This week we are discussing Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) Headline Ads. This is part 2 of a two part series on Amazon Marketing Services. If you want to see Part 1 where Greg demonstrates how to qualify for AMS and how to set up and optimize Product Display Ads, you can see that here. In this session we’ll learn how to set up the Headline ads, how to optimize and improve them, and a peek into the Jungle Snugs account. This is some really good stuff, make sure you check this out if you are at the point of advertising for your product. And the complete slide deck from the presentation: Jungle Snugs Updates Here’s a snapshot of how the product has done so far. They launched on June 2nd, and this is the screenshot on July 19th, roughly six weeks in: Total units and sales in this six week period? 849 Units Sold $15,143 in Sales So far we’re really happy with the progress, daily sales are climbing nicely even after just six weeks. This shows that with the right launch strategy you can quickly see progress from your investment into a profitable product. AMS Headline Ads … Read More
If you’re keeping up with the latest B2B trends, you’ve probably heard or read the term “Account Based” recently. Many B2B organizations deal with a smaller lead pool and longer sales cycle, which means you’ve probably had to adjust your marketing campaigns accordingly. And, that’s where account-based marketing and sales come in.
Beyond buzzwords, making anything ‘account-based’ is a process and not something that happens overnight. To make the process easier for you, I’ve put together a breakdown of how being ‘account-based’ works specifically for sales, and then five tips on how to manage your account-based sales (ABS) team.
Your ABS Team
Establishing the right inputs to guarantee successful outputs starts with assembling the right team. B2B sales requires a comprehensive, multi-channel approach to nurturing leads at different levels. To be successful, you’ll want to assemble a focused team to manage your different channels and campaigns.
#1: VP of Sales
Your VP of Sales is responsible for managing your account-based campaigns. They focus on ensuring the attainment of goals and quotas and should be a talented and motivational people manager.
Your VP of Sales can also serve as the “heavyweight” in your big-client meetings as well as a brand evangelist. This means keeping an active social media presence and building your brand’s awareness as an industry thought leader. While this role does not have to be reserved for the VP, it is a role you will want on or accessible to the marketing team. The core value of this role is in building awareness, securing partnerships, and expanding overall brand authority. If you think for a minute, you can probably think of an example of a company that has benefited from having a vocal, consistent, thought leader and advocate at the VP level (Moz comes to mind for me).
#2: Account Sales Executive
Your Account Sales Executive will be the primary “salesperson” of your ABS team. This team member will be responsible for holding meetings with prospective accounts and managing (or collaborating with) the Business Development (or Sales Development) reps as they find and prospect new accounts.
Your Account Sales Executive will be able to ideally close deals from the meetings that SDRs generate by following the process I’ll document later in this post.
#3: Business Development
BDRs or SDRs (Business Development Reps/Sales Development Reps) will handle most of your outreach cadences as well as manage your VA (virtual assistant) if you have one. These individuals are the true yeomen of your account-based system. They’ll test different email sequences, create new voicemail scripts, and crank out many of the hands-on aspects of account-based sales with emails and follow ups, etc. Your BDR will dive into the details to schedule meetings and demos for your Account Executive to close deals.
While many teams run marketing and sales as separate departments, it doesn’t mean they should be disconnected strategically. I believe they need to work together seamlessly to be effective.
#4: Virtual Assistant Data Scientists
Now you’re going to need a lot of data, and you probably have plenty, but the hard work is in making sense of your data and extracting insight that will help you craft emails and outreach interactions that are valuable to users. Unfortunately, the three primary members of your ABS team are all tied up. This is where the VA (virtual assistant) Data Scientist comes in (or marketing/sales operations for many teams).
This employee is critical for a scalable ABS system. While your BDR’s and Account Executives crank away at their work, your VA is prospecting new accounts to target. Not only that, your VA should be prospecting contact information for at least three of the decision makers in each of your target accounts.
This way, instead of paying for lead lists, you can go after the exact contact at the exact company you are targeting.
#5: Account-Based Content Marketer
Sure content marketing may sit on the marketing team, but I did already address that it’s critical to have a partnership. An account-based content marketer creates and promotes content for your end buyer that addresses their questions and pain points and arms your sellers with something valuable to start or continue a conversation.
For example, imagine you are an SEO software company, and you want to raise awareness amongst companies that recently got funded.
With this in mind, your account-based content marketer will create a content strategy to address your target audience and could craft an asset called: “The Average Organic Visitors of Series C Funded Firms: Winners and Losers.”
Not coincidentally, this piece would support the efforts of your BDR/SDRs as they communicate directly to your target accounts and schedule meetings to discuss how your software can help them overcome their competitors.
5 Tips for Account-Based Success
Now that I’ve walked through the roles you need at a foundational level to successfully execute an account-based program. Here are five tips to help get you to the next level.
Tip #1: Weekly 30 min. Monday Morning Meeting
One of the keys to success with an account-based program is how quickly you can learn (and iterate) from failed tests. To decrease your time to success, we recommend a weekly meeting of your ABS and ABM stakeholders every Monday morning. In this meeting discuss the previous week’s performance, but also dive into the goals for the coming week.
In my organization, one of our greatest successes came from changing our team dynamic to include organized weekly sprints, which created accountability by setting quotas for not only sales but also marketing and advertising.
Tip #2: Data Is Critical
The importance of the right data can not be overstated. If you are targeting the wrong accounts, ABS will fail. If you do not have current emails or phone numbers, the process can fail. If you are targeting the wrong persona with the wrong message, your account-based program will fail.
Thus, having clear firmographics and psychographics is of the utmost importance. Here’s an example of what you should be looking at when you name a target account:
- Industry: B2B SaaS
- Titles: VP of Marketing, Marketing Manager, Demand Generation
- Software: Marketo
- Trigger Events: Funding
- Data Sources: Angel.co
Tip #3: Work From The Middle Up
As you are developing your program, don’t go after the big fish right away. It seems obvious, but I don’t want you to miss this—there’s a lot of learning and testing that goes into each team’s journey learning and executing a successful account-based strategy. Make sure you give yourself and your team time to learn with a pilot program.
Also, you don’t want to start at the very bottom of your target accounts as they might not be the ideal fit. My recommendation—start in the middle. Target the mid-market of your target audience and then once you have your campaigns perfected go after the top and bottom.
Tip #4: Don’t Run Your Campaigns Shorter Than The Buying Cycle
A big mistake we made and many others make is that they run their account-based team’s program on cycles that are too short. For us, the average contract is up every 6-12 months. In other words, almost every marketing contract is up for grabs once a year.
If you know that, then why would you only target an account over a 30 day period? You now have a 1 in 12 chance that the timing will be right. Thus, it’s critical you know your industry and increase a number of touches over time with your accounts and don’t have your team sprinting in the wrong direction.
Tip #5: Help, Don’t Sell
When managing your team be careful to not set quotas that improperly encourage your team to hard sell over help. Remember, the #1 thing that influences a deal is timing…and you can’t control that, so just let it go. Instead, focus your team on helping your target accounts at every touch point and allow the demand for you to build until eventually, the timing is right.
Whether you are a seasoned account-based leader or just getting your feet wet, with the right team and careful execution increasing returns from your efforts are right around the corner. Who do you think is critical to account-based sales? How have you structured your team?
The post How to Manage an Account-Based Sales Team appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
Display ad inventory includes great sites and plenty of terrible ones. As a result, advertisers continue to push for greater control over where their ads show. Avoiding ads on low quality and offensive sites it more important than ever.
The good news is that negative placements will assist us in this endeavor. The bad news is that like many routine changes, it is a drudge of a task to implement at large numbers. In AdWords we can take advantage of AdWords scripts to handle the bulk of this work.
In this article, we’ll move from concept to an automated solution and cover a few opportunities for improving the script. This won’t be a perfect solution for every case but you will come away with a clear path to implementing this script or something similar in your own accounts.
In this example, our client has an internal list of negative placements. Ads must not show on these URLs. Every week a new list is created and exported to a Google Sheet. Any changes, additions or removals, must be implemented in the active AdWords display campaigns.
Breaking Down The Requirements
We can break the problem into simpler steps for writing the script.
- A Google Sheet with the desired negative placements
- A place to put the new negative placemements
- A way to keep the placements in the account up to date
Using a Google sheet means we’ll used the SpreadSheetApp functionality in the script.
Our best bet for negatives is a shared list. We can use this list for all campaigns and avoid updating each campaign individually.
Keeping the placements up to date means we need a process for adding new ones and removing old ones.
Now that we’ve broken down the components into simple steps, we can start building the script.
Interacting With The Spreadsheet
Our first step is to pull the list from the spreadsheet. Using the built-in functionality, we can access the sheet by a URL and then extract the necessary columns.
In the code below we open the spreadsheet by the URL, select the necessary sheet, select the range. Finally, we use getValues() to extract the values from the selected range. It may sound complicated but if you take a step back, you will realize that we completely the exact same steps as we would manually.
Selecting the negative list
Now that we have data we need to select the proper list. We’ll assume we’ve already built a list, named Exclusion Master List.
Selecting the list is simple, we’ll search for it by name in excludedPlacementList. Once we have it, we can store it for later use.
Replacing The Old List
We don’t know which URLs changed and new ones are not always added at the end of the file. This means we need to find any differences between the current list in the account and the new list in the Google Sheet.
The client in particular had tens of thousands of URLs. Trying to search for matches became time consuming and I did not want to the script to time out. As a result we’ll brute force this section.
Rather than trying to match up the list, we’ll wipe all the URLs and replace them with the new list.
We’ll pass our negative list into a function, access the excluded placements in that list. While there are placements left, we will remove them.
Note that we are storing this is a function to make our lives easier in the future. The function isn’t necessary but makes the code more flexible and manageable.
Adding The New Placements
We are now in the last phase! We selected all our negative placements, we’ve cleared the old list, and we are ready to upload the new placements.
Similar to the list wipe, we’ll select the same Exclusion Master List. Storing it as a variable means we can access it by name again.
You can only add the individual placements one by one. There is no mass copy and paste. We’ll use a loop to select each placement in our list and add it. We don’t have a handy hasNext() for the pulled placements so we will use a for loop will start at the beginning and cycle through each placement until it gets to the end.
Are We Done And What Is Next?
We are pretty much done at this point. We simply need to run the script on a schedule and it will routinely wipe and add negatives as needed.
To recap we wrote a script to,
- Access a Google Sheet with our negative placements
- Access a specific list
- Remove old negatives from the list
- Add new negatives to the list
All simple enough tasks but with enough switching around to make manually updating these a pain.
If we wanted to take the script a bit further we could check each campaign to see if it had the list applied. If a list was not applied to a campaign, the script would apply the list. This would keep everything in line and ensure targeting was always consistent. This is goes beyond the quick and dirty approach we took in this article but Here’s an AdWords script to apply shared campaign negative lists everywhere from Dan Gilbert of Brainlabs is a great resource.
You could also expand the script to handle cleaning and updating multiple lists. This could be due to limits, lists can only hold 65,000 negatives, or you’d like to separate lists by type of placement. All you’d need to do is duplicate some of the same processes per list.
We’ve covered a lot of material today, especially is you are inexperienced with scripts. If you ever need additional inspiration or examples you can find a plethora on the the Google Developer’s Resource page with, code samples, reference materials for every object and function, and fully built solutions.
One of the most valuable pieces of the Hero Conf experience is our day 3 workshops that dive deep into the topics most relevant to today’s PPC marketer. And we’ve expanded our offerings to include three great options that are applicable regardless of role or seniority.
Join us in London, 23-25 October to experience these great workshops:
Excel Hero Workshop
After a huge first edition, the Excel Hero Workshop returns! Designed with the expert-level account manager in mind, these small group sessions are dedicated to uncovering efficiencies and effective work habits with Excel.
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Agency Hero Workshop
Hanapin’s president, Jeff Allen, discusses how to grow your agency from the ground up. This workshop is aimed to help search agency executives learn the ins and outs of what makes the wheel turn. From hiring, training, and recruiting to marketing, sales, and client services, the Agency Hero Workshop will teach you how to effectively develop your business.
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Account Hero Workshop
Representatives join us from an array of ecommerce and lead generation organizations to help managers and analysts optimize their PPC accounts. Our experts will allow you to guide the conversation, 1-on-1, and help find valuable solutions that best address your PPC needs.
Learn More »
But just like the event itself, space in these workshops is extremely limited, and seats are selling faster than ever. Act before the end of the month to save £350 off your ticket price.
Marketers have started to realize that most web pages have a major fault: They’re not designed to win customers. Mostly, they’re distracting, they’re overwhelming, and they’re bad at guiding prospects through the marketing funnel. That’s why many marketers count on a relatively new tool (compared to billboards) to generate leads and make sales—the landing page.
Landing Page Technology: Top Marketers’ Favorite New Tool
According to a report from Aberdeen, the single most popular new technology among top marketers in 2016 was a landing page/conversion optimization software. The tool allows businesses to do two things:
- Create targeted landing pages aimed specifically at turning traffic into leads and customers.
- Improve the conversion rate of those pages with built-in testing capabilities.
And that’s not that surprising when you consider that marketers face the challenge of turning traffic into leads.And the solution to that problem was uncovered many years ago: more landing pages. Landing pages can act as the solution to that problem because they play a key part in generating traffic and converting it with search ads and they are the leading paid channel for businesses:
Industry leader, Google, highly prioritizes landing page experience, determining whether or not to show your AdWords ads based on the page visitors click through to:
Bing takes landing page experience into account too.
In 2017, to generate traffic through search engines, and to turn that traffic into leads and customers, you have no choice but to offer a high-quality landing page experience.
But, what exactly is a landing page? And how do you offer your prospects and leads a “good experience”?
What Is a Landing Page Really? (Hint: It’s Probably Not What You Think)
Punch this query into Google, and here’s what you’ll see:
But this definition falls short. A landing page isn’t just a “section of a website accessed by clicking a hyperlink on another web page,” and it’s most certainly not a home page.
A landing page is a standalone web page, disconnected from a website’s main navigation, created for the sole purpose of convincing a visitor to take action (to sign up, download, buy, etc.). Here’s an example from Percolate:
Typically, it’s true that many advertisers use their homepage as a landing page. But, not the high-performers.
If you type “marketing automation software” into Google, you’ll likely notice that the paid ads in the coveted first few results don’t direct you to a home page. We found that out of six paid placements on page one, only one sent us to a homepage.
Try it with the query of your choice, and you’ll probably find, as we did, that the majority of paid ads in highly clicked spots direct users to a targeted landing page. And there are two big reasons for that, which I’ll cover in just a minute.
The Difference between Landing Pages and Most Other Web Pages
An “about” page can educate, and a homepage can serve as a launchpad to more information, but that’s rarely enough for the modern consumer.
Now, busy buyers want answers to highly specific questions, and they want them served up on a platter —via their device of choice—immediately.
To grow, a business must be able to appease them. Ads have to entice prospects with solutions to their problems, and landing pages have to offer those solutions with a focused and personalized design.
“Focused and personalized” means:
1. Clear Message Match
Your prospects will have certain expectations after clicking through your ad. On your landing page, you need to meet those expectations; otherwise your visitors will leave in an instant. Let’s look at an example.
This paid ad appeared for the search query “motorcycle accident lawyer”:
Before we show you this ad’s landing page, ask yourself: “What are my expectations for it?”
You’ll probably expect to see content related to a motorcycle accident lawyer since it’s mentioned in the headline of the ad. Right?
Well, you’re directed to this page when you click through:
On it, you’ll see no mention of a motorcycle lawyer. To find out this particular law office represents victims of motorcycle accidents, you’ll have to hunt for the information by clicking the “areas of practice” link at the top of the page.
But today’s internet users won’t do that extra legwork. Instead, they’ll simply hit the back button and click PPC ads until they find something more relevant to their search, like the landing page below, which displays the keywords “motorcycle accident” prominently in the headline:
Here’s a great example from BI Intelligence. First, the ad:
Now, its corresponding landing page:
On it, the BI Intelligence logo is displayed at the top, the headline features the name of the resource, and an image matches the ad creative. This page offers its visitors exactly what they expect. It delivers their resource clearly, without making them hunt for it.
For clear message match, every landing page should:
- Reflect the branding of the advertisement. Your logo and brand colors should be displayed prominently.
- Feature the same images as your ad creative.
- Include the same language as its referrer.
2. A Conversion Ratio Not Exceeding 1:1
When you blog or build a website, internally linking your content is a good practice. It helps SEO, lowers bounce rate, and it improves ease of navigation for your visitors.
What it also does, though, is increase distractions. Every link in your navigation menu, copy, and footer presents visitors with an opportunity to abandon the current page.
Just ask JellyTelly, who boosted conversions by over 100% when they removed links in their navigation menu and footer:
Remember, your landing page has a singular goal: to convert. Distractions like these, or others like competing calls-to-action, offer visitors too many choices of places to click.
Psychological studies have shown that when humans are presented with an abundance of options, we experience a number of negative effects:
- We delay choosing even if doing so will ultimately harm us.
- We make worse choices.
- We achieve less satisfaction from our choice even if it helps us objectively.
Think of the implications as an advertiser. Offering your visitors more than one link to click on your landing page will make them wait to choose, make them choose poorly, and make them less satisfied with their final decision.
Consider the famous study in which researchers set up a display table of jam in a local grocery store. The first day, they offered 24 varieties to shoppers. On the second day, they offered only 6.
By the end of the experiment, the bigger display drew more attention, but it also resulted in 10x fewer sales.
When we apply research like that to our digital marketing, it makes sense that more links to click and more offers to claim can distract visitors to a page. That’s why the “conversion ratio” of your landing page—the ratio of links to conversion goals—should be 1:1.
Provide all the information your visitors need to evaluate your offer and remove distractions to keep them focused on converting.
The only ways off your landing page should be through the link in your CTA button or the “X” in the top corner of the browser window.
Traditional web pages, like the homepage or your pricing page, have their purpose. But, that purpose is broader than simply converting visitors.
By directing your prospects to a page full of navigation links and scattered content, you’re bleeding your budget dry. Without a focused landing page featuring message match, your paid campaigns don’t stand a chance at performing to their potential.
If you’re a Marketo user and interested in learning more about how to boost your campaign ROI across all channels, I’d invite you to check out our ebook: Stunning Landing Pages for Marketo in Minutes.
The post When and Why to Use Landing Pages appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.
At the beginning of the year, Google released a new feature called IF function ads. We wrote about this new feature in the post How To Use AdWords Ads IF Functionality. If you’re curious about how these customizable ads perform, here are some answers.
What Are IF Functions?
IF function ads allow you to set specific guidelines based on audience or device data. If the guidelines are met the ad will show uniquely tailored messaging. If the guidelines are not met the ads will show default messaging. For example, you can show a specific message to mobile users vs. a default message to desktop users.
Let’s Talk Numbers
I work on an account where a bulk of the traffic is mobile but performance often lags behind desktop. When the IF function ads rolled out and offered the ability to tailor ad copy to mobile users, I was eager to test the functionality.
To better speak to users shopping on mobile devices I tested IF function ads, serving shoppers on a mobile device with this message:
Any shopper not on a mobile device would see this message:
I tested the ad copy in one campaign with a good amount of traffic. Looking at the device breakdown of this campaign, mobile accounted for 74% of traffic, computers for 23%, and tablet for 3%. As mobile is the main driver of traffic, the challenge is bridging the gap from traffic to purchase.
This ecommerce account is in the automotive industry which lends itself to a higher price tag. It presents a challenge for mobile as people are less likely to complete a pricey transaction on their mobile device. So, did IF function ads targeted toward mobile users influence mobile shoppers?
Only looking at the overall device breakdown of the campaign where the IF functions ads were tested, mobile made up about 54% of the conversions at a slightly higher CPA. Computers made up about 43% of the conversions at a lower CPA. Mobile was pulling over half of the conversions. Did the IF function ads have an impact on performance?
I compared standard, expanded text ads to the dynamic IF function ads broken down by device to determine which type of ad was performing best on mobile. Isolating out computers, IF function ads perform slightly better than expanded text ads. The IF ads converted 27 times compared to the ETA’s 19 at a CPA of $37.04 compared to the ETA’s of $50.69. All signs point to a better performance of the dynamic IF function ads on desktop. What I did find interesting is that on computers the IF function ads have the same ad copy as the expanded text ads. Both show the same headline 2 of “Race Ready Components.”
Comparing the static expanded text ads to the IF functions ads tells a different story on mobile. IF ads had 8 fewer conversions at a CPA of $78.32 compared to ETA’s $70.74 CPA. The one metric that performed better on mobile was CTR. This is likely because of the messaging on mobile, “Shop On Your Phone” ensures shoppers that they can indeed shop these products on a mobile device. However, if I were only to look at conversions and CPA, I would assume that the IF function ads did not perform well on mobile.
There are a few things to take into account when looking at mobile performance. As I was running this ad test, mobile CPA continued to climb. In an effort to meet client goals I needed to pull back on mobile. Around the first week of this ad copy test I bid down on mobile, perhaps causing CPA to climb. So, the higher CPA may not solely be at the blame of IF function ads. I would recommend that when testing these ads ensure that you are well within your goals to help eliminate necessary but unexpected device bid changes.
The question of why desktop saw an increase in performance metrics is still a bit of a mystery. One potential answer is that Google favors the dynamic ads compared to the static nature of expanded text ads. Perhaps in a push to further automate the PPC landscape, the system is set up to favor dynamic ads? Only further testing would help answer this question.
IF Ads vs. Expanded Text Ads
This analysis led me to further investigate IF function ad performance in relation to expanded text ad performance. Were they truly performing better than the tried and true expanded text ad?
The IF function ads had an 11.11% difference in conversions and a 50.69% drop in CPA. CTR for the IF function ads saw a lift of 9.44%. Whether this data is a result of dynamic ads being favored or not, it does show that these ads are worth including in your testing cycle.
What Should You Do?
Regardless of which ad Google is playing favorites with or even if mobile performance saw a boost, ad testing is imperative. You could get your ad in front of the right audience 100% of the time but if you don’t know how to communicate with them, you’ll never get anywhere. This is why ad testing is so important. It’s also important to evolve your ad testing as new features become available. As the digital space becomes increasingly competitive it is necessary to learn how to communicate well with your audience.
One other note on IF function ads is that they don’t have to be mobile specific. Another functionality is the ability to target specific audiences. For example, you can target cart abandoners with copy such as, “Your Cart Is Ready.”
These IF function ads allow you to get granular and specific with your ad copy. They are definitely worth testing. So, what are you waiting for? Give those IF function ads a whirl.
If you create display ads for your job, you’re already well aware of how hard it is to get prospects to click.
Unlike search ads, display ads aren’t typically served up to an audience who is actively on the hunt for something specific, so there’s even more pressure to stand out.
Think about it: when was the last time you clicked on a display ad?
Turns out that many of them draw inspiration from the very ads that entice them to click.
Picasso originally said it best:
Good artists copy; great artists steal.
To help you get your creative juices flowing, we’ve gathered the most interesting takeaways from our interviews with the marketers and designers at these companies. This post will cover:
- “In the wild” examples of display ads that marketers and designers admire
- How real marketers and designers translate their inspiration into their own ads and landing pages for higher-converting campaigns
- Helpful resources that experienced designers use to create more clickable ads (that you can use too)
Ready to be inspired?
Indochino: K.I.S.S – Keep it simple, stupid
The fine folk at Indochino are masters of seamless design. Their handsomely designed ads and corresponding landing pages are as perfectly tailored as their custom made-to-measure suits. 😉
Michelle Wake, Art Director at Indochino, explained to me what she finds striking about these ads:
The biggest design takeaway here is simplicity. All three ads are clear and to the point. The designs are clean and bright with minimal text. Casper, Harry’s and Everlane feature their product in the ad, but in an understated way that does not overwhelm the space.
Or as Lisa Craveiro, Senior Acquisition Manager put it succinctly:
“When designing display ads, keep it simple. Less is more.” -@lisacrav @INDOCHINO
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How Indochino translates design inspiration into a real-life campaign
Indochino translates the same rule of simplicity from the Harry’s, Casper and Everlane ads into their own ad designs.
Take their “Tailored Advantage” display ad on the left for example.
Although the ad canvas is limited, the design elements are minimal which means that Indochino can feature the product in the design without over-crowding the space.
Also, notice that the white front contrasts well with the darker, solid background. Michelle explained that this is a conscious decision to make the ad pop:
Consider where the ad will be seen. If the image does not have a full bleed background, then we often place products on a colored background.
When visitors click Indochino’s “Tailored Advantage” ad, they’re taken to the following campaign landing page:
There are clear benefits to having a minimal, straightforward ad leading to a landing page with flawless design match: this page converts at 7.8%.
Not too shabby.
Wistia: Take design risks in your ads (And let landing pages do the heavy lifting)
Meet Wistia, “your friendly neighborhood video platform.”
Danielle Bushrow, Designer at Wistia explained to me what she liked about the ads:
I love MailChimp’s ads. Their work is consistently unique, delightfully surprising, and – even when it appears to diverge stylistically – is always on-brand through personality or mission. Challenging the preciousness of style guidelines allows them to take more creative risks, and it pays off.
“When designing display ads, take more creative risks – it pays off.” @daniellebushrow @Wistia
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In other words, these companies do a good job of staying on brand but they’re not afraid to take quirky design and copy risks.
For example, the MailChimp ads use a clever play on words by incorporating copy that sounds like MailChimp in order to grab prospects’ attention: MailShrimp, KaleLimp and JailBlimp.
As Danielle explained to me, if your ad does its job of standing out from the sea of other ads, you can then let your landing page do some of the heavy lifting:
One thing that stands out about these examples is that they commit to one direction, spark interest by connecting with a feeling, and let their linked landing page do the rest.
Display ads: spark interest by connecting with a feeling & let the landing page do the rest…
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How Wistia translates design inspiration into a real-life campaign
In April 2017, Wistia launched a series of ads for a campaign that was centered around the concept that “all businesses can communicate more creatively.”
By pulling upon creative inspiration from brands like Slack and MailChimp, Wistia created a set of ads with a strongly branded yet playful theme.
The ads sparked interest with unique design (motivating prospects to click):
And then they let their corresponding campaign landing page do the rest of the work by explaining the offer in great detail. It included a persuasive video, testimonials, strong copy and a break down of all the benefits:
It’s an approach that has worked well for them; this landing page currently converts at a healthy 13%.
Webistry: Appeal to your audience’s emotions
Stefano explained that the ads that really get his attention are those that tug on his heartstrings (or get him to laugh with a dash of humor).
he explained to me that when you play on your audience’s emotions, they feel more connected to your brand and product. The closer the connection, the more likely prospects are to click.
Make display ads stand out by infusing your ad copy + images with emotion @stefwebist @WebistryHQ
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Have a look at how the Airbnb ad paints a beautiful, sentimental picture of what it’d be like to book a space through them for your next vacation. (Tell us you don’t have travel #fomo after seeing these ads!)
How Webistry translates design inspiration into a real-life campaign
An image of a puppy can stir emotion in just about anyone.
So when Webistry set out to help their client Poop-N-Scoop run an advertising campaign, they knew that an emotional approach was the way to go.
(If this pup’s adorable face appeared on your screen, you’d be hard pressed not to click.)
But Stefano and his team took things a step further by creating animated banner ads, using a very simple HTML5 banner tool: Google Web Designer.
Stefano explained his reasoning behind creating more dynamic ads for his client:
Animated HTML5 display ads (when done correctly) should provide an additional layer of engagement from your viewers. Overly animated ads could actually hurt your CTR (click-through-rate) so, like everything, test!
The campaign ran as a seasonal promotion; the ads and landing page were active over the spring period (their peak season) when snow starts to melt.
The adorable ads pointed to an equally-adorable landing page:
So how’d the campaign fare?
For the 60 day period that this campaign was live, The Poop-N-Scoop ads had over 155,000 impressions with a click-through rate of 0.3% to the campaign’s landing page, which converted at 5.9%.
Unbounce: Have a clear and legible typographic hierarchy
Unbounce designer Ainara Sáinz explained to me that it’s the typography in these that ads really make ’em pop:
The most important thing to have is a clear and legible typographic hierarchy. It doesn’t matter if you have amazing visuals — if your audience can’t read or understand your message, they won’t click on your ad.
This means that key elements should appear prominently and be emphasized visually with bold copy. That’ll allow users to quickly scan the ad copy for key information.
Display ad space is limited — too much text is confusing. A bewildered prospect won’t click.
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How Unbounce translates design inspiration into a real-life campaign
In May 2017, we launched a set of display ads to encourage prospects to sign up for a ‘30 day trial’ with Unbounce:
Inspired by the companies listed above, we included an understated company logo. Instead of relying heavily on imagery, we emphasized the ad copy that spoke to the services we offer and the action we wanted prospects to take (try a 30 day trial).
This is the campaign landing page users land on after the click:
The purpose of the landing page is to get prospects to check out more features or go to the pricing page to sign up. Since launching the campaign a little over two months ago, we continue to see conversions increase significantly over time. The ads have a click-through rate of about 0.3% while the click-through rate of the landing page is currently sitting at 22%.
Turn ad design inspiration into action
Now that you’ve learned how brands like Indochino, Wistia, Webistry and Unbounce have mastered the art of ad design, we hope that we’ve equipped you with the creative inspiration you need to take your display ads to the next level.
But before we send you on your merry way, we thought we’d share some resources for sourcing (stealing) design ideas for future PPC campaigns. We asked the designers in this article where they grab inspiration — here were their top picks:
- Panda extension for Chrome: An extensive catalog of design resources for pretty much anyone
- Envato Elements: A platform for top quality curated resources, not just for designers but for anyone with design needs. It will save you time when picking elements for creative projects
- Bannersnack: A tool that helps you quickly and easily create static and animated ads
- Google Web Designer: A tool that helps you create or HTML5 banners (free but for advanced users)
- Moat.com: A free service that allows you to search for real-life examples of ads from basically any brand you can think of
- Dribbble and Behance: Online community of designers sharing samples of their work, process and projects
- Awwwards: A website competition that developers/designers can submit to. It recognizes and promotes the best of innovative web design and is the perfect place to steal design ideas
- Picmonkey: An online photo editing, collage creation and graphic design tool and an excellent source of design inspiration
- Pinterest: This is a great place to find design ideas. Follow other design boards or create your own
And finally, one last thing.
In exchange for our advice on how to steal display ad ideas, we only ask one thing of you.
When looking to other brands for inspiration, make sure that the concepts you “steal” are translated into your ad designs in a way that speaks to the true uniqueness of your brand.
As the Senior Art Director at Unbounce, Cesar Martinez, put it:
Be true to your brand. Learn the difference between what it is to Steal, Copy & Imitate — and stand out authentically without trying too hard.