tHOUGHTS ON LOCAL DIGITAL
I created my first “banner ad” around 1998. I was working at a TV station in Providence, RI. We had recently launched a website for the station, and I had one ad space available on every page.
So I fired up PowerPoint and created a two-color rectangle to fit that space and promote our newscast live stream (that is a story for another time – remember this was 1998 and Broadcast.com was powering our stream, before Mark Cuban sold it to Yahoo, and in the time of 300 baud modems). I don’t even think the ad linked anywhere… there was very few places to go back then. We certainly didn’t sell it to local clients.
Now it’s 2015, and I’m consulting with a digital ad company working with local publishers – print, TV, and radio. My role is training local account executives how to put together effective local digital campaigns. I review their digital orders coming in, and then a few weeks later see the cancellations because “It didn’t work.” Hence this very basic primer on techniques for successful banner ad campaigns. It might not even be 101 level, but I’m sensing a need out there.
1) Have a clear, concise call to action. If your client is going to judge you on click through rate (CTR), try to make it idiot proof. It can be a bit more sophisticated than “Click Here!” but sometimes it doesn’t have to be. State a benefit: “Get today’s rates”, or “10% off coupon here”, or the ever popular “Get More Details”. Ask a question that people want answered; “What do the colors of roses mean?” CTR is not supposed to be the goal of a marketing campaign, but sometimes it is.
2) Basic design of the ad matters. Quite a few ads I see look like re-purposed print ads. Space is at a premium. (especially with mobile ads) Does the client’s brick and mortar address need to be in the ad, or could it be on the landing page? Does the phone number need to be in the ad itself, or could it be morphed into a click-to-call ad? How many words of text are needed to create the desired action? You get the idea. I like this blog post from a design firm with more specific ideas.
3) Pay attention to the target URL, and why it’s the target. A great percentage of the ad insertion orders I see have the destination of the banner ad simply being the client’s home page. That is lazy. Think it through – what is the expectation based on the ad creative? If the ad copy is “Click Here to Book an appointment”, then make sure the destination URL is leading to the client’s appointment page. If it is a furniture store ad promoting Sealy co-op, then have the ad click through to the furniture store’s Sealy product page. A minute of “click through role playing” will lead to increased sales results. The majority of local client’s home pages are confusing messes. Help the effectiveness of the campaign by making sure a potential customer lands on the right page easily.
4) Think about a landing page. Related to the previous point, a simple one page website that is solely the destination for the banner ad. It could contain a printable coupon. It could simply be a map with directions to the client’s location and phone number (similar to a traditional Yellow Page Ad back in the day.) It might expand in detail the offer that was hinted at in the banner ad. (Terms and conditions, sale prices, promotions, etc.) It is a very easy process in most CMS’ to build out a single page unrelated to the main site’s content. By offering to build one for your client, you will stand out as a great rep who cares about their campaign’s success to the level of creating a small site just for them. If your station or paper can’t do it, sign up for a free web design company like Wix or Weebly and do it yourself. Your client will appreciate the effort, and you will get the renewal.
5) Mobile optimized is everything. If the campaign had mobile banner ad sizes – make sure the client’s webpage is mobile-optimized. It’s easy to check here. Or do it old-school and try the client’s site from your own phone. If it looks awful on your phone, or the navigation doesn’t work properly – don’t run mobile ads! Suggest to the client that they talk to their web design firm about upgrading their site. They probably already know if it’s not mobile-friendly, so this will give them one more reason to make things right. Mobile is beyond the fad phase now.
6) Lastly, measure the right things. Agree with your client on how to measure the results of a successful campaign. Be conservative, and work out the ROI, if applicable to the campaign. Some clients have unrealistic expectations about digital ad campaigns. The secret to renewals in digital is having the client believe that it worked and it was a good investment over other types of media. It might be a CTR of .08%, 50 new sign-ups for their e-mail newsletter, 75 new likes on Facebook, a 15 percent increase in website traffic, or 100 entries to win the vacation. There are many ways to measure success – pick one or two and be judged on that.
Please comment with suggestions — this was not meant to be an all-inclusive list, but a simple starting point.
This post first appeared here: http://blog.biakelsey.com/index.php/2015/11/17/vantage-points-six-tips-for-local-display-ads/
To expedite getting my site launched - I am going to take a shortcut and repost a recent entry I wrote for the BIA/Kelsey Blog, Vantage Points. It can be found here: _
Ten Tips for Broadcasters Selling Digital Advertising
A recent article in TV NewsCheck explored the changes in local TV sales departments due to ad dollars shifting to digital media. Stations are launching digital ad agencies, increasing training in digital products, using CRM to track clients, and generally undergoing massive changes to pursue local ad dollars.
For the past 60+ years, local TV stations entertained and informed communities, with whom they also connected advertisers. As digital media emerged in the late 90’s, TV stations adapted by adding web sites, e-mail blasts, and later, mobile apps. More recently, stations expanded into ad products fully departed from television, with the exception the same account execs selling them.
Becoming IAB Certified to sell digital ads is good for such account execs, but it can also exceed their financial and bandwidth realities. Speaking from ten years experience training broadcast account execs to sell local digital ads, here are 10 tips.
1. Audit the client’s digital presence. I once heard a Google employee say that if a business doesn’t have a mobile optimized web site, advertising was like flushing money down the toilet. Check to make sure a given advertiser has a web site, or a Facebook page, or a destination to send traffic. Maybe you can create a landing page for them using your station’s CMS. Maybe they can create a simple business page using Wix, or Squarespace. It is a huge hurdle to get businesses buy digital advertising if they don’t believe in it enough to invest in a digital presence. Google “Teach a Pig to Sing.”
2. Don’t forget, it’s all about results. Just like a rating point has never purchased a car, neither has an impression. Ratings, page-views, and impressions are measurements for media companies. But sales are measurement terms local advertisers understand. Make sure you know what their expectations are, and why they are considering advertising. A needs analysis goes a long way.
3. Choose the right KPIs. Building from the previous tip, how is the advertiser measuring campaign results? The digital jargon for that is “conversion.” But make sure you’re speaking their language. It might be a ten percent sales increase, or newsletter signups, or Facebook likes, or website appointments. The best way to reach their goals is to make sure you’re measuring the right things.
4. Choose the right targeting scope. There are many ways to target local consumers. Think through how much targeting is necessary. Geotargeting can be more precise, but can also narrow the target area too much. One tactic is to geotarget the same area with the same message using both digital and traditional media (a.k.a multi-platform). That way a broader base of consumer media habits is reached.
5. Behavioral targeting has its limits. Ever since Edward Snowden became a household name, consumers have become more aware of privacy issues. There is a middle ground between basic demographic targeting and the level of targeting that creeps consumers out. Target just enough to reach your audience.
6. Over-explain and constantly reinforce. It took decades for most advertisers to understand reach and frequency. Explain how a banner ad is similar to a terrestrial billboard or a print ad… and the copy should be just as concise. Explain how e-mail marketing is like direct mail, but it gets opened more. Admit that pre-rolls are potentially annoying but effective, and that’s why they need a custom 10 or 15-second spot, rather than recycle a 30-second TV spot.
7. Consider your role as educator, not sales. One of my favorite books is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Its major principle was to think of things from the other person’s perspective. Explain digital products to advertisers in the context of how it will benefit them. And explain it in ways they’ll understand, such as traditional media terms they know. Eyeballs are still eyeballs… they are just looking at more and different things.
8. It’s all in the reporting. There is benefit to providing digital reports, but it also requires more in-person explaining. That can provide a great excuse to get in front of advertising clients, which is still important in this texting, Snap-chatting, Facebooking age. If they understand the reports you provide and it correlates with the sales results they’re separately measuring, they’ll renew.
9. K.I.S.S.. Digital marketing is overwhelming to most SMBs. Start simple with one new product, ideally added to a traditional spot schedule. Then add different products as success dictates. Don’t try to boil the ocean.
10. Allow extra time. Display ads take longer to create and approve than a TV spot. Don’t rush advertisers, because they’re in uncharted waters. Allow time for the ad to rest, or for them to show it to front-line employees for discussion. Buy-in for the creative is essential.
Despite lots of differing opinion, local digital advertising can be sold successfully by traditional television account executives. But it takes some work and common sense. The key: be seen as a marketing consultant, not just another peddler.