5 Key Considerations for Implementing Customized Ads in Your Advertising Strategy
What advertising strategy works best to land new customers? Companies have to stand out from the competition by coming up with messaging that resonates with users. Customized ads and personalization can grab attention in a sea of other voices competing to be heard.
The advertising world changes frequently. Imagine creating an ad 40 years ago and what it looked like. Digital marketing wasn’t on the horizon and spots for radio and television were pricey. Only big players were able to break into national markets.
Fast forward to today, when even solopreneurs have a chance to reach their target audience on social media and search engines. Think of the number of ads people see each day.
The only way to stand out is to have a message the user wants to hear and a solution to a problem that needs solving.
If a brand wants to customize its ads, start with these five key considerations to get the most out of the marketing budget.
1. Know and Segment Users
Around 50% of marketing professionals use ad targeting to enhance the impact of their ads. New advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and audience selection mean campaigns are more segmented and effective than ever before.
Machines can separate people into groups based on set criteria. Something that once took marketers days takes mere minutes to organize.
Take the time to separate customers into categories. Consider the types of ads that drive revenue growth in the company and how they might be best segmented.
Once a brand has a handle on which clients fit into which slots, it’s much easier to target just the ones who might be interested in an offer.
For example, brands might have customers that order every month, once a year or rarely. On the other hand, companies could divide clients into groups based on the types of products they ordered. Ads then become customized as far as what new product announcements get emailed to which group.
Create user personas for each customer type, so the marketing team has an idea of their pain points. Offer them solutions via products or services.
Campaigns can even speak in a language they’ll best understand by segmenting users by gender, age or location. Pay attention to which groups respond best to which campaigns.
Computers help with decision making but the final selection of what users respond to is more creative and should be decided by a human.
2. Create Dynamic Content
Use customized ads to point users to dynamic content. The goal is to drive them to the company site or social media page and keep them there.
If marketers can get a user to interact, it’s likely they’ll buy the product. The longer they stay on the page, the more chances they’ll convert.
Dynamic content changes based on user behavior. One example is on Amazon.com. The system offers suggestions for items the user might like based on previous browsing and buying behaviors.
Users may not even realize why they’re responding so well to dynamic content. They only know the company seems to understand their needs and thought processes.
A simpler approach involves offering several options for the user to choose from. Click on button A and the user goes to information about the service. Click button B and they get special offers. Decide what closes a sale most frequently and use those categories to build the selections. Guide them through a build-your-own story process by having them click on different buttons that match their needs.
How does a marketer tap into the power of customized ads and dynamic content? Start by offering several versions of the ad. Use different images, wording and offers. Select matching target audiences.
As the user interacts on social platforms, the system automates the work, choosing the best ad to serve each individual based on their behaviors and interests.
3. Use Artificial Intelligence
Companies save money and effort by tapping into the power of programmatic advertising. The computer analyzes data in real time and makes adjustments based on how well an audience segment responds to a particular ad.
Brands save money by not spending precious marketing dollars on ads that don’t perform well. Instead, the budget can shift to the offers performing well.
Programmatic advertising demands access to the proper audience for the offer. AI is changing the way companies create advertising campaigns.
AI can sort through massive amounts of audience data, find patterns and make suggestions on the best campaigns to offer.
When campaigns focus on relevancy, they become more engaging. AI has the ability to change the offer to something else if the user segment isn’t responding well.
AI also recognizes the device a user is on, serving up an ad in the size and format that looks best on the device.
Machines can also show the ads at a time when the target is most likely to respond positively. With many people accessing the internet via their mobile devices, the ability to serve ads of different sizes becomes a crucial component in converting users into buyers.
Brands can even use AI to analyze what other companies are doing successfully. Find untapped markets where ads are more likely to stand out. Run simulations to see how users might respond to a specific campaign. Make tweaks and test again until the perfect combination is in place.
Tests happen in real-time in a fraction of the time it would take someone to sort through databases and numbers. The faster computers get, the more intuitive they’ll become about advertising and what works.
4. Strive for Consistency
Creating customized ads might lead to a variety of offers as the company tries to find something that speaks to each individual.
How can companies ensure users don’t see multiple ads for vastly different prices or products? Finding some consistency is key to developing a strong brand image.
First, ensure none of the offers contradict one another. A good ad campaign shouldn’t offer a free two-week trial to one group and say there are no free trials for another.
Be clear if only one offer at a time is available and ensure nothing conflicts. Authenticity is a key component of building trust with customers. If they can’t trust a brand, they’re not likely to recommend it to their family and friends.
Use a brand style guide to ensure the company image is similar across all ads. Use the same voice and tone–fun and light or serious.
Develop a brand persona, just as the company made a buyer persona. Every ad should seem to come from that mock person. Think about the personality of the company and what leaders want it to be.
Check for consistency across different channels. If someone sees an ad online, can they bring the offer to a brick-and-mortar store and receive it?
Check that content aligns with brand standards–especially if multiple people and agencies work on the advertising.
Around 60% of online shoppers order something at least once a month. They’re likely to see offers in multiple locations. Ensure everything remains consistent so they don’t lose trust in the company’s authenticity.
If offering a guarantee, ensure everyone on the team knows it is there and what to do if someone complains and wants a refund.
The more prepared a business is for returns, the easier they’ll be to process. Companies have one chance to make a good impression on the buyer.
5. Test, Test and Test Again
Customization sounds like a great idea when it works. Unfortunately, issues sometimes arise. A database falls out of sync and greets the customer with the wrong first name. Offers get confused and sent to the wrong audience segment. Mistakes happen.
In the worst-case scenario, own up to the issue, apologize for it and explain the steps implemented to prevent a recurrence. People will forgive a misstep. They aren’t as likely to forgive a cover-up or intentional negligence.
Avoid problems in the first place by testing ads. Run offers in test mode and check them to make sure they read as intended. Send out mock email ads to make sure the images appear as they should.
Create multiple offers and carefully track which ones are most successful. Ask several people to look over offers and make sure they are affordable and work as expected. Does the coupon code take a percentage off? Will the free trial run before the card is charged?
Grab analytics and study results from past ad campaigns as a predictor of future success. If something brings the intended results, repeat it.
When it fails, lose it and replace that ad with something new. Over time, a brand will have only successful ad campaigns running.
Pay attention to what competitors do when they send out their customized ads. Repeat their successes and avoid their failures. Choose a specific metric to track and measure how successful an ad is at meeting expectations.
Keep in mind the majority of people look for personalized advertising. They don’t want to feel like another number. Which ad campaigns meet that need?
Why Customized Ads Rule the Day
Generic ads might bring in site visitors if casting a wide net. However, brands save money and effort when they hone in on the right audience with the perfect message.
Take the time to segment customers, speak directly to the audience and personalize the message as much as possible. With a bit of extra effort, browsers will turn into leads and leads into lifelong customers.
About the Author!
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.