Everyone loves a good story. That’s especially true when it comes to advertising. According to a new study, campaigns that tell a brand story before asking people to buy something are significantly more effective than ones that focus immediately on encouraging people to take an action.
For the research, social media advertising technology firm Adaptly, in partnership with Facebook, compared the rate of subscriptions to Refinery29, an independent fashion and lifestyle website, generated by two campaigns on Facebook that ran in the US in May 2014.
One “sustained call-to-action” campaign over 12 days featured ads that employed creative and images focused strictly on generating subscriptions. The other campaign over the same period featured different “sequenced” ads that first told the brand story, next provided product information before inviting people to sign up. Ads for both campaigns were served in News Feed to lookalike audiences, increasing the chances that people would become high-value customers.
Key findings of Adaptly’s research:
- Among those who were exposed to the sequenced ads compared with those who were exposed to the non-sequenced ads, there was an 87% increase in people visiting the landing page
- There was a 56% increase in subscription rates among people who were exposed to the sequenced ads compared with those who were exposed to the non-sequenced ads
- People who were exposed to all three of the ads in the sequence converted at higher rates than those who had seen just one or two of the ads. People who saw even just one of the ads converted at higher rates than people in the control group who saw no ads.
“Some advertisers may find it counterintuitive to elongate a campaign as a way to more gradually bring their audience through the purchase funnel, rather than more immediately delivering a call-to-action,” says Adaptly’s CEO, Nikhil Sethi. “But we have proven that this classic brand-building approach it is both effective and efficient, even for direct response advertising.”
The Adaptly report offers two strategic recommendations for marketers:
- Consider testing a “sequenced” marketing message, even if the goal is direct-response, to improve the results that matter to the campaign or the brand
- Adjust the message depending on what people know about the brand. Brands that enjoy a higher level of awareness may be able to focus more on purchase intent and conversion than a brand that is less well known.
“Quality and engagement are critical when developing a customer-base with real lifetime value,” says Melissa Goidel, chief revenue officer at Refinery29. “By telling the Refinery29 story during the acquisition process, and building awareness and consideration before driving to conversion, we were able to increase our return-on-investment and ultimately acquire a more informed and qualified subscriber.”
To learn more, download Adaptly’s white paper, Creating More Effective Online Marketing Campaigns.
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