Thursday, April 3, 2014

Online Marketing - More Than Banner Ads

The 90s and early part of this century saw a wild-west of advertising plaguing websites. "CLICK THIS"and "SECRET TIPS TO..." flooded the internet (and frankly still do in many cases). Response rates in the past 20 years have plummeted to almost approx. 0.02% of people taking action/clicking on ads - and probably many of those were by mistake.

Terrible Banner Ads

In the past few years we have seen a shift in online marketing primarily through re-marketing/re-targeting with the help of cookies - and advertising options as a whole have gotten much better, however, far too few companies actually jump onboard...and that is mind-boggling to me.

We are getting to a point in online advertising where the paid ads that we see - we are seeing for a reason. Not just because we happen to be between 25-54 years old. Not just because we happen to not fast forward a commercial. We are seeing them because we have made an action - and that signifies our true buying potential.

Are you really a potential buyer of a new Subaru because you're between 21-45? No, but you are if you Google "Subaru" "Impreza" "Tribeka" or "WRX." You are more likely a potential buyer if you want to follow a Subaru Facebook page. You are a potential buyer if you tweet "OMG I totes heart the Subaru Crosstrek!" It's these people that Subaru will spend their dollars on. Sure, they'll buy the occasional mass media ad - but dollar per dollar / dollar per actual targeted demo, it's hard to get more targeted than showing a Subaru ad to someone you know is already interested in that brand. How much does targeting someone this specific cost? Impression per impression, about the same.

Let's take it a step further.

Sure, if you click on an ad or Google a certain brand, you'll probably see that brand's ad online in random places all over the internet for the next couple weeks (if they company is smart) - but what about Facebook? You know, that space where you and your friends/family come together and talk about cats and babies. That space right in the middle ("Newsfeed") where the eye naturally scrolls...not the random sidebar ads or blinking flash ads that your eyes try to avoid. We are talking about that place down the center that the potential customer can't avoid.

What you don't want to do in this space is piss off a potential buyer with all caps about your 10% savings. No, this place is sacred for your audience. You're sticking your head into the huddle of their friends-only conversations - what are you saying to them? What are you showing them? Do they want to see your sales message? As a whole, no they don't. But what if you were certain that they wouldn't mind seeing your product. What if you had proof that they've recently checked out your product recently - yet they didn't buy it just yet...they went away to think about it. Let me show you what I mean.

I get tons of emails that I constantly have to unsubscribe to because I don't want the crap they yelling at me to buy. There are a few emails that I occasionally open and browse around if I have a few minutes - and one of those email subscriptions is from Fab makes their emails "bite-sized" and easy for me to navigate - easy for me to quickly see a few products and either move on and wait for the next email or take an action and actually consider buying something.

Recently, I opened an email and something caught my eye. It was a colorful world map that I thought looked pretty cool. I opened the link to enlarge the image to get a better look. I sent a screenshot onto Marek (my wife) to get her opinion. Then I went on with my day. Had I a few more minutes - I may have purchased it right then and there, but I wanted to think about it. Similar to many of you, I always intend on remembering everything, but sometimes I need to be refreshed every once in awhile.

Now, here's where it gets creepy/cool depending on your perspective. obviously knows my email address (and many of you have email lists of your current buyers/shoppers/fans). knows that user (my email address) clicked and opened the email housing an image (color map) which led to their website. Their website then kept data on what I did on their site...and their website "dinged" my exit when I got to the "pay site." Their website now knows that user (Casey) was interested enough in our brand to open the email - interested enough in a product (color map) to make an action (clicking), and interested enough to go all the way to the pay section of that product...but more importantly they know one action I didn't make - the option to purchase.

What did do from there? They loaded my email info into Facebook's database - and Facebook notices that the same email I use for Fab's email chain is the same email I use to login to Facebook...and that's it. Fab now knows that if they want to show an ad on Facebook about their product that they could simply run ads to everyone on Facebook between 22-40 and hope one of them likes to travel and may be interested in a world map...or they could just show the person they absolutely, without a doubt know is already somewhat interested...paying approx. the same per impression, don't you think this form of advertising would yield higher than 0.02% click-rate?

I love smart marketing.

Social Media Director
VI Marketing and Branding