Generate More Sales and Acquire More Leads with Programmatic Advertising

Creating a narrower, personalized buying experience for online shoppers has become one of the most imperative methods to securing conversions and generating leads in a campaign.


There are simply too many voices speaking at the same time to make a lasting impression on someone. Social media platforms are inundating users with ads that are making the overall online experience less appealing.


Spam emails may be on the decline, but that hasn't stopped advertisers from encroaching platforms in new ways; whether it's a promoted tweet on your Twitter stream, a sponsored ad on your Facebook timeline, or an unskippable 30-second ad on the YouTube video you want to watch.


So rather than painting potential targets with a broad stroke, the idea now is to narrow the audience to those most receptive and likely to buy. This approach limits dilution of the advertisement, costs less money, wastes less resources, and displays your advertisement to audience members that may actually purchase.


This is where programmatic advertising steps in, and why it's become so popular among marketers:


"Programmatic is all about delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. It will give your creative team the data they need to improve branding message and make them more personally relevant. Using audience, contextual and environmental signals, you can create highly impactful dynamic creative that performs to each audience segment."


As any advertiser knows by now, "successful advertising all comes down to how well you know your customers -- not guessing or assuming their behaviors, activities, or intent. In the telecommunications industry, for example, the use of CRM data resulted in online campaigns that were 39 times more effective, according to Neustar."


The art of storytelling and investing in perfecting the buyer's journey and experience is becoming a consensus view:


"The general theme coming from thought leaders throughout the marketplace is to build a better experience for the consumer through great content and creative, innovative advertising. The power dynamic has shifted in consumers' favor, which means that marketers and advertisers will only engage target audiences and generate new business if they stop talking at audiences and start creating relationships with them instead."


As we'll soon learn, there are plenty of resources available for marketers to gain a deeper understanding of their audience, thanks in part to programmatic ad buying's capabilities.


Programmatic ad buying is at the forefront of this movement, and growing in popularity, because it "allows brands to pinpoint the audiences that they want to reach. This ensures they deliver the perfect message, in the perfect location, at the perfect time."


This is the most effective approach to targeting while still optimizing. Here's the process and why you'll soon see how it became so popular:


"Programmatic systems can analyze online profiles to determine if the potential customer is the decision maker, and deliver ads and content that can be customized for each step of the buying process. This help to ensure that decision makers see the ads or content, and it allows companies to guide potential buyers through the buying process."


But how does it do it?


"When a potential customer reads a white paper, visits a company's website, views a webinar, or reads a blog article; the programmatic system detects the behavior and display ads and content that are relevant to the potential customer. This can expand a company's existing lead base, generate interest, and establishes a company's authority on the subject."


There is no guessing or assuming. What you will possess, as a result of the metrics provided by programmatic, will be indicative stats of what works and what doesn't. Although skepticism in data-driven marketing spiked with Facebook's overestimations, it certainly hasn't deterred marketers from realizing numbers reliance is the future:


"The recent industry-wide drive toward data-driven marketing has set the stage for a creative renaissance, one rooted in and informed by a deeper, more precise foundation of consumer profiling facilitated by technology.


We now have the ability to apply data to discern the actual moment that people are planning vacations so we can serve them relevant and compelling messages about beach clothing, or to know when they are researching cars to serve them auto ads."


Is this not the overall endgame with any approach to marketing? The greatest challenge and responsibility of marketers is perspective; putting yourself in the shoes of your audience and finding out how they get from point A (wanting to buy something) to point B (buying that something from you).


Advertisers, more prominently before digital marketing's advent but even still practicing it to this day, employed every method you can think of to get a better idea of their audience's behavior and tendencies. Focus groups, phone and in-person surveys, and man-on-the-street interviews were all employed. But this only represented a small sample size, based mainly on anecdotal accounts.


Now you can narrow your audience and also collect vital info for future marketing efforts. This certainly isn't as personal as talking to someone one-on-one, but it is far less time-consuming and more resources can be devoted to the creative side of things:


"Customer data, also referred to as first-party data, paints a valuable picture and enables SMBs with the ability to draw meaningful conclusions about consumers from multiple channels....


Once data is collected, marketers are now able to unlock the full potential of their first-party data by uploading offline data (such as audience segments in a CRM system) to the online environment -- a process called data onboarding or CRM matching. Once there, it can be matched with digital data and activated for a variety of purposes within a Data Management Platform."


Through a lead generation campaign, you can have "names, addresses, emails, lifecycle stages, demographics, purchase histories, and even triggers of your existing customers and most qualified leads."


These are the keys to generating leads and sales. Once you have the metrics at your disposal, you can adjust your creative strategy to their preferences.


The entire process is fluid, as well. If you were to create an ad that wasn't performing well, "programmatic marketing enables the company to make changes to campaigns in real-time without extra expenditures. This means that companies can further refine their campaigns to change which content or ads are displayed to different target markets during the buying process, without starting new campaigns from scratch."


It shouldn't be a surprise then that "According to eMarketer, 83% of all ad buying activity will be programmatic by 2017."


One of the more effective, and most popular, personalization techniques is remarketing. Not every interested buyer is going to pull the trigger upon first glance of your website. They might want to buy something, but for any bevy of reasons they want to delay it. As an example, I have three items sitting in my Amazon cart. This doesn't mean I don't want the products. It just means now is not the right time.


Rather than rely on the user to make their way back to close the sale, you send hints in the form of retargeting ads. In the case of Amazon, it's not uncommon to see ads on the side of my Facebook of those very same items in my cart. If you had recently looked into flight information to a specific city, you'd likely find ads relating to hotels and popular destinations around that city.



It all leads back to one constant: You have to know your audience if you want to make sales and generate leads. And programmatic marketing is especially adept at this.

How A/B Testing Can Help You Fully Reach Your Audience

One of the toughest things about achieving a successful campaign, as a marketer, is first figuring out the components of generating that success. There’s no instruction manual to advertising placements, whom to target, what to write, or what images to use, so marketers are left to sift through research and past campaigns.


Things are only more complex now with the wide range of ways to consume content. The internet may have taken some of the attention off traditional mediums, such as TV or radio, but now there’s the issue of what to advertise and how to advertise it.


Thanks to the rise in mobile usage, now everything has to be truncated and adjusted, in order to fit accessibility requirements.


We all know that the purpose in advertising is to generate an emotional response from the user, which will inevitably lead to a conversion. To do so, the content needs to engage and connect with their needs. But with so many outlets and mediums to reach them through, the only way to fully understand and comprehend our target is through experimenting with the content.


That is why we test. Because the only way to get a proper read of an intended audience is to introduce options, uncover the responses, and then apply the results to the next campaign you run for them. Therefore, you are presenting them with what they prefer.


Generally, you want to limit your testing to two options. Otherwise, you may saturate your efforts and end up with a number of ads that are showcasing results that are too close to each other to make a proper judgment on.


So presenting two options and getting a 60/40 result in favor of one side, as opposed to running four options and getting 35/30/25/10, provides better indication of what to run with.


Now, there’s nothing wrong with testing multiple options, but only in the right circumstances. This is called Multivariate testing. Here’s a brief description:


“Multivariate testing changes many different elements in an email or landing page. It’s great if you need to test multiple variables but you don’t have the time conduct a series of one-off tests. They’ll help you discover which version performs the best, but you won’t be able to pinpoint which change had the biggest impact on the performance of your campaign.”


Plus, it’s far more expensive and time-consuming to create all of those variations.


Today, we’re going to talk about A/B Testing, which is essentially two identical tests with one variation.


Say, for example, you have a landing page users click to for a little more info, before downloading a white paper. Now everything is the same—the info, the form to fill out, and image—but with one difference: the CTA button to download.


For Test A, the CTA button reads “Download Now”


For Test B, the CTA button reads “Download Now”


The difference? The color. Test A’s CTA button is green, while Test B’s CTA button is red. While this may seem minor, even something as simple as a change in color could dramatically affect the action of a user.


Here’s reasoning, as cited by a study, as to why a red CTA button boosted conversions by 21% over a green CTA:




“Take a closer look at the image: It’s obvious that the rest of the page is geared towards a green palette, which means a green call to action simply blends in with the surroundings. Red, meanwhile, provides a stark visual contrast (and is a complementary color to green). “


All of that just because of a simple change in color! Now let’s take a look at a change in type, albeit with a few more than two examples:




And the results:




Was that the answer you were expecting? Let’s examine it and see how there could be such a stark difference in conversion rate between the top performer and second place.


Remember the previous example of color contrast? It has that; the main CTA is a bright red, while the bottom text is a dull grey that’s almost difficult to see, so there’s a little bit more intrigue there.


Notice the contrast between the sizes, too. The top text is prominent, while the bottom text is so small you can barely make it out upon first glance.


Of course you’ll also see one of the greatest words in the history of marketing: FREE.


Now, this isn’t to say that red is a better color than green or that bigger/smaller texts are going to work every single time. These are just some examples you can try with your campaign. As mentioned before, what matters most are the circumstances of what you write, how you write it and where you place it.


What you should take away from this are how subtle changes you may perceive as insignificant can actually make all the difference between five sales and two.


Similar results are applied to using certain words.


Here’s an example I discovered and placed in another blog:


“Social psychologist Ellen Langer tested the power of a single world in an experiment where she asked to cut in line at a copy machine. She tried three different ways of asking:


‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?’


‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?’


‘Excuse me’ I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?’


60% said OK to the first sentence. The other two? 94% and 93%, respectively. The only change was ‘Because’.


Notice how weak the reasoning after the two instances where ‘Because’ was used is, yet it made a stark difference in the result. “I’m in a rush!” is an obvious reason that many of the other people in line could be experiencing, while the other reason isn’t a reason at all.


‘Because’ was a trigger word that convinced those in line to let the subject cut, despite seemingly giving no good reason to do so.


Once again, allow this to be an indicator of just how much of a difference one word can make. As much as this blog is about testing different styles in persuasion, it’s also about realizing the importance of certain words, colors, or placements and just how much of a difference they can make.