What’s the Point? A Guide to Ad Conversions

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Marketing ain’t what it used to be. Brands are no longer expected to simply sell their product or services. It’s all about long-term brand strategy now, and building a successful brand requires hitting several different conversion points by encouraging a diverse set of desired user actions.

In online advertising, a conversion isn’t exactly synonymous with  a “sell”. Any number of desired user actions stemming from your pay per click ads can contribute to greater overall brand awareness and loyalty that will sell your product in the long run. In fact, according to PPC.org, the diversification of an online campaign can save up to 25 percent on marketing costs by hedging your risks and establishing long-term customer engagement programs. Virtually any user action can eventually lead to revenue for an online advertiser. This article will explore some strategies that advertisers can use to hit these different conversion points, in order to build a loyal and consistent following.

The Sell
While it is perhaps the most coveted and directly beneficial conversion type, figuring out how to sell products through display or banner ads can be very challenging. Pay per click ads can be great for e-commerce sites looking to boost sales figures, as long as they are utilized correctly. Here are three keys to success when running pay per click ads:

  • Product-focused keyword research. Use a keyword planning tool to find low-competition, high-relevance keywords that direct people toward your products.
  • Diligent testing and refinement. Always be experimenting. Use your top-converting ad groups as a model for future revisions of your ad copy, keyword lists, and display ad designs.
  • Understand your value. Make sure the content of your ad is focused, giving the user one or two key benefits that your product provides. Is it a better product than your competitor’s? Is it the kind of product that pays for itself? Is it a time-saver? Latch onto value points like these to address one of the most significant barriers to any conversion: lack of clarity and purpose.

While sales conversions are certainly the most directly lucrative for the advertiser, sales-driven campaigns may do little to truly engage your audience online. Which brings us to…

The Offer
Special offers are a long-standing, proven method for acquiring new customers. But today’s online audiences already have their one-stop-shops for spur of the moment deals. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer consumers a quick and easy to use interface, dedicated to pushing brands’ coupons and special offers.

When promoting an offer in your online ads, take a page out of their book and make the process quick and easy. Give the user a clear idea of the value of the promotion, ideally in the headline (“$50 worth of socks for $15!”) and create a quick path to conversion. Hopefully no more than 3 clicks from the ad impression!

If you are running a sweepstakes offer, this is a fantastic opportunity to create buzz around a specific product or service. You can use “brand evangelists” to catapult your brand through organic promotion, be it through their blogs, social accounts, or good ol’ word-of-mouth. Sweepstakes are also a great opportunity to gather contact information: the user usually provides the brand with some basic information, such as their name and email address, in return for the chance to win a free product or service.

The Sign-Up
Is filling out a simple web form a “conversion”? You bet. There are a variety of different types of online sign-up forms that advertisers can use to generate business leads and brand loyalty. The common denominator between all of them is that they promise future interaction between the customer and the brand.

For example, a signup form for an e-newsletter promises that future mailings will include valuable information: a new product, a special offer, or any other type of company update. But if you’re not already positioning your brand as innovative through your larger marketing strategy (landing pages, ad copy, and existing product line), this can be a tough conversion.

The same goes for a more traditional sign-up form like the classic lead generation form. If you’re collecting leads through a form on one of your campaign’s landing pages, the content of that page must: clearly and concisely sum up the benefit of your offering; and explain why taking the next step is a necessary stop along the conversion path.

Many brands, often providers of services, will also offer their visitors an online community to participate in—requiring them to register as a forum or community user to access valuable, educational information. American Express’s OPEN Forum is a prime example of this.

Online communities are a fantastic opportunity to separate your brand from its competitors by advertising the community’s “experts”, and giving examples of exclusive information on the landing page to entice new users.

The Pageview
Sometimes, the desired user action is simply to read and spread the word about your content. If brand awareness and reputation are priorities for you, consider using blog posts or other original content sources as your landing page. Adhere to general standards for high quality online content:

  • Write with engaging language, providing exclusive information that can’t be found elsewhere.
  • Use credible sources of data.
  • Encourage social media shares, bookmarking, and RSS follows in your content’s call-to-action. This will help convert impressions into readers who will hopefully become brand loyalists.
  • Install Google Authorship plugins to give your content some ethos.

Diversifying your ad campaign’s calls-to-action will inevitably lead to a more diverse set of conversion actions from your audience. And it’s these active users who will serve as the foundation of your brand for years to come. Sure, selling your core offerings and reaping quick ROI from your campaigns will always be a top priority. But by establishing alternative points of marginal success, you’re shortening future conversions paths and equipping your marketing plan with the insurance policy it deserves.

Since 2001, Advertise.com has offered competitive online advertiser and publisher solutions to companies around the globe. Our mission is to help advertisers achieve their best ROI with quality, cost-effective ad units, as well as provide our publishers with monetization tools that yield the most revenue.

Contact us to learn more or get started with your advertising campaigns.