Ad impressions. Up till now they’ve been measured by clicks and likes. You may remember my post “Engagement Matters Most“. Adding to that fact, the next logical step is to determine what kind of engagement matters most and how brands should be engaging customers in ways that build and retain their loyalty. To do that, we have to look at what works and what doesn’t work.
What Doesn’t Work:
1) Click-Through Rates: A recent study from ComScore and Pretarget looked at 260 million ad impressions across campaigns from 18 advertisers, and found the link between clicks and conversions to be the weakest http://bit.ly/JoGqCG. Even when a user clicks on an ad, the link between that click and a conversion is virtually nonexistent. One of the original forms of online advertising, click-through rates may have been around forever but this study clearly shows it’s time for a change. The strongest link in the study was actually ad hover/interaction, when a user hovers over an ad with their cursor and engages with it that way. Brands need to be focusing more on still frame ads that attract customers or ads that activate when a cursor hovers over it for 3 seconds.
2) Facebook Likes: Studies published by Dr. Tina McCorkindale found that 75% of millenials ”liked” a profit or non-profit organization on Facebook, and 69% said once they “liked” the organization they rarely or never returned to its fan page http://bit.ly/JoGthU. McCorkindale is quoted as saying that “It’s not about the number of people that like your page, because they may not be the right people, and they may not really like you, they may just do it because of pressure from friends”. She found that millenials learn of organization fan pages through friends or stumbling upon them. The study also shows that it’s the perks, not the likes, that keep them coming back. Discounts, coupons, sample products and new information are what entice return visits. Too many emails or updates were the reason 42% of millenials said they had disconnected from an organization. Based on this, discounts, coupons, sample products and new information are the best tools to keep the lines of communication, and engagement, open.
1) Opt-In Email Offers: A survey by Adpropo found that U.S. Internet users had the most positive attitude towards email ads http://bit.ly/KVtI06. Although it may be an older form of marketing, opt-in email still gets results. Customers look more favorably upon it because marketers contact only those who’ve given permission and the messages are more customized and personalized. It’s a model for all digital modes of communication with customers, because this format puts customers in control and gives them value in return.
2) Spotify Website Design: Spotify is known for its Facebook connection, granting users access to music and showing them what their friends are listening to while letting them share what they are listening to also. Spotify no longer relies on Facebook, they’ve shrunk its controls to a little-trafficked corner of the screen http://bit.ly/KICW1g. The first thing their users see is a large ad in its center-top position. 100% of participants in EyeTrackShop’s February 2012 study saw the ad, with only 0.4 seconds going by before they noticed it and then it grabbed their attention for 4 seconds. What’s even more impressive is that this didn’t wreck customer enjoyment. 76% said Spotify had “good” or “excellent” web page design, 81% reported a favorable overall impression of the site and three quarters agreed navigation was good. Proof that online ads can be effective and accepted if presented in the right format.
Perhaps the biggest take-aways from this are that brands need to make customers feel like they are in control and are receiving value from their engagement. Click-through rates and likes don’t predict long-term engagement, ad/hover interaction is the best indicator of engagement and opt-in email and effective website design with ads make marketing more acceptable. These findings are what sells in the world of ad formats, impressions and engagement. Customers are always looking for what makes someone or something a better deal or value than someone or something else. Making these tactics work for you can give you the edge, and that may be all it takes for you to see more customers connecting and identifying with your brand. We are approaching a new frontier in ad impressions, customer engagement and retention. It’s there for the taking, as long as you’re fishing with the right bait.