What we love most about online advertising is its front-end measurability. Nearly all the important metrics you need are readily available: Click-through rates (CTR), costs per click (CPCs), and conversions, summed up in neat little charts for your analytical digestion.
But all of these data points represent real actions taken by real people, which is easy to forget. Online advertising doesn’t come from nowhere, your ads are being evaluated by human beings who all have different likes and desires. And today, it’s important to recognize than ever before.
Advertisers need to be extra careful in segmenting audiences and personalizing their ads, all with the understanding that their customers aren’t just pixels on a screen—they’re people. The brands that hold this philosophy will be better able to develop high quality relationships with their customers while producing measurable results.
Let Them Feel,
Once you’ve identified some of the core (and secondary) characteristics of your audience, it’s time to let them know that you do care about them and they’re not just a number! And one of the most reliable ways to engage your audience on this personal level is through emotion. Connecting with a user through a display ad is no easy task, but by thinking critically about what our products do for our customers, we can heighten those ideas to deliver a poignant message.
Last year the soap brand Dove, after completing a study that found that only 2 percent of women find themselves beautiful, ran a series of video ads entitled “Real Beauty Sketches.” In this campaign, an FBI sketch artist drew women based on her own descriptions, then drew the same women based on other peoples’ descriptions. What they discovered was both eye-opening and inspirational: While so many women pictures themselves in a lesser light than reality, complete strangers saw them in an honestly beautiful way. Although the campaign didn’t mention Dove’s products at all, the brand was able to connect to its audience on an emotional level by tying their advertising to the brand’s commitment to fostering self-esteem in women. And the numbers didn’t lie! Within a month of launch, the video had been viewed more than 114 million times in over 110 countries, and had been transcribed into 25 languages.
Know your people
A recent study found that the more engaged a user is with online content, the better they recall the brand’s name, and more likely, they are willing to buy your products.
If you’ve been running display or pay per click ads for a while, you might think you have a good understanding of your customer base’s demographics. But it can be easy to take these groups and their characteristics for granted, falling short when it comes to meaningful engagement. Digging a bit deeper into your audiences. It can help you uncover subgroups, interests, and motivations you might have been neglecting.
Consider Time and Place
Remember that people, by nature, are social creatures on the internet. A big part of treating your customers like the people they are is being mindful that there’s a time and a place for everything. So you should always consider how your messages impact the user’s online experience and how that represents your brand.
Pretend yourself to be the customer and ask, “Would I receive this form of messaging right here, right now?” On social media, for instance, only 4 percent of Facebook users prefer to see sales messages, and companies have admitted that social ads haven’t panned out. How we engage with brands and messages is different via email, content sites, mobile apps, social media, and even watching television shows online. So it’s crucial to make your communications adjust to the what, where, and how that will be most relevant to the user.
It’s the basic prospect to get to know your audience, while so many marketers and specifically online advertisers have forgotten that. Dig deep into your customer data; find the emotional angle that resonates; alter your language for the subject and audience; segment users wherever relevant; survey the field; and overall, look for the stories in your campaign results. The real challenge and rewards come with proving that your brand sees customers as human beings while basic analytics can help you begin to optimize campaigns,