Something I never really considered before entering this industry was the tools that served ads.
Ads are nebulas at this point. They are everywhere and, in a way, create the fabric underneath media. Through the years at MJ we have always worked at the forefront of new communication channels for our clients, and that means changing our approach to ads as the platforms change.
This typically led to social media, which promised terrific results for the platforms that had “Become the internet”. Great right? A sure-fire way to show your business to every human on the planet? Sign me up! Yes, this was an excellent time for Social Media ads where most of our focus lived, and it was going from hit to hit. Easy high-quality creative implementation? Done. Ability to easily track ad interactions and build from that data? Check & check. Thanks, dad; who needs Christmas?!
What happened here?
But time continued to roll on as it tends to do. Competitors arrived, and the active users on social media platforms became jaded and dispersed amongst all the platforms competing for those tasty scroll miles. Population density for an advertisement is a huge factor. If you are only expecting to send 1-6% of people to the attached site and only convert another percentage of those people, can we afford to be entering a bad bargain with the audience? No one wants their 3-hour binge of home cooking tips and parkour fails messed up with a brand they haven’t heard from, do they? I am guilty of this myself, and if anyone should be giving these ads a fair go, it’s me… But in a market flooded with random phone games and scams about making a million a month from home, can you blame us?
So customer qualification became part of our day to day conversations. Is this click qualified for our product or service? Is it just a crapshoot from the social media gods throwing us a bone between Coke and KFC? Why did we even come across this person’s feed?
Around the same time, we started to see some campaigns migrating into google ads as a test for search terms with some clients that had also been feeling the dip on social channels. The golden years were over. Enter my new best friend Google Ads. We fairly quickly started to see a shift in the way our ads behaved and integrated with our campaigns.
At the start, it was only a couple of search ads here and there but the numbers didn’t lie, this was interesting & honestly from my perspective a breath of fresh air to use a shiny new tool. Qualification became the key principle in all our movement in the early days. What are people searching for to see us? And how does that reflect on our brand? The difference between attempting to stop someone’s scroll vs talking to an audience of people looking for a solution to their problem changed our trajectory.
Over the last year, we have developed our own 4 phase structure for our ads based on data, sustainable growth and returns. Changing tack from social media ads almost felt like doing things in reverse – we could start with simple and clear copy build a body of knowledge about how the audience was searching and what they would respond too and scale up from there. No more throwing design work at a wall before we could be sure it was the right choice. No more writing paragraphs of copy before we knew what those looking for our solutions wanted to see. No more feeling blind. Now the customer we were selling our clients to were not only qualified but had a more quality user experience.
So what have we learned?
Our users being sold these services correctly now have a much higher satisfaction as we serve them what they are looking for which is, in turn, boosting the quality of their experience on the site they are being led to as it is exactly why they are expecting. Not to mention the benefit of knowing that clicking this ad or interacting with this creative will take them to a solution and isn’t an ad masquerading as creative.
Just as we spoke about the diversity of placements in social media as more competitors arose and led eyes away, Google gave us access to a large group of relevant websites using google ads on their pages aligning us with sites matching our product and also access to youtube for video content if it suited not as an unavoidable extra within the social landscape.
The tracking environment was a really nice shift for our team too, tied into the social media data mining juggernaut that was just part of the job a few years ago. Now the data we target is from relevant information such as search results or the video you click on it isn’t about holding onto massive piles of data about who interacted with your ad and finding those like them it is a proactive design. We at MJ pride ourselves on finding the ethical route in the marketing landscape so this is a huge bonus for us.
Existing in the google environment also means that we can use the google’s cache of the websites we are promoting to create dynamic ads per search. No more guessing what you might want to see if we have the service listed on our site and you are looking for them these dynamic ads can give you exactly what you need! These ads are proving to return up to quadruple the results of standard search ads, it’s wild!
What became very obvious quickly was that the google AI was our friend and learning to work with it instead of fighting it like you do a lot in social media ads was a huge asset for us too.
I have a family who hates ads, I mean don’t we all? But my son responds to the predatory slot machine game ads that show up on his gaming videos. My partner has removed all of our tv antenna cables from the house and won’t even watch SBS on-demand with me if there is a show we can’t get a streaming service. These things are intrusive and distracting which I think we can all agree is annoying as hell. I love finding a better quality of experience for our clients and their customers.