4 reasons your display campaigns aren't converting

… and how to fix them fast!

If you’ve dabbled in digital marketing, chances are you understood John Wanamaker’s frustration when he said, “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” In a fast-moving industry such as digital marketing, keeping abreast of industry specifics, trends, and best practices is crucial to maximize marketing dollars. Our team recently watched a teaser webinar by the Digital Summit (will we see you there?!) and gathered some great insights from Jeremy Hudgens, CRO at Genius Monkey, that we wanted to share with you!

Here are 4 weaknesses your display advertising campaigns might have and how you can put the fires out fast:

1. Are you not hitting the reach or frequency you hoped for? Segment your audience further.

Successful campaigns require consistent exposure to your audience. When your campaign is not achieving enough reach or frequency, it’s a clue your campaign is spread too thin. Concentrate on just a segment of your audience so you have the budget to keep that constant exposure. Improving your targeting is one of the best ways to optimize your marketing dollars. For example, if you are remarketing to website visitors with ads about attending your event, then you would probably want to suppress anyone who had visited your event’s “Interested in Exhibiting?” page, as well as anyone who has already registered to attend.

Chart about display campaigns and traffic flow.

2. Did your conversions suddenly flatline? Make sure you’re staying in front of your audience the entire time.

The great benefit of using programmatic, display, and video advertising is the ability to catch the customer early in the process to drive more of those conversions through the funnel. Stay in front of your audience from the moment they start showing engaging behavior to the point of actual conversion. Your customers will engage on their terms, not yours! Be there for them when they are ready.

3. Did your campaign never take off? Check that your campaign type is reaching your prospects at the right time.

If you’ve waited long enough and conversions just aren’t happening, your campaign type might be to blame. For example, a study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that 45% of attendees attend only one trade show per year. If the cost to register for your event is high, then a geofencing campaign focused on competitor events will get your message to the prospect too late. Preemptive behavioral targeting — like targeting audiences visiting your competitors’ websites — will be much more successful.

4. Is your ad creative behind low conversions? Test and find out why.

Your creative should be consistent and fresh. Keep your creative consistent by using core branding across all your marketing channels. Keep your creative fresh by bringing in variations of different ads and testing those against each other. Testing doesn’t require several suites of web banners; often, a few simple changes — such as changing the color, photo, or font choice — will work. What might be considered “best practice” by the industry might not necessarily be what’s best for you.

For example, there are marketers out there who swear traditional, hard buttons in banner ads perform best. We put that belief to the test with a client’s recent remarketing campaign. We developed three versions of the same early bird ad: no button (so the call to action looked like regular text), a ghost button, and a hard button.

Example of a CSG display campaign.

Turns out, the ghost and hard button yielded the same 0.42% clickthrough rate (and both did 0.04% better than no button at all).

When you get right down to it, goal-busting campaigns are the work of curious minds. The success or failure of your display advertising campaigns depends on a vigilant eye looking to maximize return on marketing efforts, ramping up what’s working, and taking note of what isn’t. Once you start looking not a day will go by where you’re not finding new ways to improve your digital marketing.

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