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By following our guide to building, planning, and executing your advertising campaign, we show you how to get the most out of your marketing dollars with display advertising campaigns.
- Define your marketing objectives clearly, including the specific audiences you want to reach, and prototype the user experience
- Build your creative with a strong call to action, simplified layout, and a balance between graphics and text
- Run multivariate tests on messaging, images, and CTAs to deliver the best results, and keep refining your execution to match the data
Step 1: Plan
Define Your Marketing Objectives Clearly
Before considering how you want your creative to look and behave, you should think critically about your campaign objectives and decide what is most important to achieve with the audience you will reach. Some calls to action are better for awareness and brand recognition, while others are better at driving conversions and landing page engagement. Prepare your creative to align with your campaign objectives. Consider how the user will need to interact with the creative to drive the best results.
Define the Specific Audiences You Want to Reach
Different audiences will respond to your messaging differently. If you have a product that is more marketable to a certain segment of users, align your creative with that segment to increase interaction. Prepare to use caution with data-driven targeting: there is a fine line between customization to match the audience, and personalizing a creative to the point where it feels like an invasion of privacy. As a best practice, present the user with the most relevant messaging but avoid referencing specific activities or behaviors that may make them feel like their privacy has been violated.
Prototype a Cohesive User Experience
Navigating from the creative to the landing page should feel like a logical step, not an accidental leap. The transition should be seamless for end users, and the ideas and call to action presented in the creative should closely resemble those on the landing page – or at the very least, provide the next logical step in the user's journey. You may also achieve lower bounce rates by sharing a similar design or keeping key visual elements consistent between the creative and landing page.
Step 2: Build
Include a Strong Call to Action
The most important part of your creative is the call to action (CTA). It guides the user in the direction of the action you want them to complete. Some CTAs, such as "Buy Now" or "Add to Shopping Cart", might work great for a consumer audience, but in the world of B2B, there are often many collaborative influencers involved in research and selection of a product or service. Tech Buyers may offer less resistance and respond better to softer CTAs with less risk, such as "Try it Now" or "Download Free Trial". Just make sure your CTA aligns with the rest of the creative, the landing page, and your campaign objectives.
Simple is Best
Most web sites present a myriad of content for users to consume, including articles, videos, whitepapers, user communities and forums, and more. With all of the content available to choose from and the flexibility of users to freely navigate the web as they choose, creative that clearly conveys an idea at its most basic level will have maximum effectiveness. Save in-depth messaging for engagement that occurs after the initial action, such as post-click engagement on the landing page.
Balance Graphics and Text
Your ad unit shouldn't read like an article or short story – users should be able to quickly digest your message and get an idea of what you are offering without spending a lot of time reading. Visuals do a better job of quickly and clearly communicating an idea than large amounts of text. When you need to use more text, be sure it makes sense within the context of your objective and flows naturally within your creative. For example, if your objective is to increase product awareness by allowing users to read a short executive brief in-banner, then the initial message and call to action will be brief, while the executive brief content might include longer passages of text.
Encourage Social Participation
In today's highly-connected and socially-enabled world of digital marketing, the user community can provide a great supplement to your campaign's ROI – without actually spending any money. By allowing users to share content from within your creatives or landing pages, you are enabling potential customers that you may not reach with your initial campaign to get in on the action. Enabling likes, favorites, shares, and other user-generated activities from within your creative and landing pages can result in higher share of voice and better overall campaign results.
Step 3: Optimize
Run Multivariate Tests
Most publishers will allow you to run A/B tests to help fine-tune your creative and optimize to the best-performing message. Be sure to select a publisher or ad serving platform that is flexible and allows variants in creative and rotation between different messages. As your campaign evolves over time, plan to periodically review the behavior and functionality of your creatives to ensure messaging and calls to action remain consistent with your goals. If you aren’t getting the results you expected, try using alternate CTAs or color schemes to mix things up and stay fresh.
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