We all know that 2020 has been an absolutely ridiculous year. So many things have gone off the rails and I, for one, could not be happier that it’s coming to an end. With a new year comes new opportunities and new potential, even if we might be feeling the effects of 2020 for a while.
When it comes to online advertising, a new year is simply a line in the sand. Odds are, you’ve been advertising through all these ups and downs and into this unprecedented holiday season.
But that doesn’t mean that 2021 doesn’t allow for a new mindset and a look to new strategies, or a return to those that have always worked best.
With that, I’m here to argue that 2021 should be the year where you focus on making your customers’ experiences with you as simple and enjoyable as possible. In this post, I will cover five ways to do this:
Like I said, we’ve all had a tough year, so maybe paying it forward with your online presence will make their lives easier—and yours. They’ll be more likely to make a purchase and you will then subsequently have a better chance at bigger profits. So let’s get started.
No one wants to click on an ugly ad, let alone an ad you can’t even read. By this point, nearly everyone is pretty internet savvy and an unprofessional-looking ad is a red flag. The biggest problem here is that nearly all the platforms have made it “easy” for you to get your ads running everywhere by using only one ad unit.
Although this makes the ad creation process easy, it then opens you up to lots of ugly potential outcomes. Let’s take devices as an example. Depending on which device you’re on, an image ad could look very large or very small. That then impacts what type of image you should use for the ad. But with the ease of ad creation, you likely selected one image and it was what looked best during the campaign building process, not after looking at the previews.
Additionally, some placements allow for quite a bit of text to be included in the image and others don’t look good that way.
Same with focal points. Sometimes you can have a complex image if the ad will be large, but need to have a single focal point image for those that will appear smaller.
I’ve written a couple of in-depth posts on this site about customizing your ads by placement for Facebook and optimizing images for Responsive Display Ads on Google. Check those out to get some more specifics on making your ad creative as strong as it can be, no matter where it shows.
As a marketer, you’re on your laptop/desktop for a good portion of the day, but many people aren’t. For some, their sole connection to the web is via mobile. Take some of these stats, for example:
Those are some pretty powerful numbers to convince you that mobile is AT LEAST as important as desktop, if not more so. Additional channels, like Snapchat and Instagram, rely solely on the mobile user experience. There is next to no engagement from desktops.
Since you’ve already agreed to start customizing your ads for placements/devices as I mentioned above, there are two mobile optimization areas I would like you to step up in 2021: website experience and website speed.
Just like most other things, we typically find ourselves optimizing the user experience on our site for desktop and neglecting mobile. Whether your site is responsive or has a customized mobile experience, take the time to visit it (better yet, have a trustworthy friend do it and ask them to give it to you straight) and answer the following questions:
If you’re failing in any of these areas, go back to the drawing board and fix it.
With mobile devices, users can be either on wifi or on their respective networks when coming to your site. Almost without fail, one of those will be slower than the other and if you’re coming from a mobile device, odds are you’re more in a hurry than you would be on desktop. This invariably leads to bounces before the page loads, which, for our PPC purposes, means ad dollars wasted.
Keep in mind also that the Google page experience update is on its way, and page speed is involved in the fundamental Core Web Vitals of the update.
Check your page speed using Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and make some of the suggested changes to your mobile page to lighten it up and get it moving faster.
Do you ever get ads served to you that aren’t applicable because you’ve already made a purchase or you’re just not the right fit for that company?
Everyone has. And likely, you’re doing the same thing to your target audience. There are tons of different ways you can segment audiences for better, more meaningful remarketing whether it’s creating a list of previous purchasers, excluding users who only spend 10 seconds or less on your page, or customizing ad messaging to someone who added a product to their cart but didn’t check out.
The amount of control we have over audience creation is amazing, and it’s mind-boggling that people don’t take better advantage of. Here are a handful of videos to walk you through targeting options on some of the major PPC platforms and hopefully get your mind going on audience creation:
No one spends all their time on one network. (Ok, maybe older folks are only on Facebook, but that’s a small subset of people.) Finding your target audience is best done when they see you in lots of different environments.
First, you’ll have a better chance of reaching your entire customer base by using more platforms. For example, one account I’m working on is targeting high school and college age users for a PSA type campaign. We’re targeting users on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, but each platform is hitting a different subset of our user base:
Each channel is playing it’s part to get our message out, but none of them are reaching 100% of our target audience. Without a multi-channel strategy, you could easily be missing out on a portion of your customer base. Leverage additional channels to make sure you’re reaching everyone and giving yourself more areas to test, optimize, and maximize.
The last point I would like you to focus on in 2021 is a common-sense piece, but not nearly well executed by most marketers:
Tell the customer what they want to know.
Stop playing little word games and being vague with what you do. “Synergizing solutions for 10x unicorns” is not a thing. That’s buzzword bingo.
Use your website to tell your customers what you do and why you’re the best at it. You don’t have to get into heavy technical jargon, but make it clear through effective marketing copy that you’re the expert.
The feedback I always hear from people is, “Well, I don’t want to give too much away on the site because we want to get them on the phone.” While I hear what you’re saying, I point you to this stat shared by one of my friends:
If you help someone learn something, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you later on. This might not lead to direct sales, but you’ll be growing a more educated customer base that will remember you for teaching them when the time comes to purchase a solution.
Additionally, I’ve come up with a list of different calls to action you can use in lead generation that AREN’T requesting a demo. Each of these should help you be an expert while also giving your customers what they need and want.
You’ve spent the better part of your advertising career likely focusing on how to best describe your product/solution to your customer base to get them to convert. Let’s make 2021 the year we start to think about how we can make the experience better for our potential customers by giving them legible ads, an enjoyable website experience from any device, and providing them with the information they actually need to make an informed decision.
Michelle is the Co-Founder of Paid Media Pros. She has twelve years of experience in all aspects of PPC and brings a wealth of experience developing and executing campaigns across search, social, and display platforms in both agency and in-house settings. Her experience gives her an especially well-rounded and holistic view of the paid search landscape—one she shares regularly as an influencer, author, and industry speaker at events like SMX, HeroConf, and Pubcon, as well as the Paid Media Pros YouTube channel.
See other posts by Michelle Morgan
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.