Audiences have long complained of digital ads that are not relevant to their needs, choosing to show their disdain with low click-through rates and the adoption of ad blockers.
In fact, studies show that the average CTR in AdWords is just 1.91%, and it's just 0.35% for Google Display ads. Also, 236 million Internet users are regularly using ad blockers because they don't want to see the ads being shown to them in their browsers.
So, how can companies create ads that people actually want to see rather than avoid them during their Internet experience? One strategy is focusing on ad relevance.
By creating ads that are relevant to the online user, you can improve their browsing experience, increase the chances that they click through, and make the digital advertising experience a more effective one for all parties involved.
Does Ad Relevance Actually Matter?
Ad relevance matters, of course, because it is the quality that makes a user want to click on an ad.
Usually, Internet users click to further explore ads that show them content they'll actually be interested in. Furthermore, ad relevance affects people's decision to buy.
Google research shows that 91% of smartphone owners ended up purchasing or plan to purchase something after seeing an ad that they found to be relevant.
Google is proving that ad relevance matters by creating a new ad metric that measures ad relevance. The metric will allow marketers to see whether their ad content is relevant, in measures ranging from "poor" to "excellent." The metric will also give feedback on the quality and diversity of the ad's copy.
Ad relevance also matters because relevant ads tend to cost less for advertisers. Platforms like Facebook can give an ad a relevance score, then the more relevant an ad is (the higher the score), the less a publisher has to pay for it.
Paying less for ads can help you stretch your online advertising budget as far as possible.
What Makes an Ad Relevant?
So, ad relevance clearly matters. But what is it exactly that makes an ad truly relevant?
Here are the characteristics that make an ad a relevant one, as well as some actionable tips for advertisers to achieve success with their own digital campaigns.
Keywords and Search Terms Make Sense
According to Google, the keywords you use in your ad should make sense in terms of describing the product or service you provide.
This means that you shouldn't just stuff your ads full of keywords that you know people are looking for, just because they're looking for. Instead be thoughtful and specific about only including terms your ad actually hits on.
The search terms you use for your ad should also be the ones that people use to look for your company.
To find the best keywords for your ad, do some research using helpful tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner Tool, Moz Keyword Explorer, or Microsoft Bing Ads Intelligence. You can also use resources like Google Trends to help clue you in to what people are interested in and looking for.
The Linked Landing Page is the One People Want, and Specific
In order to be relevant, your ad should link to a connected, related landing page.
Your visitors should end up on a landing page that is focused on what your ad was promoting, not something different. Also, the landing page should be as closely linked to the ad as possible, rather than a more general page.
For example, an ad for a product should lead to a landing page for that product, and not your company's general webpage.
Your Ad Shows You Understand Audience Intent
You want your ad to show that you understand what people who see your ad were looking for with a search.
This means you need to understand audience intent – or what they were actually trying to do or accomplish when they completed the search that resulted in your ad.
Take a look at what specifically your audience is searching for, how they're wording their searches, and what they're positively responding to. Looking at intent signals can help you understand the best way to phrase or word your ad, or what content will resonate.
Tips for Making Your Ads Relevant
If you want to make sure the ads your potential customers are seeing online are relevant, you can try taking the following steps.
Customize Ad Creative, but at Scale
Google recommends customizing the creative in your ad for the people who are seeing it – but doing it at scale using helpful tools and services such as Creadits.
Consider Platform and Audience
Think about the platform you're going to place an ad on before you come up with its creative or design. Facebook advertising attracts a very different audience than those on, say, Instagram or LinkedIn.
Consider what type of person will be seeing the ad you're placing, as well as what that person will be doing when they see your ad.
You want to make sure your ad appeals to people in the right way and at the right time in order to make sure you are mastering relevance.
Think about Trends and Popular Culture
To make an ad relevant, make sure its content is culturally relevant. Don't focus on a trend that is passe or a news event that is no longer exciting. Relevance should also mean content is at the forefront of people's mind and matters to them, so consider than when you're choosing what to include.
If you want your ad to be relevant to the people who see it, make sure you are focusing on making it relevant.
By creating content that people actually want to see, you're ensuring that you're investing money in digital marketing content that will pay off for you, and you can help yourself become a trusted and appreciated brand for customers and potential customers.