In the age of the ‘attention economy’, we need to do more not just to capture, but to hold our target audience’s gaze. This is where the age-old battle between copywriters and designers comes into play: should we engage our customers through words or images?
For the best marketing strategy, there’s no reason why we can’t do both. But if we’re homing in on eCommerce, there is a reasonable argument to focus on the visual.
What Are Display Ads?
Whether you’re a seasoned Googler or a first-time ad-maker, your eCommerce strategy should not be without display ads. Quite simply, display ads are banners that appear on websites in the ‘Google Display Network’ – a collection of sites that earn a commission from hosting ads.
When designing and targeting display ads, we can select which kind of audiences we want our ads to appear in front of. In theory, this means our products should be positioned in front of our target customers – dresses on a fashion blog, for example.
We can also use display ads to ‘retarget’ customers. Ever wondered why those shoes are following you around the internet after you’ve been browsing? It’s all to do with remarketing, which can convert up to 70% more customers.
Tips for Succeeding with Display Ads in eCommerce
One of the biggest challenges for eCommerce branding professionals is standing out in saturated markets. So, how can we make our brands stand out? There are many ways to approach it, from better targeting to user experience.
Google now considers not only great content but a great user experience, when ranking websites organically. This means the content should be accessible and easy to interact with. Let’s think about accessibility for a moment: have you considered the colour scheme of your banner ad? Does the text contrast against the background? How does it all impact ad quality score?
You’ll also need to test the best effectiveness of your responsive content. You can do this by pressing F12 in the Chrome browser and seeing how your ads look on mobile and desktop. If your ads don’t adapt to the changing sizes of different devices, your users won’t click and it will ultimately affect a decrease in conversions and increased bounce rate.
Refining Your Targeting
All is not as it seems when it comes to display advertising. This may even make you reconsider your branding altogether. For example, a women’s jewellery retailer might be targeting adverts towards women on an appropriate website in the network. But what if these items are bought as gifts by men? When we consider the different angles and touchpoints for our customers, we actually give ourselves a lot more options.
Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, consider making multiple ad groups to reflect these audiences. Run the ads, measure the results, refine and start again.
For better results, you can even try managed ad placement – this allows you to expressly select where you want your ads to appear, rather than Google choosing based on demographic. Take a look at your Analytics data to see where your click-throughs come from.
Be Consistent in Your Branding
For the biggest breadth of coverage in eCommerce branding, you should trial ads in a number of different sizes (long and skinny versus square, in simple terms!). But make sure your branding and messaging are consistent across all of these. If you have different logos, colours and typography, this will only serve to confuse your customers – and risk losing sales.
Run Trials with Your Budgets
The Google Display Network is accessible to 90% of internet users on the entire planet. Therefore, as it’s so huge, the downside is that there’s potential for your daily advertising budget to run out before the day even gets going. When you start, consider experimenting with smaller budgets to get a feel for how your audience reacts.
You may identify a few changes straight away – for example, ads appearing on a totally irrelevant site. You can exclude these from Google and ensure your ad spend goes toward something more relevant, giving you more leeway to increase budgets in the future.
Remember: It’s Not All About the New Customers
As we mentioned above, retargeting ads can attract up to 70% more customers, so don’t focus on new customer acquisition alone. Try to customise your ads to acknowledge the fact that viewers have seen them before. All it takes is a simple change of language, from a playful ‘forgotten something’ to scarcity marketing: ‘just X days left!’.
While we’re on the topic of language, don’t forget to leave a clear call to action in all your eCommerce display ads. That’s not a catch-all ‘click here’ – it’s a clear instruction such as ‘buy now’ or ‘view sale’.
Ready to get started with or improve your existing display advertising? Don’t go in blind – make yours work for you with these tips:
- Use accessible, responsive design with clear calls to action
- Be consistent with branding across all ad types
- Make use of features such as remarketing and managed ad placement
- Reconsider your audience based on your analytics
- Remember that there is some degree of trial and error.