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Making online advertising work for you

Should you be using online marketing tools like Google Adwords? Internet psychologist Graham Jones takes a view

The other day, out of the blue, I received a phone call from a potential client who was worried about his website. He had spent a considerable sum of money building his new website and had enlisted the services of a “Pay Per Click” advertising agency to get him his initial traffic. His problem, though, was that in spite of a couple of hundred people clicking on his Google AdWords items – and thereby costing him more money – nobody had actually taken any further action. “Why isn’t my advertising working?” he asked me.

It is a common refrain. Google AdWords is highly successful – FOR GOOGLE…! But for the rest of us the data suggests that it is 98% UNSUCCESSFUL.

Web advertising has a “Two Per Cent” rule. For every 100 people who see your advert, two will click on it. For every 100 people who click on your advert, two will take further action. So, if you do the maths this means that on average you need 2,500 clicks to generate one sale.

The poor chap on the phone had only had 200 clicks, which means he has some way to
go before he can begin to see any impact. Of course, that’s if he accepts the average figures. So I looked at his site to see if there was any chance he could improve from the average.

It took me two seconds to find the problem. His advertising agency had told him, rightly, that he needed different adverts that led to specific pages within his website, rather than just going to the home page. But those “landing pages” did not immediately show the visitor that they were in the right place.

Delivering what’s promised

Here’s why most online advertising fails – because when people click on an advert they expect to see exactly what the advert has promised in less than a second. Yet most online advertising – even that produced by an agency as in this case – fails to do it.

If you are selling, for instance, ‘tax advice’, then when a potential client clicks on an advert they expect the words ‘tax advice’ to hit them between the eyes. They don’t expect to see a page where they have to hunt for those words. The ‘landing pages’ produced by the advertising agency for the chap on the phone failed to hit people between the eyes. You had to hunt around for the main topic – and people don’t do that.

And it isn’t just small businesses that make this error. Big firms make fundamental mistakes in online advertising. I checked out one High Street clothing store, known for selling children’s school clothes. They had a Google AdWords advert for ‘boys’ blazers’. What do you think you landed on when you clicked on it? Yes, you guessed it, girls’ dresses…! Similarly, another High Street ‘leading brand’, advertised ‘sun cream’. And what happened when you clicked the link? Yes, you got to a page about vitamins…!

The reason most online advertising gets such poor average conversion rates is because the wording of the advert isn’t specific enough and the advert is not linked to a ‘hit you between the eyes’ landing page.

If you want your advertising to work online, you need to produce landing pages that are so specific that the visitor cannot fail to realise they are on the right page within a few milliseconds.

 

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