works best to build brand metrics, there are specific online strategies one can implement to improve the overall effectiveness of online campaigns. Here are five tips to improve yours:

1. Define the Goals of your Campaign

Too many marketers create banner ads for websites with little thought about the goal for the ad. When determining your goals, here are some things to consider:

Is the campaign trying to create brand awareness or awareness of a new product or service? If so, the name of the brand should appear on every frame of the banner and the selection of the positioning should be highly visible. Branding is also very effective when advertisers make use of a Roadblock by buying several or all of the ad positions on the site.

Perhaps your goal is to dig deeper in to the viewer’s mindset by communicating the benefits of your product or service. In this case each frame of the ad should include both the name of the brand and a single benefit culminating in a final benefit message.

In a competitive environment many online ad campaigns are designed to create preference for your product or service by persuading the viewer that your brand is the best. Brief testimonials, unique features and your brand name work well.

Final goals would be to get the viewer to take action or make a purchase decision. Seldom in a B2B market are purchasing decisions made solely from viewing a banner ad. However getting the viewer to click through to a page where data is captured can be a secondary goal.

2. Create a Worthy Click

We see it all the time. A great ad that creates attention on a website and eventually influences a click, only to end up on the company’s homepage in which an individual must then spend time finding what it is that sparked their interest. They almost never pursue it. The click must be worthy and further engage the audience to accomplish your goal (awareness, purchase intent, etc.).

Ryan Dohrn, CEO of internet consulting firm Brain Swell Media, prefers the use of a custom landing page to help simplify what the viewer gets with a click. He has seen his clients’ lead generation increase 20 percent when using one.

“Custom landing pages help create a simple and elegant way to capture traffic and create a funnel for leads,” said Dohrn. “Sending users to your main site is like dropping someone off at the front door of Costco and telling them to go find a pencil inside and be quick about it.”

A custom landing page can also be valuable in determining your audience’s actions/intent through metrics. Many marketers have found success with custom landing pages that incorporate video. Remember the goal is not just the click – but audience engagement after the click.

3. Influence Action

Banner ads that simply show a pretty picture with seemingly unrelated text are almost always ignored. We all know about banner blindness and how we often don’t even see the banner ads right in front of us. If you want to influence the viewer to take action you have to give them a reason to make the click. Think about what type of promotion would influence you. Offers for free White Papers, free analysis or free samples usually get the attention of the viewer.

4. Use the Right Creative

The right creative unit and message are important to any successful online campaign. The message must be clear and simple. Don’t use “reveal” ads that make the viewer wait until the last frame to understand the message. You only have a second or two of their attention – tell them who you are and why you’re the best right away.

“Most advertisers try to cram 15 lbs into a 5 lbs ad. Simple is always best,” explained Dohrn “I am not aware of a complex ad that was a huge success. Almost all great ideas in advertising present complex ideas in simple ways. Nike - Just Do It. McDonald’s - I’m lovin’ it.”

The audience also should not have to interact with the advertisement to get the messaging. If you are using rich media that encourages interaction make sure that the message is clear even if the viewer does not interact with it. Try creating “test” ads that have the same message in different sizes and formats. Compare the results on different websites to create the perfect ad for each site and audience.

5. Establish Clear Metrics to Evaluate the Success of the Campaign

Based on the goals you have established for each campaign, create in advance the measurements you will use to determine its effectiveness. If you were looking simply to create awareness of your brand or product you’ll want to pay special attention to impressions – how many eyeballs were exposed to your message.

In branding, you’ll want to invest more in buying the maximum number of impressions. On the other hand, if your goal is to get the viewer to take action or purchase you will be interested in the clicks and the click through rate (CTR) but even more importantly what the user did when they got to your site. Set specific measurements such as getting 100 new leads from the campaign. Remember it is not just the clicks that matter but the total reader engagement with your ad.

Emarketer - http://www.emarketer.com/Articles/Print.aspx?R=1008783
Brain Swell Media - www.brainswellmedia.com