By By Ian Cruickshank, President & CEO, Leadbox
Before I start into this article, I need to make it clear that I am coming at this from an academic perspective. That doesn’t mean that this is going to be a dry or dull article. It merely means that I am speaking to these two topics from a research perspective — particularly the latter of the two issues. You see, I go on lots of dates, but they are shared exclusively with my wife, and we never seem to run out of things to say. Hence, the perspective of any online dating advice that I provide here is from my research and zero experience. My wife and I found each other in a more traditional way- we worked together in advertising. Fortunately, for all of you reading this article, I have done heaps of research, and have lots of experience working with online advertising. So, for the more PG and important topic, I’ve got you covered.
Let’s start with something for the boys. In online dating or any dating, there is one cardinal rule that you should never overlook. No matter what your buddies say, do not send a picture of your anatomy by text, email, snail mail or any other kind of mail. Just don’t do it. For the love of God people, whoever thought that would be a great way to win over a potential suitor needs to re-evaluate seriously.
Okay – with that first dating tip out of the way, let’s get focused on online advertising.
We, as advertisers, are all very fortunate to be living in this day in age. As you’ve likely heard before the quote from John Wanamaker: “I know that 50% of my ads don’t work, I just don’t know which 50%.” Today we are consistently improving that gap. With all of the tools at our disposal, we are more capable of determining the sources, which have led to actions. We can even track those who took action on our websites and then link that data to those who visited our stores. Google’s in-store visits tool can help you with this, provided you have enough web traﬃc and ad spend. When a significant percentage of customer interactions and transactions start taking place on your website, we are able to measure the sales results even more clearly.
Outside of attribution, there are lots of technologies that can help us uncover much of what we need to properly reach an auto-shopper while they travel through the customer journey. Today, there are countless companies talking about inventory marketing, programmatic advertising, buyer journey modeling, as well as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Each of these new tools takes us incrementally closer towards delivering the right message to the right user, at precisely the right time. Well, almost.
Let’s head back to the dating world for a moment. So, you’re online, and you have done all the work to create a fantastic profile. You have merchandised yourself to perfection: clothes, lighting, background, all the specs and a great description. You’ve published your profile, and the matches start to come in. There are people out there looking forward to hearing from you. One problem… what the heck do you say?
Similarly, you’ve put all the work into your vehicle detail pages- such as photos and vehicle descriptions. You’re ready to start spending on advertising. You have a plan, and you’re going to start spending in search, display, video pre-roll and in social. You have looked at all the data and selected all of the targeting parameters. You may be working with third-party data or using some of your own data from your CRM, creating lookalike audiences and matching everything you can match in all the most important platforms. You’re faced with the final decision, what do you say?
The sad truth is people do judge books by their covers, at first, and that’s the same way that people perceive advertising- you have to be eye-catching. You have to catch their attention immediately, right up front, at the start of the video, as soon as the display ad loads, or as it scrolls into view in the news feed. You have to attract your suitor. Be sure to use contrasting color, motion, and people. Pro-tip: human faces with vehicles attract more significant response than vehicles alone.
Just like when you’re about to speak to that perfect match, you want to make sure that what you say is relevant You have to make sure that your creative is going to catch his or her attention; therefore, ensure that your creative is relevant. You have the data, make sure your ad will speak to the target demographic and psychographic. If you are targeting a few diﬀerent subgroups, then make sure you have ads to suit each one. Pro-tip: Don’t cheap out and just run one creative. Run multiple ads and test which performs best.
In the dating world, you may tell them what you think they want to hear. You’re funny, charming, and attractive. However, if they figure out it’s all for show and that there’s really no substance behind everything that you’ve said, then you’re going to have a significant problem.
When advertising, if you were ever to attempt the same thing in your digital ads, zero substance is the equivalent of a horrible landing page. You have distracted, attracted, and earned the commitment of a click- all for nothing- if your landing page isn’t completely relevant. If your landing page says nothing about what you actually promoted, or worse, it’s your homepage, then you likely should have never wasted your time with all of the data and planning that you completed in the first place. Pro-tip: be sure that your landing page is immediately relevant to the ad the user is clicking on.
So, whether you are advertising yourself or your cars, be sure you figure out the whole story first. You need to know what to say before you walk up to that amazing person and open your mouth– if you don’t, you’re going to be sorry that you ever did.
About the Author
As the President & CEO of Leadbox, Ian Cruickshank, is leading an exciting group of automotive marketing and technology professionals who are “doing their life’s work”. As an Adjunct Professor, he is regularly called on to present and lecture on a variety of IT and Digital Marketing concepts.