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Is your brand advertising (the right way) on your main website? Why not?

chris reed

Chris Reed

As a consumer, I have become increasingly disillusioned with the entire concept of advertising. I've reached a point where I avoid using services if I can't circumvent receiving ads without enormous expense.

The nostalgia of enjoying ads

It's a fascinating phenomenon because it wasn't that long ago that I loved ads. We all used to love ads, right? So many cultural references and memes are derived from them. We joked about them with our friends. We randomly broke out into catchy jingles during conversations. We gathered with friends and family for the Superbowl, even if only one person in the room really cared about the game, just so we could all be "in the know" about the creative ways all these companies tried to maximize their ROI on a $2+ Million/30 sec investment. All in the name of social programming.

A small part of me yearns for that time of my youth, before the curtain had been lifted, where I saw commercials as another art form or creative expression. Now, I avoid them like the plague. Install the latest Adblock+ or uBlock Origin extension. YouTube detects those on Chrome? Switch to Firefox for YouTube browsing, I guess. How did it come to this?

The frustration caused by irrelevant ads

This post is not meant to paint advertisements as a sinister presence. If I'm being truly honest, the occasional ad these days can still make me laugh, bring a smile to my face, or inspire me. My main issue is those kinds of ads seem so few and far between now. What if they didn't have to be?

Upon more self-reflection, I found that I tend to get irritated by ads that simply do not apply to me. The market started moving on this exact issue years ago through targeted ads based on user data. Oh, you just googled tickets to a snowy destination? Here are some ads for winter gear. You were interested in that guitar? Here are ads for that same guitar on Google, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, etc. It took everyone a while to get accustomed to getting ads for products they had only mentioned out loud, but we got there. Admittedly, my wife and I still freaked out two weeks ago when we got an IHOP commercial for the first time on Hulu, about an hour after she mentioned she could go for some pancakes.

The success and challenge of targeted ads

This innovative approach yielded varying results, but overall, it proved positive. Targeted ads improve click-through rates and conversions. This is great for advertisers placing their ads throughout the internet; on search results pages and social media feeds. But what about your brand's main website? You already have great ads elsewhere, but once visitors and customers make it to your site, how are you controlling their experience? How are you targeting them with your content? Now that your marketing team has driven them to your site, how are you capitalizing on that, and how are you retaining loyal customers?

Brands can benefit massively from treating their entire site as a platform for targeted ads for their visitors and customers. Your site receives an enormous amount of valuable data as visitors traverse it. Are you using all that data to the fullest? Here is a quick set of questions to ask yourself:

  • When someone clicks on a banner and buys a product, do they still see that same banner when they go back to the homepage?
  • When someone browses different product categories, do they see content related to those categories as they continue traversing the website?
  • Do I have any processes to handle unhappy customers on my website?
  • Am I going above and beyond to make my loyal customers even happier?
  • Are customers seeing more items on my site that do not match their individual interests, than those that do?

The need for personalized content

Answering these questions should make it clear where I'm going. The same way that I can't stand seeing low effort commercials about products and services I don't care about, visitors can't stand seeing low effort content that's not relevant to their interests, especially when they know that you know what they like. The research is clear, and the market has spoken: "It's our personalized content, and we need it now!" (thank you, JG Wentworth).

Luckily, creating this content is really a simple task. It just takes a structured approach to gathering and analyzing data and using those learnings to make intelligent decisions about your content and customer journeys.

Introducing CoreMedia Engagement Cloud

Personalization is certainly not new to CoreMedia (yep, this whole article was secretly an ad), but with the introduction of Engagement Cloud, we are putting the power in brands' hands to fully embrace the concept. Whether they are a first-time visitor or a long-time loyal customer, you can deliver that white glove experience that gets them chatting about you at the dinner table. The bonus? It costs a small fraction of a SuperBowl commercial.

Click here to learn more about how your brand can benefit from CoreMedia Engagement Cloud.

Stage 1: Fragmented: Multiple Channels

You’re a digital dinosaur!

You have a beautiful website, but with fragmented digital experiences, you run the risk of extinction.

It’s time to evolve.

Your audiences want a seamless experience, no matter what's happening behind the scenes. When your experience is different or difficult, it’s important to start with the basics, such as cultivating a holistic approach to online digital experiences. Realign your teams, platforms, processes, goals, and metrics around a comprehensive view of the online experience. Focus on the end-to-end customer journey cutting across channels, desktop and mobile.

separate channels animation circle t-rex dinosaur square
Stage 2: Integrated: Multiple channels

You’re a fish!

Signs of exciting life are starting to form. Your DX is responsive and adaptive but it’s not quite personalized yet.

Keep swimming!

The integration of your brand content across every touchpoint (website, online store, social media, emails, apps, point of sale) creates immersive experiences. These flagship sites combine content-rich brand experiences with immediate conversion capabilities. Business teams and marketing are closely aligned. However, while the digital experience is responsive and adaptive, it’s not yet personalized.

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Stage 3: Instant: Global expansion

You’re a crocodile!

You’re taking it global. Speed and scalability are key and just like a crocodile, you’re fast…but you’re clumsy.

Oh snap!

In this stage, the online digital experience becomes completely dynamic. You need content that is global, yet relevant, with plenty of local insights: Who is the user? Are they using a mobile phone? Is it raining where they are? Is it snowing? If it is, maybe they need warm, waterproof boots. All of this contextualized information creates a better user experience. With one global orchestration, you’re able to adapt everything, in whatever country or language you choose – while keeping turnaround times low. So keep evolving.

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Stage 4: Dynamic: Real time personalization

You’re a lion!

You’re reaching more customers in more countries and languages than ever before, and now you’re finally hunting and collecting info with precision.

But you can do more to keep your brand roaring!

As you graduate to the Instant level, you’re able to rapidly update everything - not just in one language and for one country, but in 20 languages and for 100 countries. Speed and scalability are key, driven by the need to roll out global campaigns in all languages and all touchpoints and make updates in minutes or hours, not weeks. But there’s still more to do to reach nirvana.

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Stage 5: Immersive: Elevated experiences

You’re Captain Content!

You’ve done it! You have opposable thumbs AND you’re saving the world with your seamless, elevated customer experiences.

You're a superhero in the digital space.

Your digital world and your physical world are blending together in the most complementary way possible. When shoppers visit your store, they’ll be greeted with their pre-selected products. Language changes dynamically depending on country of origin – it's like the whole store was set up just for your one specific customer.

In this final stage, your customer experience is truly immersive and superior, and your flagship store merges your physical and digital world into one, with a truly personalized individual experience.

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