What Results Should You Expect From Your Display Ads?
Everyone wants an easy formula for calculating results from display advertising. Almost every marketer today is putting together banner ads and promoting their products and services. Display advertising is one of the most popular advertising avenues with numbers increasing exponentially each year. 2015 revenue climbed to $59.6 billion in the U.S., 20 percent higher than in 2014 (Heine, 2016).
These numbers mean there are a lot of different advertisers, in a lot of different industries, with a lot of different audiences they are trying to reach. These numbers also tell you display advertising is an essential piece of the marketing puzzle for communicating your brand and messaging to your desired audience. Unfortunately, understanding the effect on this audience becomes very difficult when it comes to reviewing analytics or tracking sales numbers in your board meetings.
The best way to gauge the success of your display ad is to first understand what you are trying to accomplish for your brand. Recognizing the place in the B2B buying journey (Ebert, 2016) each marketing method fits with is also important in gauging your results. Finally, reading the metrics you have at your fingertips and understanding the story these metrics are telling about user interaction with your brand helps you figure out what your campaign achieved.
Where in the B2B buying journey is your target audience?
The right answer? Anywhere. Well, that’s a pretty vague answer. What does that mean?
You want to ensure that you are using programmatic and a variety of other online and offline methods to generate brand awareness and push more users to your end goal of hitting the purchase and renewal phase. Even though you have those clients under your belt this year, there are always a handful of other companies vying for the same audience.
As an example, there are about 105,000 veterinarians in the U.S. alone (AVMA, 2016). If your business is one of 10 companies selling exam tables to these vets, you are always going to be competing against one another for the same audience. This means even if you have won a large number of those vets – say 40 percent – those other nine companies are still trying to “bring them to the dark side” and switch suppliers.
Maintaining brand awareness and advocating your company’s brand throughout the year is important to remind these customers how much you appreciate working with them. Creating different messages for the ads at different points of the B2B buying journey will also help you move those users toward the final stages of purchasing and renewing. (Check out MultiView’s vice president of programmatic Yariv Drori’s e-book for display ad best practices when creating your banners.)
Once you understand where in the B2B buying journey your marketing efforts are focused on, you can begin to assess those marketing methods for results.
Now, where are my results?
Once you have an idea of what your goals are and where each targeting method falls in the B2B buying journey, you can review your results. Since each event in the journey uses a different targeting method, each event is going to have a different way of gauging results.
In the unaware stage, tactics like audience segment targeting and geofencing tradeshows allows your brand to push your messaging to your desired audience before they are even looking for you. There are also a lot of association-specific publications you can advertise in to ensure your branding is reaching your desired audience throughout the year.
These display advertising methods are important to maintain your brand’s message in front of your desired audience at all times. Make sure your creative reflects the audience you are targeting at this stage.
Going back to the vet example, promoting your exam tables directly to vets with a generic message about the quality of the exam tables puts your company on their mind the next time they have issues ordering or quality assurance problems. Results in this phase can be seen in your SEM efforts and organic traffic, where you begin seeing more searches for your company name, or even seeing a lift before and during your marketing efforts in your website’s traffic.
There are also metrics in place with many display advertisers that track when an ad has been seen, but not clicked, which is often referred to as a view-through action. This will allow you to measure traffic that is seeing your ads, and making it to your site via other means, like searching online or getting picked up by your PPC efforts. All of these techniques will allow you to measure the targeting accuracy of the methods you are using, which is the key goal in the unaware stage.
Next is the research, consider and evaluate stages, which I’m going to lump together for reviewing results. After a user decides to switch brands or starts looking for a new supplier, they are going to spend a lot of time online researching competitors, reading reviews, and downloading content and whitepapers in an effort to narrow down suppliers. It is important to target your audience behaviorally as they are searching for terms and reading through online content hunting for their new choice.
Messaging will need to focus more on why the audience should choose you over a competitor. Keeping your brand in front of these users is important in keeping your message top of mind as they research new companies. Results during this phase can similarly be seen in increases in search queries for your company and services and a lift in traffic. You will also be able to see users interacting more on your website, downloading whitepapers, traveling to your contact page, downloading catalogues, etc.
Similar to the unaware stage, you can also review the view-through numbers to ensure targeting accuracy and compare CTRs and view-throughs between this targeting and the targeting you are using for the unaware stage.
Finally, we’re getting to the purchase and renew phase where the people that you have helped through the B2B buying journey are finally ready to make a decision. Having retargeting in place on your website is a great programmatic tool you can use to keep your brand in front of this audience. Having a strong call to action and a message that brings your users back to your site are easy ways to have abandoned traffic return to take your intended action.
We want to make it as easy as possible for the audience to purchase, so having phone numbers and online forms easily accessible throughout your website is very important. You can also track these form fills or actions using the view-through conversion tracking to see users that have either seen the banner or clicked on it, and filled out the desired action at a later date. Placing tracking codes on different actions will also help you understand what your traffic is interacting with on your site.
All of your display advertising is driving varying degrees of targeted traffic to your website and it is up to you to ensure it is as easy as possible for users to convert from there. Reading metrics and reviewing form fills is great, but you need to also understand where these are appropriate measurement techniques. For example, if you are looking for brand awareness and the ability to target users that are just beginning their research phase, you might not see the form fills you would if you were targeting traffic in the purchase phase. But once you understand where in the B2B buying journey your marketing efforts fall, then you can begin to measure and review the results of these marketing methods.