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There’s a common misconception that Display (banner) ads are just for “awareness” or “branding”, not for conversions. Nothing could be further than the truth.

Of course it depends how you use them. You can use them in an awareness kind of way (just promoting a brand or logo without encouraging a call to action), or you can use them in a conversion kind of way.

Using them in a conversion kind of way means promoting something that you want people to buy or sign up to, OR by encouraging them to engage with you in a way that will ultimately lead to a conversion once they trust you enough. For example, promoting content that is part of an early stage sales funnel.

The problem is, a lot of people don’t click Display ads. It’s like people think there is something icky about clicking them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.

So how do you measure how successful they are, when people are not clicking on them?

There’s a couple of things we need to unpack here:

1) How to measure the success of a Display ad
2) How to encourage people to convert from a Display ad

The trick with Display ads, and I have to admit this is something I only learned recently, is that you need to use “Website” conversion tags in your list of conversions, not conversions imported from Google Analytics. This is because the “Website” conversion tags include view-through conversions and cross-device conversions.

These are hugely important to track if you use Display.

Definition – View-through conversions: View-through conversions are the conversions you get attributed to your Google Ads advertising if someone views your Display or Video ads and converts without ever clicking on them. The period of time that is counted towards the View-through conversion is defined in your conversion settings, for each conversion separately. It is called the view-through conversion lookback window.

Definition – Cross-device conversions: Cross-device conversions are the conversions you get attributed to your Google Ads advertising if someone clicks an ad on one device and then converts on a different device.

I was looking at a client’s account yesterday, and when you look at the Display ads without considering view-through conversions, most of them appear to be doing very poorly. (Return On Ad Spend = 0). But when you consider view-through conversions and cross-device conversions, all of a sudden these Display ads jump up significantly in conversion power. One of these Display ads had a Return On Ad Spend as high as 7.5X. I’m sure other advertisers could get higher; this particular advertiser had an average ROAS of 2.5X and a highly competitive market. So the Display ad had 3X the conversion power of the Shopping and text ads.

This is not a huge surprise to me because of the following secret.

Are you waiting to hear the secret?

In this Display ad, I targeted people who had been to the competitors website or had searched the competitors’ brand terms. Yup, good old guerrilla tactics. You can do this with custom in-market audiences.

These people visited my clients’ competitor’s website and then all of a sudden they were seeing ads for my client’s brand. Of course they wanted to check out the difference between the two products. They might have seen the ad on their phone, later jumped on their computer, searched for my client’s product and then decided to buy it. Never clicking the Display ad once!

This brings us to the tip about encouraging people to convert from a Display ad. The #1 secret here is targeting. In your Display ad audiences you want to target very niche audiences. Either remarketing audiences, similar audiences, or specific in-market, custom intent or custom affinity audiences. Then, use that ad to promote a product (for retail), a landing page (for B2B) or content marketing such as a blog article (B2B).

To see the results, you need to ensure you have “Include View-through conversions in All conv. column” ticked and then use ‘All conv. value’ as your metric of choice. As long as you are using Website conversions and you have them installed correctly, you will see the view through and cross-device conversions show up in your revenue and leads.

Google Ads conversion settings

Monique Angeleri Ecommerce Google Ads

Working with Petra has been a fantastic experience. She has walked us through the entire google marketing process, worked within our budget, kept us up to date with the progress and sits down with us at the end of each month to explain how our ads are tracking. We couldn’t recommend Petra more, she is extremely accommodating and always has time to answer any questions we have along the way.

Monique Angeleri Marketing Director of Cadelle Leather [Ecommerce] Ecommerce Google Ads April 26, 2021

Amanda Matthews Ecommerce Google Ads
We have been working with Petra and her team at The Quantified Web for the past couple of years now. She has been helping us to build our online presence and sales with our supplement ecommerce business.
I struggle a lot with Google Ads and all the nitty gritty side to the adwords and algorithms, but Petra explains things in an easy to understand manner.
She and her team communicate with us well and frequently to keep us up to date on how our ads are running and what we can do to improve.
I couldn't recommend Petra and her team any more!

Amanda Matthews CEO of Body4Life [Ecommerce] Ecommerce Google Ads April 26, 2021

brett leggett

Hi Petra, Hope you are well, I checked out the Google Analytics and all I can say is AWESOME. You have essentially doubled her revenue in a month and the Google Ads seem to be popping off!

Brett Leggett Brett Leggett ✪ eCommerce Growth Specialist Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020

Adam Wiles Ecommerce Google Ads

Working with Petra and her team has given me a better understanding of the key indicators that will help in growing my business. The information and service they provide, assists me in refining my business goals and therefore would highly recommend their services.

Adam Wiles CEO of Podiatry First Sports Ecommerce Google Ads April 26, 2021

Kiley Hay Baby Carriers Australia

I have been working with Petra for over a year now after changing from a much larger digital marketing provider and I could not be more pleased with the service and results my business is achieving.

With my previous providers I felt disconnected with limited communication. Petra on the other hand provides me with knowledge and information in a language I can understand that helps me make informed decisions not just about digital marketing but also my e-commerce business as a whole.

Petra has helped me navigate seasonal drops in trade creating a strategy that helped us grow and establish a healthy position in the market. It is an absolute joy to work with someone who loves what they do. I have complete confidence in recommending Petra to anyone considering e-commerce digital marketing, she is efficient, trusted and a true professional.

Kiley Hay CEO of Baby Carriers Australia Ecommerce Google Ads April 23, 2020