80% of users claim that they are more likely to do business with a company which offers personalized experiences and as many as 90% describe personalization with such adjectives as appealing.
If these numbers do not convince you to leave everything you are doing at the moment and focus on improving your company’s performance thanks to this great technique – think about it again. And then do it anyway!
Undoubtedly, most of the campaigns are all about stimulating that one sense – vision. Well, not all. Other elements such as wording play an important role, complementing what users’ eyes see and if they are not on point, numbers will reflect it. “So many factors to think about” you might say, and you’re right. In each campaign, graphics alone can be broken down to many stages and variations including both pre-click and post-click visuals. Today’s best advertisers already know that post-click optimization can do the magic provided they invest enough effort in it.
They balance resources between targeting, conversion and everything that happens afterwards, because they understand that pre-click content contains their promises. Post-click, in turn, is when they actually deliver these promises and bring satisfaction to their clients.
The importance of visuals in advertising
According to research, tweets containing images get 18% more clicks. Quick conclusion? Visuals really generate appeal and influence how people react to branded content. In the era where most of us have a decreasing attention span, marketers need to rely on visuals to catch people’s attention. At the same time, users reject content very quickly, being used to dynamic experiences such as Snapchat or Instagram Stories. What can connect the two parties is emotional engagement highly triggered by appropriately chosen visuals which help marketers win customers’ interest.
So how to guess what kind of visuals will work? Remember about the first rule – consistency makes your brand look trustful in users’ eyes. Rather than separate images, they should form one message as a whole, reflecting the core brand values. Visuals are like a second language that go hand in hand with the words used to tell a compelling story. Well designed and maintained brand identity let customers understand who they are interacting with within a few seconds – even without seeing the company’s logo.
Generic visuals will not do
With the Internet having been around for decades, more data is available for advertisers to leverage on. Above all, it creates endless targeting possibilities and platforms such as Facebook make it available for nearly everyone. Campaigns are being personalized all the way from the beginning till the end – from the first banner ad to the thank you message. Personalization originally started out with targeting basic needs or locations and has advanced to include exact niche interests and behavior patterns.
What is important – users are no longer treated as a crowd, but as individuals who have their own preferences and wants.
However, not only do users’ characteristics influence visual choices of brands in advertising, they are also heavily dependent on the platform where the ad is placed. Each platform has its own norms and users expect companies to behave in certain ways depending on where they interact with them. It is mainly caused by the fact that people are used to seeing some type of content on a particular website and anything outside of those norms challenges users’ comfort level, interrupting their casual browsing habits. Visual content needs to comply with culture adapted by a given platform, as well as with user generated content – social media platforms really are social, and they are expected to stay this way.
Finally, visuals depend on various campaign- and brand-specific factors, i.e. the goals that a company wants to accomplish and values which they want to convey. Product categories influence such ad elements as colors and fonts – no one promotes burgers with pink images and highly decorative text. Brands want to keep their visuals aligned with their own standards and boost brand recognition.
But where does it all bring us?
What happens after people click on your ad
Yay! You have caught users’ attention. How? The ad that they clicked on have inspired some positive expectations which they hope to meet by checking what is waiting for them at the next step. Colors that the company used triggered certain buying moods, product pictures created interest and the copy reflected some kind of a promise. After the promise, comes emotions evoked by the content and customers’ expectation that is for a brand to keep.
Clicking on the ad brings them to the so-called post-click step. Post-click optimization (PCO) reflects marketers’ efforts to bridge the gap between an ad and conversion. As only 3% of clicks convert every year, as much as 97% of marketing budget is spent on… content that will never lead to an actual sale.
Post-click experience begins with a landing page and ends with an email and although message consistency throughout the whole customer journey is essential, many marketers pay attention only to 50% of it – usually only to the pre-click portion. Landing pages should be extensions of ads and make people feel that they arrive in a place where they wanted to be. How? Through the same headlines, visuals, colors, branded elements – there is no place for confusion! At dipp, we happened to fail here – our ads for PLAY Massimo campaign had very funky designs while the landing page was kept in a more serious and minimalistic tone. The lack of consistency between these two steps resulted in lack of conversion. We learned our lesson and now we are passing on this knowledge.
The disconnect between our vibrant banner ads and corporate looking website
Therefore, landing pages need personalization and personalization is successful after testing out what really works for a given target audience. Advertisers need to test and even if it means that some budget will not translate directly into conversion, it will contribute to discovering what actually converts. Even if diligent A/B testing takes a lot of effort, it needs to be one of the main points of focus. The key to successful post-click performance are consistent landing pages that load quickly (also on mobile!) and make the user journey seamless, cutting out all possible distractions. After a landing page comes a good thank you message ensuring that the user knows what comes next and what the following step is.
Visuals are key in advertising – and they need to be great not only before a user clicks on an ad, but also afterwards. As a marketer you should always remember to make good use of money spent on pre-click and not let them go to waste with poor PCO. Only consistent experience throughout the user journey can ensure that you make the best out of data-based personalization possibilities. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think – what would you expect after clicking on your ad? Figure out the promise you make and keep it.