The advent of online advertising has allowed businesses to do a lot of incredible things. We can target ultra-specific audiences, engage with target customers en masse, and measure the success of our campaigns with a level detail that was once thought to be impossible.It’s also comparatively inexpensive to do, as you’re not creating a physical piece like a print ad, mailer, or billboard.
The speed with which you can. go from the idea stage to hitting publish can be less than a day, if you really want to.
This type of agility, however, can have a negative effect on the results, or perceived results, of your ad campaigns.
Though there are few absolutes in this world, but I’m going to attempt to tell you why your ads aren’t working:
You didn’t think it through
You went from having an idea to publishing the ad too quickly. Perhaps you didn’t even have an idea, per say. It’s possible that you came to the conclusion that you were going to spin up a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram ad for a product or service that you’ve got — wrote a couple words about how awesome your product or service is, and created some type of image to go along with it.
David Ogilvy is spinning in his grave.
Your ad can be a lot of things: it can be clever, funny, nostalgic, even shocking. One thing it can’t be is boring. Especially in this digital age where millions of companies and individuals are vying for people’s attention. I say companies and people, because you need to realize that you’re not just competing with your competitors, you’re literally competing with any company that’s advertising, as well as any person putting any type of content out on the internet.
When someone scrolls through their Facebook, where your ad is showing, you’re asking for their attention. The thing is, so is their grandmother, ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, best friend, and that kid from high school they don’t really remember.
“Hey we’ve got this cool thing you should buy” just isn’t going to cut it. You need to give them a reason to care. If you can’t do that, either hire someone who can or save your money and don’t advertise.
You’re too impatient
What about this scenario: you’ve got all the right pieces for your ad and it’s still not producing the results you’d like.
I want you to ask yourself this: how long have you let the ad run, and have you been tweaking it on a weekly or daily basis?
We’re often too impatient. Just because you’ve seen the ad hundreds of times and are sick of it doesn’t mean you need to change the message, creative or targeting.
Think about the ad campaigns that stick in your head the most, then think about how many times you had to be exposed to that messaging in order for it to be that memorable.
What’s the Coca-Cola Christmas ad?
Or the M&M’s Christmas ad?
Why do you think they go back to the well with the exact same ads each Christmas? It’s not because they’re lazy, are out of ideas, or can’t afford new creative. It’s because they want you to remember it.
Think about some other famous ad campaigns. “Nationwide is on your side” was written over 50 years ago and yet, you’re singing the jingle in your head right now. That’s not luck or by mistake — that’s been an ongoing decision to stick with an idea so that it makes the most possible impressions.
Sure, longevity can be credited in part to performance, but performance can be, in part, credited to creating an idea and sticking with it.
So refreshing, tweaking, or completely giving up on an idea after a few months is not one I’d recommend. It confuses people, or worse — they’ll just never notice you in the first place.
By continuing to refresh your messaging and identity, you’re forcing your brand to make countless first impressions over and over — never allowing it to make second, third, fourth, and fifth impressions and so on and so forth.
People need to see your brand probably 10 or 15 times before they choose to buy or engage with sales. I’m sure there’s someone who thinks they have the data on how many impressions are needed — but I can tell you this: it’s more than one. Allow your ad to make more than one impression per person.
Speak in terms of years, not months and quarters when it comes to the success of your campaigns. Sure, that’s a a major investment of time and money, but if you don’t invest in your brand, who will?
So, essentially, this is about having the right, well thought out idea, and having the guts to stick with it.