The problem in ad performance

17 Nov, 2021

We always feel that industry benchmarks that track online ad performance are very low. Often we are surprised by how far our work outstrips these. Now that might sound like a humble brag but we keep seeing it. Naturally we could rest on our laurels and not question it but we worry about all those ads that must be out there in the sector that are more in line with the benchmark. These are ads that could be engaging people but aren’t working as effectively as they could. This is not a phenomenon exclusive to FS, there is a well documented trend of effectiveness in advertising dwindling; naturally most of these is seen in falling response rates on digital ads.

The huge expansion of digital advertising over the last decade and the additional boost it has been given by Covid has furnished marketers with a huge amount of data. The final online steps of the customer journey can be tracked and measured to the nth degree. However, what we see far too often, specifically in digital and also in overall marketing plans is the data cart coming before the marketing horse. Essentially, because marketing teams have to think about short term data (and specifically clicks) they worry about how to get people to click rather than making people want to click. The click is the final step in the marketing journey so a certain logic would suggest putting as much attention on the moment of that click is the route to success. However, it leaves a lot of the journey unsupported.

This logic might work in the short term but there is a lot of research that shows that in the long term you are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The focus is too much on the bottom of the funnel. With no focus on the top of the funnel, creating the demand. You can’t make someone want to click on your ad without first making sure they like your brand enough to pay attention. And this is where things get really interesting from our perspective. The ads that we create and get click through rates well over the benchmark on are all brand ads, we’re not even looking for clicks. Perhaps the harder you try to get someone to click on an ad the less likely they are to do so.