I recently read an article in ‘Marketing Week’ written by Spyro Korsanos, CEO of Mediasyndicator that suggested the human touch is still required if web ads are to have the right impact. Korsanos basically explained how our digital generation have come to rely on automated technology and cleverly calculated algorithms to bring our ‘Display Ad’ marketing campaigns success.

I’m sure the reasons as to why business owners rely so heavily upon automated technology are that it is deemed the cheaper method when you consider the cost it would involve for a physical member of staff to generate and distribute a Display Ad to hundreds of sites at various times of day, as well as actually having a physical member of staff available to donate such a vast amount of time to manage a display advertising campaign.

It’s more cost effective to automate it all; right?

But let’s think logically for a second; an algorithm is merely a formula which is man-made. There is only so much data you can pull into any one formula, no matter how advanced you are at developing these there will be restrictions which limit the data you can retrieve and ultimately determining the correct audiences to display your advertisement to. It’s like building an excel file, I’m sure there are many of you that share the frustrations of having to add that extra column and extra formula to calculate the results you need because it can’t all be done with one formula.

Look website screen grab

Personally I think Display Advertising is great for the right markets, especially if you are a fashion e-commerce site because the visual awareness of the products you have to offer is what is going to push a sale. Shopaholics like myself will try and be good when we need to be saving some pennies and so we’ll turn our heads when walking past our favourite shops or deliberately avoid visiting their websites and social network sites to limit the temptation to spend. But if those brands attractive Display Ads are following us online, tracking where else we visit online (knowing that we already spend with them) it can be hard to avoid the teasing new trend that’s taunting us on our screen willing you to click through and make a purchase. You’ll have all noticed these Ads following you round online, they are the reason as to why you now see ‘Cookies’ notifications or pop ups on every site you visit due to the new law that was introduced in May 2012. Cookies are one of the methods companies and brands use to track your activity online so that your data can be sold and used for a smarter marketing strategy.

So How Do You Humanise A Web Ad?

If you want to humanise your Display Ad campaign then you could hire a good Ad Network Agency that have access to practically all online data and can therefore, profile from this all of your target audiences and sites to market. Ad Network Agencies basically buy consumers data which they use to advertise to individual profiles and online activity, marketing to consumers interests and shopping/browsing habits as opposed to advertising your site to just anyone, which is what will in turn market your website and to the correct audience.

Not everyone can afford an external agency though as they tend to charge by CPA (cost per action), CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions). This is why automated solutions become very attractive and although they tend to also charge by the same methods, the rates tend to be a lot cheaper so for many companies, they then turn to platforms such as Bing AdCenter and Google AdWords.

Handbag website screen grab

Don’t lose heart in display advertising now, there are tactics that you can still use to humanise your Display Ad campaign but you do have to take the time to manage your campaign. Automation and algorithms are wonderful things for saving time but there is only so much a formula can take responsibility for; all marketing campaigns require human campaign management.

In Google AdWords you can view the URL’s of where your automated Display Ad’s have been placed so you can review the performance of each placement eg: Number of impressions, CTR (click through rate), CPA (cost per action/conversion) and number of conversions achieved.

Managing the placements of your Display campaign is what will make your campaign more successful and cost effective.

To do this simply login to your AdWords account and click on your Automated Display Campaign:

  • The page will default to the Ad Groups section of your campaign. Click on the ‘Display Network’ tab
  • Click on the ‘Placements’ tab
  • From here you can then tick on the placement URL’s that are not performing well and click on ‘Exclude Placements’ to remove them from your campaign so you are no longer wasting money displaying your advertisement on sites that aren’t converting or getting any clicks.

A table of results

You can apply this strategy whether you have Text Ads or Image Ads as the same rules apply. Don’t waste time and money advertising your site to the wrong audiences. Don’t be too harsh though when excluding URL’s as the average CTR expected from a display campaign is 0.05%.

Display Advertising is a tough world to crack and it can take time and practise to determine what works best for your site. However, don’t forget it’s not all about driving new traffic to your site; it is very much about maximising your brand awareness online. 1 user may see your Ad 3 or 4 times before they decide to visit your site and even then they may not choose to click through an Ad, but they will start to recognise your brand in search results.

Brand awareness is all about building recognition and the more you are seen, the more reputable you appear to be.

To learn more about marketing methods and strategies that help to improve your fashion e-commerce, follow my blog.

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