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Want Better Ads? Make Them Useful.

Despi Ross September 19, 2017

by Despi Ross

Relevance has reigned for a long while in the digital marketing space. You can find a million blog posts about it (Actually 2.9 million as of this writing). But digital content has grown to the point where relevance is merely table stakes. The next hurdle for marketers is usefulness

I was recently shopping for a pair of shoes. Not just any shoes: I wanted handmade, real leather, made-to-last shoes. My search brought me to Frye, the boot company. I already own one pair of Frye boots, but I was looking for oxfords. I browsed their site and moved on since I couldn’t find the right style in the right size.

But a few days later, I found a Frye email in my inbox. Eight more followed over the next five days. I was frustrated because I had opted out of emails in the past; but somehow, my website visit seemed to give Frye the impression that I would be interested in more email. Lots of it.

This is a classic example of relevance: I’m an existing customer, visited their site and my browsing history would confirm I’m in the market. But it’s not enough to send me nine emails because I’m shopping for shoes. The content has to matter — it has to be useful.

Sometimes, there is a temptation with digital marketing — whether it be email, display ads, social content — to broadcast our key messages, match ads with audiences and repeat. But somewhere in there we lose our connection to potential customers because we make the mistake of assuming that relevance is a substitute for usefulness.

If Frye had noticed that I filtered by my size and then bailed from their site, they could have sent me an email or targeted me with an Instagram ad that said “Couldn’t find your size? Tell us what you’re looking for.” That would have been supremely useful for me — and them. Because I might have signed up for email notifications when the item I wanted was available. Or I might have bought something else on a high from all those warm and fuzzies. But as it stands, I’m a lost purchase in the sea of competition.

Ecommerce retail is an increasingly competitive space and your marketing has to be more targeted and more useful to your customers in order to command attention. According to Harvard Business Review, Amazon owns 26% of all online ecommerce retail sales. And it’s because they are, above all else, useful. Amazon has figured out how to make shopping easier, faster and cheaper.

The only way to compete with Amazon is to build stronger brand affinity with customers. Sending nine emails in five days won’t accomplish that–not unless every one of those emails is precisely targeted. And for most brands, automated customer journey email campaigns are still a dozen data projects away from being possible.

Social ads provide a better platform for targeted marketing because the data you have is often so much richer — especially if you use Quantifi. Our platform pulls data out of the walled garden and puts it into your hands to create better marketing strategies. But, even without Quantifi, social allows you to run faster, smaller and cheaper experiments to get quick results and iterate your digital marketing campaigns to find the best results. This process will help you find more specific triggers and interests to guide your ads — so the customer sees them and says — “Oh, I need that,” instead of simply double-tapping or worse, scrolling right by.

You already have so many tools at your disposal to start this kind of targeting: Facebook insights, Google Analytics, customer purchase lists, etc. The real question is: What questions are your customers asking? If you use your ads to answer their real questions, you’re going to knock the socks off your competition. Or, the boots, in my case.

How will you stand out in your competitive set? If your answer is, “I’m not really sure,” then you need a gameplan. Quantifi can help.

At Quantifi, our CX team is working with brands to find ways to be relevant AND useful. We explore how data can inform the right match of audiences, channel and creative to put social ads in the right place, at the right time and connect with customers in authentic ways. It’s a not an easy feat –and it definitely requires experimentation to get it right. By digging into the data behind the ads, we can better understand audience motivators, triggers, and preferences that can result in more effective ads.

Wish you had our team on your bench? You can! Request a demo or email us to learn more.

Featured image: Pixabay