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So, you’re having a hard time figuring out why your digital ads aren’t performing as you expect them to. Despite all the time and effort you’ve put into them, nothing seems to be going in the right direction.
Why is that?
Our best guess is you’re probably doing something wrong. There’s no need to worry, though, as it’s not just you who’s struggling to pinpoint the causes behind your failing online campaigns. Almost all digital marketers have had the same issue at some point.
Fortunately for you, this post will reveal the five most common reasons why digital ads don’t convert as they’re supposed to. Along with each problem, we’ll provide a solution.
Before we get into them, however, let’s tackle the different benefits of digital ads (although you might already be familiar with them), as well as the six types of digital ads in case you’re open to the idea of incorporating them into your marketing efforts.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
Why do digital ads matter?
According to Strategy Analytics, digital advertising is now the new norm. It’s the fastest-growing marketing channel with no signs of slowing down. With hundreds of thousands of businesses of all sizes and industries across the world investing in digital advertising to market their brands, it’s here to stay.
But, how exactly is it helping these companies? How will you benefit from it once your ads are effective? Here’s how:
- You can target ideal customers.
- You can reach people at the start of the buying journey.
- You can make changes as you go.
- You can accurately track the results of your campaign.
- You can save a lot of money.
- You can increase your conversion rate.
Types of digital ads
There are six main types of digital ads. Many of them overlap in their characteristics or can even be used as complementary tools.
A good example is the use of social, native and display ads on a Facebook newsfeed. While they may go hand in hand, each is seen differently by the user. How these ads work together can seem a bit confusing, but everything will fall into place after we explore them.
- Display advertising
The most basic form of digital ads, display advertising is primarily comprised of text and images. These ads usually show up as landing pages, popups, flash ads, or banners on websites and blogs.
- Native advertising
Native advertising is pretty much like display ads. The main difference is, it’s more strategic and intentional in terms of placement and audience targeting. It is based on audience online habits and history, and will only show ads that may be relevant to them.
- Social media
Billions of people are spending most of their time on social media every day, which is why social media has become the biggest hub for digital advertising. While it’s common to see display, native or video ads on the platform, there are two subtypes specific to social media: Paid social media ads and organic social media ads.
- Video ads
Video advertising is the easiest type of digital advertising since it’s precisely what it sounds like – a video promoting a business, product or service. Despite being the most time-consuming type, it is proven to be effective. Viewers can absorb the content and learn more about the brand without a lot of effort, it makes it more convenient for advertisers to catch their audience’s attention.
- Email marketing
Email marketing has been around since who-knows-when, and it’s going to stick around until who-knows-when. Let’s face it, it’s the most direct and effective way of connecting with your leads, nurturing them and converting them into customers. It’s also proven to bring back old customers!
- Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is perhaps the most dependable type of digital advertising because it’s based on keywords that users are already looking for. Its purpose is to improve the visibility of a website by ranking it high in search engine results pages. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click ads (PPC) are the two subtypes of SEM.
So why aren’t your ads succeeding?
Now, for the part you’ve been waiting for: Why might your digital ads be underperforming? Here are five reasons:
- You’re running ads on the wrong channel.
If you’re seeing poor conversion rates despite having outstanding numbers of clicks, you might be using the wrong platform to advertise your business. You might be running your ads in poorly performing channels targeting the wrong audience.
For instance, if your audience is mostly stay-at-home moms and LinkedIn is your primary channel for advertising, odds are you won’t be converting them, let alone drive traffic to your website.
Solution: To solve this, you have to conduct in-depth research on your target audience. Find out who they are, where they usually hang out online and if they respond to ads.
- You have a poorly designed post-click landing page.
Did you know that your post-click landing page design plays a major role in conversion? Even the most enticing offer won’t be able to overcome a landing page that provides a poor user experience.
Slow load times, lack of calls to action (CTAs) and an visually unappealing design can drive visitors away. A site that’s not optimized for mobile is another factor.
Solution: Reduce loading times by compressing your images and minimizing the use of plugins. Place your CTA forms above the fold, and make sure you’re using high-contrast button colors to encourage more clicks. For your design, include a healthy balance of text, imagery and white space. Avoid paragraphs of more than three sentences.
- Your post-click landing pages and pre-click ads don’t align with each other.
Your ad creates expectations. A post-click landing page that doesn’t align with the pre-click ad will only lead to few to no conversions.
The messaging in your ads should be identical to the messaging on your landing page. This is known as message match. For example, if your ad promises “20% off merch shirts,” but you send your visitors to a webpage that says “Browse all shirts” without any single mention of the sale, you’ve just made a misalignment.
Solution: The best way to fix ad misalignment is by employing a 1:1 ad-to-page ratio. Each of your ads should send visitors to a landing page that reflects the same messaging in the ad. With this strategy, you’re giving your audience the guarantee that you have the specific solution they expected when they clicked on your ad.
- Your ads look spammy.
Nobody likes an advertisement that appears fake and suspicious. Especially on social media where ads are almost everywhere, it’s difficult to tell a credible ad from a shady one.
Solution: Keep your ads looking compelling and legitimate in the best way you can. Always include a powerful CTA, urgency and strong language to engage your audience. Don’t forget to maintain your brand’s reputation, standards and credibility.
- You’re not A/B testing.
Successful digital advertisers know that A/B testing should always be a part of any advertising strategy. An A/B test may reveal that blue buttons convert better for one group, but another group of audience responds better to red buttons.
Solution: Use a post-click automation (PCA) platform to get the job done. It can automate the experimentation and testing process through optimization and artificial intelligence. Tools like built-in experimentation, traffic allocation, page editing and duplication, heat maps and an analytics dashboard will allow you to optimize your ads in ways you never thought were possible.
We gotta admit, digital ads can be really tricky. However, it doesn’t have to be that way forever. Once you know the do’s and don’ts, apply the right tricks and correct any mistakes you’re making today, you’ll end up getting the results you’re expecting from your digital ads in no time.
Originally published Nov. 10, 2021.