Wow, this is a sensitive issue. This will be a commentary tha I will use my years of experience, user experience as a website or forum follower and just plain sense.
Let’s talk today about Display Ads or what is commonly called Banner Ads. In the early days these ads were just puke on a page or no different than a outdoor billboard placed on some backwoods country road. Today there is far more intelligence behind them and much more technology. We can now target display ads to VERY specific audiences. Do you have a sleek black dress that your Women’s clothing store is trying to sell? Well we can target women, between 30-49, college education, kids, divorced and income is greater than $45,000. Yep it gets that granular.
Years ago it was just about impressions
Now today it is about focus and placement. Now when I say “focus and placement” I speak on our behalf, APG Local. We see, in many cases, other providers that are what we call “Sales Machines”, just sell Display because it is low hanging fruit and sometimes the highest margin profit center for those who exploit it.
Recently I spoke to a manager of a “Sales Machine” that stated they just push impressions. “It is all about the exposure and mass broadcasting”, is what was explained to me. WOW. I wish no one to be sold by that person or company. We find it to be just the opposite. We like taking specific ads to specific audiences so that what the potential customer is seeing is something of true interest to them.
Let’s take a sneak peek —
So, with that being said, let’s take a peek at a Display program that I personally ran across a while ago. It was from a Law Firm. It was a somewhat generic ad, most likely targeting personal injury as it stated “Your rights, our fight”. I get it, I understand the Firm’s wishes. We understand what they are portraying to the potential client. It’s OK we can deal with that. What I am NOT OK with is that in just a few short spins of the scroll wheel, as in FIVE seconds I have already seen the ad 3 times! On a single two page thread there ad was there EIGHT times. Ok, I could possibly see twice but not 8. SO I am just one person, what if 30 people were on that thread/post and each person saw the ad 8 times, that is 240 ads served. This just cost the advertiser around $2.25-$3.50 is costs to reach only 30 people on a RV Website/Forum. Was this really the target audience for what the Firm was wanting to reach? I would argue, no.
It is my opinion that this is not a good use of a client’s campaign funds and I expect better. There is far more behind this specific case, but we won’t extrapolate on that for now. So if your ad is seen 8 times in one minute does it make a potential customer want to purchase from you 8 times more? Well, you would probably agree, absolutely not. So maybe 1-2 would be ok, not eight.
So let’s talk about about how display could be better managed. APG Local can set a multitude of parameters. We can set how many ads a specific viewer can see in an hour, day week, month or year. We can show specific ads to specific audiences. As a general rule of thumb we follow is 3-4 times per day, no more than 7-21 times per week and 21-35 per month. There are some items to consider:
Factor 1: How Established is your Brand?
It goes without saying that a more established brand may very well get a desired consumer response with less exposure than a new startup. This can cut your marketing budget substantially and allow you to do their Direct Engagement campaigns that yield great results.
Factor 2: Who is your Target Demographic?
Who are you trying to reach, when where and why? We are all different. A C-level manager may need to see your ad quite a few more times than a professionally educated person. The more intelligence we have about your audience the better we will be able to determine the most effective frequency.
Factor 3: What is the Overall Objective of Your Ad/Campaign?
In general, brand awareness will take fewer exposure than trying to change consumer opinion of your brand. Each campaign needs to have a goal, and this goal will need to be factored in order to come up with the right frequency.
Factor 4: Market Saturation
The more saturated your market, the more you may have to expose your audience to your ad in order for them to capture and remember your brand.
Factor 5: Is the Purchase Big or Small?
The more dollars a prospect is expected to hand over, the more influence they will most likely need. If you are selling Rolex’s, expect to run your ads more than if you are selling Seiko’s.
So, what’s the magic number?
There is simply no one-size-fits-all approach or one right answer to that question. What we can tell you, based on our own experience working with small to medium businesses for 21 years, is that less than three exposures is doing your campaign a disservice. That is simply too few to give your ad any real chance of landing. But showing that ad 8 times in one minute is both wasteful and abusive and a disservice to our clients.
We can also say with confidence that while there is no magic number – it could be 5 or 7 or 12 – when it comes to exposure, your message is more effective when repeated over a period of time. What is not wise is to just dump the inventory of ads off as fast as we can spend your money.
We fully endorse what Nielsen-Norman condones here in regards to what your Display Ad should do or say:
- indicate what will happen if people click on them
- relate to what people are doing online
- identify themselves as advertisements
- present information about what they are advertising
- provide additional information without having to leave the page
Earlier we spoke about the difference of a True Agency and a “Sales Machine”, the aforementioned account was sold by a “Sales machine”. The Sales Machine takes money, pays their Reps and spends your dollars as they see fit and then makes profit. Typically these firms have multiple levels of management, secretaires, assistants, high cost of overhead, local managers and then commissionable sales people. This in so many cases usually creates a minimum cost of 40% and higher to the customer, then they need to make profit. If a Sales Machine needs at least 20%-25% profit this means that at the end of the day ONLY 35% of that hard earned money you give them every month is what is ACTUALLY spent on your campaign. And then when the campaign is loosely or improperly managed you spend 50% more with no real appreciable effect which now means that 35% is now at 17.5% !!!! This should be a MASSIVE concern for your marketing budgets.
This is why APG Local typically gets more calls than most other Sales Machines get clicks, I am sure you would all far more appreciate a call than a click. We at APG Local care about your campaigns and have REAL people monitoring them and watching every dollar spent and making adjustments by the hour, day and week while many others only make monthly, if you are lucky, or more lengthy adjustments.
If you have any questions about the most effective frequency for your campaigns, please get in touch with us. We love helping both small and medium businesses get the biggest return on their advertising investment.
The video below shows you the example of 8 ads in roughly one minute. Not good.
Author Andy Entrekin, Founder