Why Paid Ads Fail

Recently, Rand Fishkin posted on Moz “The #1 Reason Paid Ads (On Search, Social, and Display) Fail” – Whiteboard Friday. He suggested some solutions to this dilemma, specifically to get to know your audience.

We wanted to expand on this idea a bit. Here is our response below:

Thank you, Rand, for an insightful article. It’s true, no longer can you just place ads, describe what the product or service does, and expect a good return on investment.

As you stated in the article, a major failure with paid advertising for new brands with no loyalty, following or brand recognition is to understand the target market. Typically, failed campaigns will either have limited initial research or none at all. It is detrimental to understand your audience and competition completely before you write your first ad.

Research proves most purchases are based on subconscious emotion and are justified by logic. Understand a customer’s hot buttons, cognitive bias, pain points or things they love about a similar product.

So how do you develop a marketing strategy?

Research Your Audience. Research Your Competitors

We can dedicate short novel to competitor research and how it relates to neuromarketing and emotional spending decisions. Instead, I will just summarize some of our findings.

The great news about this step is it is used as the first step in any marketing campaign. Research provides great insight such as:

  1. Inspire different ways to position your brand
  2. Understand competitive price strategy
  3. Produce insights into your potential demographic
  4. Discover how to integrate their process into your strategy
  5. Develop a value strategy that is greater than your competition

Make a list of a few of the top competitors and a few of the mid-level companies. Find out where they are in relation to the strategies below. Take notes on how well they do things, make a note of some things they do poorly.

Next find all the reviews you can about the products, services, and company. Take note of the good and bad reviews. Both provide insight into just what exactly your customer base is looking for.

One quick example, if you find a lot of negative reviews about shipping costs, you might want to have an ad that offers free shipping. You can just add the cost of the product or offer free shipping over a certain purchase amount. We had major success with several clients using this strategy by including this value in the ad and supporting it on the landing page.

The Customer Journey

Develop a visual sales funnel and go over each step of the funnel from ad to advocate. The focus of this exercise is to understand what questions the end user may be asking themselves and answer the question along the way. A customer already has an idea in their head how the sales process should work.

The ads, keywords (if applicable), landing pages, follow up emails, purchase process, and customer service experience etc. should tell the same story. Each step should support the previous one and motivate the next step. If you are boasting “greatest product since sliced bread” you should have definitive supporting evidence of that in the next step. Social proof helps, guarantees, reviews, and any supporting evidence of your claims will increase conversion.

Offer Multiple Contact Methods

Some people purchase immediately because they already made a decision to buy when they saw your ad you were able to hit all their hot buttons. Some people are still doing research while others will never purchase at all.

By adding multiple, easy to find ways to contact you (Chat, Form, Phone, Text) you allow the customer to communicate with you in a way they are comfortable. Try not to require a lot of personal information, just to ask you a question. During this ‘courting’ stage it’s important that you put our customer first in your approach.

Set Up Conversion Tracking

As stated above, customer like to communicate/purchase in different ways. It is important that you set up conversion tracking for all ways a customer can communicate with you. One way to track calls from different advertising mediums is to use different call tracking number for each. You will also want to tie it all together in a dashboard. We use Google Analytics, however, there are others. You will also need to figure out a value to assign each conversion.

Understand Current Customer Journeys

Often people will research on a phone and purchase either on a PC or through a phone call. To track the conversion paths. In Google Analytics You can see ‘Top Conversion Paths’ by going to Conversions> Multi-Channel Funnels>Top Conversion Paths. This provides more information about the customer journey. One journey from a client today looked like this:

Paid Search>Organic Search>Paid Search>Direct (5)>Organic Search>Paid Search>Direct>Purchase $247.59

You can find the original article here

Jason George
Jason George
Jason George is an athlete, outdoorsman & marketing expert. He is the CMO at Sunbay Marketing with 19+ years of marketing experience. Additionally, he has a black belt in brazilian jiu-jitsu and teaches MMA in his spare time.

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