I recently came across an article from AdAge that suggests that marketers should move away from holding banner ads accountable for conversions and instead focus on branding metrics. The basis for this comes from a study that found clicks aren’t an important metric for measuring the success of a banner ad. The study was run on campaigns from 18 advertisers, and found almost no correlation between a click on a banner ad and a conversion.
I, respectfully, disagree. Display ads can drive conversions and the correlation between a click on an ad and a conversion can be greatly increased with message matched, ad-specific landing pages.
The problem that hurts the conversion rate of too many display ads is that they lead to generic, message mismatched landing pages. A click means that your ad worked; it got someone’s full attention. A ‘hover’ over your ad is good, but a click is a chance for you to take the clicker’s active interest and turn it into a conversion. What happens after that inital click on an ad – the landing page experience where those interested clickers are sent — is what makes the difference between a great conversion rate and the conclusion that display ads just aren’t conversion-accountable. A successful, conversion-accountable display ad strategy requires ad-specific landing pages that are tightly aligned with the ad message and imagery.
Still skeptical? Let me share with you one of our display ad campaigns.
A couple of months ago we launched a banner campaign on eMarketer’s website. eMarketer’s content attracts the type of marketers that are within our target audience so we were excited to test out this traffic source.
Each display ad offers a single content piece tailored to appeal to eMarketer’s visitors, like this:
And then each ad leads to a landing page with messaging and imagery that directly aligns with the ad, while also featuring a strong, value-enforcing call-to-action.
Since launching this campaign in December, we’ve tested 6 pieces of content, 18 different banner ad variations, and 11 landing pages. We’re testing everything from the ad call-to-actions, landing page layouts and the actual content offerings (6 total) to which ad sizes and ad locations (on the eMarketer page) perform best.
From December 1st though April 30th, our overall campaign conversion rate is 47.2%. We’re converting nearly half of our banner ad clicks.
The conversion rate is awesome, but what’s even better is that these conversions are quality leads. Leads that have created serious opportunities for our sales team, and leads that have our sales team loving display ads too.
Don’t hate on display ads! With the right strategy and message matched landing pages, they can get serious, accountable results.