It’s all too easy for advertisers to get carried away with the wealth of possibilities available to them – from creative ad formats to the wide range of channels available – and often they forget to ask themselves a simple question: will this ad drive conversions? 

Designing a highly creative ad that causes website traffic to soar is one thing, but if those visitors don’t convert, the advertising budget could be viewed as wasted. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is the process of increasing the likelihood of your website visitors converting, seen as an important part of the digital marketing strategy by 98% of companies, and advertising is where it starts. 

So, how can brands effectively implement CRO, ensuring their ads don’t simply attract attention but capture consumers who are most likely to convert? 

Consider ad placement carefully 

Getting an ad in front of the right audience is often a matter of placement, and to improve CRO brands need increased control over where their ads are displayed. Private marketplaces (PMPs) are a good way to enjoy the efficiency of programmatic while retaining control over ad placement and building publisher relationships with trusted sites. Brands should work with websites that attract their specific audience, using publisher data for targeting to increase the chances of their ads driving conversions. 

The context of the web page on which an ad is displayed is just as significant as the website audience. For example, an advert for running shoes is far more likely to generate conversions if displayed on the sports page of a news website, than in the financial section.    

Know what devices your customers use

Digital advertising can be delivered across a range of channels and devices, from social ads on mobile to display ads on desktop. The key to serving ads that will actually lead to conversions is to understand which of these channels and devices are used by your target audience and how they are using them. One brand targeting millennials with the latest fashions might do well on mobile, but another brand selling DIY goods will be less successful if their customers are primarily using desktop to make their final purchase. 

Use high-impact ad formats 

An ad format can have a significant impact on the likelihood of a click-through resulting in conversion. For example, if a consumer clicks on a low-impact ad, such as a standard banner, their connection with the ad is minimal, as is the chance of them converting. But if their ad experience is more immersive, using formats such as wallpaper ads, rich media, or video, they will already have a far deeper level of engagement with the brand before they click, thus increasing their potential to convert while driving greater brand awareness.    

Test against conversion rates 

Testing ad formats, placement, creative, and messaging is a vital part of any advertising campaign, but it is important to make sure performance is being measured against the appropriate metric. 

Click-through rate (CTR) is just the start of the story, and should not be the sole means of measurement for determining which ads are driving brand engagement. Digital ads should also be tested against conversion rates to see which combinations are generating the most sales or other predefined actions. Once a brand establishes which aspects are working best, they can use these insights in future campaign planning to further drive conversion rates.

Employ post-click optimisation

 Advertisers frequently focus on pre-click optimisation to engage the consumer, without considering what happens after they click on the ad. Addressing post-click optimisation to ensure the landing page is appealing and intuitive, follows on from the ad to provide a seamless brand experience, and provides the consumer with everything they need to take action, will help to drive conversions. 

Designing captivating creative and investing in the latest channels is only worthwhile if the consumers that click on digital ads go on to take action and convert. By implementing these simple CRO steps, advertisers can ensure their ad campaigns reach and connect with the consumers who are most likely to convert, ultimately boosting ROI and revenue.