While some individuals that have the pleasure of working in the digital ad space may dread the nightmare of taking on new clients that sell a product or service that isn’t truly suitable for e-commerce, I, personally, embrace and enjoy the challenge. Undertaking these e-commerce projects can be complicated, laborious, and for the most part infuriating. But with a little bit of patience, and the application of some creative thinking, the task becomes less daunting as the days pass. I’ve prepared a checklist below that will provide some insight into how to improve audience engagement for a product that is not realistically suitable for e-commerce.
1) Tell a narrative through your advertisement
I should probably provide some context to this tip….I had a client that was trying to sell high-end wine as an e-commerce product. Ridiculous, I know. Even more absurd was that they were trying to target an audience consisting of only college students and recent college graduates. They thought that if they could capture a younger audience that was at the peak of their alcohol-consuming glory days that they could create customer loyalty and improve their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Talk about the residual effects of underage alcohol consumption.
What my client overlooked is the fact that most 21-24 year olds have never tasted “good” wine. More often than not have no idea what makes good wine. After several weeks of subpar performance and return on ad spend I decided to utilize rotator ads to develop a narrative that detailed the sourcing/procurement and production process of this particular wine vineyard. Most people who pay a premium price for a product want to know exactly what they are consuming (especially if it’s going in their mouth). Not only did the click through rate (CTR) and cost per click (CPC) start to improve as time elapsed, but we also started to see longer site session durations, more page visits per session, and higher e-commerce conversion rates (ECR). Trust me, when you sell a product that isn’t suitable for e-commerce (especially at a price-point that’s ludicrous) you’re going to need to tell some sort of BS story that gets audience members interested.
Start with rotator ads that tell a unique story.
2) Test different landing pages (and utilize the one that improves bounce rates, time on site, and page views/session)
As I mentioned, most people don’t want to pay premium pricing or buy an e-commerce product that they have never had before. While this statement goes hand-in-hand with tip #1 it is still as useful. Test different landing pages. If you direct a 22-year old imbecile who knows nothing about wine to a page that exhibits $500 bottles of wine, more likely than not, he will literally blurt out, “the hell with that” and bounce faster than Pete Carroll did when he realized that USC was getting sanctioned for allowing some random dude to buy his star player’s parents a house (among other things). Again, tell consumers why this product is a must-have. Walk them through the different product features and benefits of consuming said product. Differentiate the perception of your product by sending consumers to an “About,” “Our story,” or “How it’s made” page to communicate the value that’s derived from consuming the product that your client is selling.
3) Utilize copy and creative that is flowery and engaging
Make sure to utilize buzzwords that really pop and sell your e-commerce product. I can’t stress the importance of this. There’s nothing worst than reading through an advertisement thats content is purely abysmal. Then clicking through the advertisement and finding a garbage-tasting, awful-appearing bottle of wine that’s priced 400% higher than their competitors. Try to make the copy reflective of what kind of experience that you think the consumer will enjoy, and for the love of God, look through a thesaurus to find some engaging words so that it doesn’t look like a 12 year old is actually trying to convince people to buy a product (especially if its a bottle of wine).
4) Have the appropriate call to action button
If you have made the mistake of inserting the wrong call-to-action on an e-commerce advertisement you’re either an intern or an idiot. While this tip is neither ambiguous nor insightful, I cannot stress the importance of this. Use the appropriate call to action. It frustrates audience members when they see a CTA on an ad that is so inappropriate that they think an infant developed it. Don’t be that dude (who used the wrong CTA).