Creating effective marketing and advertising campaigns for an e-Commerce store is not an easy task.
However, it is not impossible if you know what to do and how to do it.
Sure, any campaign can convert your banners into leads or customers, but if you really want to be successful you need to optimize it for maximum conversion.
How can you do that?
Well, you need to optimize your e-Commerce display advertising campaign.
The optimization starts with the setup process of your e-Commerce store and your marketing strategy which comprises everything you do.
Sure, this article will focus on display advertising, but first, let’s take a quick look at all the other elements that are also important for such a campaign.
Create or buy your eCommerce store
First and foremost, you need to set up your e-Commerce website.
You can either create it from scratch with a suitable content management system or, you can buy it from Shopify’s Marketplace.
Obviously, it’s easier to just buy an online store that is already set up than taking all the steps required to start from scratch. This is the main reason I have recommended the Exchange program from Shopify.
Besides that, the app is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms available today and it allows you to set up stores locally or on social media pages as well.
Shopify makes one of the best e-Commerce builders available right now. Even if you have a huge budget for designing and coding your store, you should take a look at what they can offer and calculate the benefits of doing business with them.
There are plenty of great articles that review and compare eCommerce platforms. It’s essential to do your research and choose the solution that fits your needs best.
Of course, you can create a free e-Commerce website as well and use a non-commercial e-Commerce store builder. There are free CMS’s available for online stores, as well as free plugins that work with WordPress.
Choose your marketing strategy
There are two types of marketing strategies you can choose from: the free ones and the “paid for” campaigns. Let’s take a quick look at each of these options because when it comes to advertising, everything counts.
1. Free content marketing on your own e-Commerce website
Here, you need two things: a great landing page and valuable content for your audience. For an e-commerce store, you can create valuable content in your product descriptions but you can also set up a blog and write about important stuff from your industry.
- The landing page: It matters because here is where all your clients land after clicking on your banners and/or links. As you may already know, a click on a banner may not convert to a lead or a client. In many ways, your success depends on your landing page and how friendly, catchy, or informative it is perceived by your audience.
- Product descriptions: This is also a very important part of your content marketing campaign and it also matters for your display advertising campaign. It’s quite obvious why: People who land on your page after clicking one of your banners will convert to customers only if they find something of value there. How you describe your products or services matters in this case because words and images have the capacity to attract or reject people. Also, it’s important to have reviews from real customers posted on products’ pages. People trust recommendations coming from their peers more and less what you have to say about your products.
- The blog: Set up a blog on your website in order to be able to create and publish more valuable content for your customers. It may help you increase your conversions through organic search and social media shares. Also, it will help your advertising campaign by giving your audience something to stay logged in for, something to come back to, and something to read.
TIP: Don’t forget about the visuals. They’re an important aspect of your marketing campaign. Include plenty of visuals in your blog posts, on your product descriptions, and of course, on your landing page.
2. Free social media marketing
Another type of free content marketing campaign can be set up on social media. Here, the main focus is not on texts but on images, and therefore, you should focus on that. Constant social media presence, however, will help your advertising campaign. As long as people are aware of you and your brand, the advertising banners may convert better.
Make sure that you are always on, that your social media pages are always updated. Respond to comments, requests, and complaints. Keep all the communication channels open and you will keep your audience pleased. All these things will help you increase your conversions and they will back up your display advertising campaign. If you know what to do and you do it the right way, they may even amplify your campaign.
3. Display advertising
The third option is to conduct a banner advertising campaign. It will not be free as the previous ones are, but it will help you get more conversions by reaching to the audience who is not reading your blog and the potential customers who don’t already know you.
You can conduct a banner advertising campaign on professional and dedicated channels that are oriented to advertising or, you can create a campaign on a social media platform such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.
A display advertising campaign may complement content marketing campaigns or it can be run as a standalone strategy to get leads and convert them into customers. Since this is the main focus of the present article, my main focus in the next chapters will be on how to optimize a banner advertising campaign.
Designing some cool banner ads may not be enough for a successful campaign.
You might want to also focus on some of the following strategies:
Optimize your landing page
We’ve learned that the landing page is important and we also know why. However, there are a few elements that you need to include here in order to make sure you have done everything that is to be done there in order to be successful.
Many people will click on your banners. Not all these clicks will also convert into leads and clients. What should be done to make sure your audience will notice you and maybe even become customers?
- Make sure your product descriptions are well written and at the same time, informative.
- Upload professional product images and cover all the angles of a product with images.
- Make sure the audience is able to browse through products. Create categories and allow them to make niche selections.
- Publish reviews and testimonials. People trust other people more than they trust companies.
- Include all the contact details on your main page. Do not forget your email address, your phone number, and, if your business is local, your address.
- Make sure you have professional visuals you can include on your landing page. Trust your creativity and inspiration.
Once the landing page is optimized, you can hope to convert your clicks into something real, something commercially profitable.
Display advertising: Pros and Cons
Every marketing endeavor has its pros and cons. Display advertising is no different. Let’s start with the cons:
As you may already know from your own life experience, most of today’s online users use ad blockers. When it comes to display advertising, this is a really bad thing since ad blockers render banner ads useless.
Display ads may also be considered quite intrusive especially when they cover significant areas of the web pages or even their content. This is a serious problem you should take into account before starting your campaign and work towards minimizing it. How?
Well, for starters, it is important to properly select the area you will display your banners, and if you cannot do it, to design banners that add value to the readers. It may be something funny, something informative, or a really well-targeted copy text that catches their attention.
… and now, let’s get to the pros:
There are still people who do not use ad blockers. Not all of them will click on ads. Some will do it. We also know that half percent of these clicks are accidental. This is why you need to optimize your display ads and at the same time, your landing page.
Companies invest more than ever in display advertising. According to Emarketer, since 2016, the money spent on display advertising surpassed the amounts paid for search ads.
As we can clearly see in the following table, banners and social media ads are clearly the most popular types of advertising.
This means that banner ads are still popular and that they consume a great part of the advertising budget.
The optimization of the campaign
Based on what we’ve learned here, what else can we do to optimize our e-Commerce advertising campaigns?
1. Rethink your ad placements:
Take a look at the following screenshot:
The area you are able to see above the bottom red line is the area where your banner should be placed. Everything below that line may not be noticed by your targeted audience.
Therefore, if possible, make sure that your banners are being seen and take a look at the average CTR of each display campaign.
2. Optimize for mobile
A report published by “Our Mobile Planet” a few years ago states that 82% of the US smartphone users are checking their mobile phones while doing other things. We can easily assume that when they watch TV, during commercial breaks, they check their phones. In fact, a third of the population admits to rather giving away their TVs than their smartphones.
Another interesting fact published in the same report is that 77% of users use their smartphones as shopping tools, either to research a product or buy one. Also, 83% do not leave their homes without their devices.
3. Choose the right file format
According to these stats, static images are slightly less popular than animated html5 display advertisements.
However, there are some who believe that static banners are better. “We’ve seen the click-through rates of static ads outpacing animated ads by 20 to 30 percent, which is huge,” says Andrew Catalano, Chief Digital Officer for Austin & Williams, a company specialized in digital marketing.
The main reason an animated display advert may be less effective is that the attention span of the audience is reduced when browsing a website. People scroll web pages searching for the desired information. If your call to action appears 10 seconds later after the first frame of the ad is displayed, your message may not reach your targeted audience.
Then, you will ask, “What should I choose?”
The answer is that there is no universal answer for everybody. It depends on your message and how you want to deliver it. For some e-Commerce businesses, static banners perform better while for others, animated banners make the right choice.
Whether you choose static or animated, however, for better mobile compatibility, choose a Html5 version with an active CTA button. We have a great list of HTML5 banner examples that will help you get some inspiration and new ideas to start with.
4. Focus your message on the benefits
Having a beautifully designed banner and the budget to display it on the right channels may not be enough. If you want to catch the eye of the viewer and generate leads and conversions, you need to also think about him or her.
Try to write your copy text and your CTAs by focusing on benefits and not features.
People need to know how they may benefit from your offer and not a list of technical details.
You don’t need to worry that there is not enough space on your banner.
You can write in detail on your landing page, the banner should be focused only on what’s the most important. It may also help you if you have a really great offer, a huge discount or other financial benefits.
However, if you optimize your display advertising campaign and focus on all aspects that matter for your e-Commerce business, you are one step closer to becoming a successful advertiser.
Think of your campaign, your website, blog, and strategy as a whole and not as independent things. They are all interconnected and if you use them in conjunction with one another, there will be no reasons to worry about failure.
What about you? Is there any other element you would have optimized for a display advertising campaign?