What I always struggle with when planning a display campaign is the target.
Which user segment will give us the best result? Targeting options in display advertising usually give you behavior or sociodemographic information about the user (interest, placements, categories, age, gender…) but not intentionally. Even though all these targeting criteria are interesting, not having the possibility of targeting people that have shown intention towards a specific term or concept (As you can do in search campaigns) makes performance in display advertising quite tricky.
Knowing this problem, and eager to take more budget from advertisers, display ad networks have improved their list of features adding pure performance features lately. Now thanks to retargeting capabilities, conversion pixels or custom audience, it is easier to reach your performance objectives in these ad networks. This is great but, is it enough? Are we really able to get user intention? The answer is yes, but if you only use the basic options of retargeting, conversion pixels or custom audiences you will get only 10% of the real power these tools could give you. If you want to squeeze these features and get the most of them you need to design a powerful strategy.
Export user intention from your site to your campaigns
All these performance features always work the same way: You give the ad network some information about user behavior using a pixel or a DDBB and, in turns, they allow you reach these users in your campaigns. This workflow gives the advertisers all the responsibility for what information is sent to the ad network. This, my advertiser friends, is absolutely fabulous because here is where we can find the true power of the audiences. We can design and create personalized audiences based on very specific actions the users did on our sites and we can relate these actions to user intentions.
Let’s explain this with an example. Does a user show the same intention if he/she only sees your product on your e-commerce site than if he/she not only sees the product but also clicks on the product image? Or does a user show the same intention if he/she only sees your product on your e-commerce site than if he/she spends more than 60 seconds on the product page? Obviously thanks to these behaviors we can understand these different users are showing a different level of interest in that product. So, if they are showing a different intention, why should we retarget all of them in the same way? We shouldn’t.
The problem here is that if you use conventional retargeting you will retarget all the users that have seen the product page, but thanks to conversions pixels and a bit of tag manager magic you can choose to only retarget users that have shown true intention, like spending a certain amount of time checking out a specific product or having clicked on some specific areas of the page. In a nutshell, you should think about what specific actions on your site give you information about user intention and send this info to the ad network.
Categorize your users into intention levels
Before starting to create your campaign, you should think about how you want to categorize your users to know their intention levels and which actions you should measure to attribute these intentions levels.
This is very specific to each business and should be designed taking into account each company’s unique business model.
In this point, creativity and business insight are key. You should understand perfectly how your business works, and taking this as a base you should be creative enough to star relating actions to intention levels. Don’t be afraid of using all the resources you have, the more the better. Can you track any click on your page? Think which clicks show more intention and create audiences.
Do you have information about which users buy more during sales? Create a custom audience and only make campaigns targeted for these users during the sales period. The only limit is your imagination but take into account that a great planning on which data you want to keep and how to do it will expand your possibilities exponentially.
Create intention “traps”
Sometimes it is hard to get intention signals on your site. What are your options in this case? Easy, you can design what I call “intention traps”. These are specific web pages or actions that will give you information about what the user is thinking about. A basic example is to create specific content related to your product and promote it. We can infer that people than engage with this content have some interest in your area of knowledge and you can try to show them ads with more specific information. Another example, when designing a newsletter, instead of having a unique newsletter, we can divide it into two categories: sales and new collection. We can learn from this which users sign for one or another and create specific campaigns according to their choice.
The right content to the right user
The last piece of the puzzle is the content. To create all these microsegments according to user intention levels is great, but the whole strategy won’t work if you show them the wrong message. You need a personalized message for each intention level according to the behavior the users have shown.
Has the user shown a high intention level? Let’s be direct and show them a good offer. Has the user shown some interest but not a high intention level? Then, show the user more about your company, your products and your value proposition. You have to give the users what they need at this particular moment in order to lead them as far as possible into the customer journey.
To summarize, the idea is simple but making it work requires a lot of work. Nonetheless it is definitely worth it. A lot of effort and work is needed but using this kind of strategy will let you grow your business exponentially.
And if you need any help, you know where to find us!