If you want to take your digital advertising campaigns to the next level, you need to embrace personalization. This means creating relevant, resonant ad copy and creative that speaks to the specific concerns of the personas within your audience.
Personalization sounds easy, but it takes experience and iteration to do it properly. To get the inside scoop on campaign personalization — and how to use it effectively — we spoke with Kyle Dugan, 6sense’s Director of Digital Marketing.
Kyle has extensive experience in managing Digital Marketing efforts, and is fluent in demand generation, content creation, lead tracking, and business development.
6sense: How valuable is personalization for digital ad campaigns?
Kyle: Very. The upside is that you reach your audience with relevant content and ad messaging that better explains the value in ways that align with their pain points.
Let’s say you’re targeting sales leaders with your campaign. Your ads can communicate with them in a way that clicks with them — very succinctly and directly. Your ads targeting finance leaders would speak about better budgeting, better use of their money, better ways for them to track budget.
It really just hits home for more people because you’re speaking their language.
You’d think that the more precise your audience and message is, the more effective the ad will be. But it’s not that simple, is it?
That’s right. You can go miles deep with personalization — job function, role, industry, stage in the buyer’s journey, geography, and on and on — but you quickly hit a place where it’ll take more resources, time, effort, and costs to create these campaigns than you’d ever see in their results. There’s a point of no return with that.
The best thing to do is start with a 30,000-foot view. Maybe you start your personalization with a job function. Speak to someone in marketing, speak to someone in sales. Simple, general stuff.
Now let’s say you wanted to take it down to a 20,000-foot view. Here, you want to engage VPs and directors. Now your ad copy aims at solving more specific problems.
If you wanted to go a step further, you could go industry-specific. This is the 15,000-foot perspective. Here, you’re speaking specifically to people in financial tech who are VPs of marketing. Now you’re getting really granular with your copy.
Anything beyond that, and you probably won’t see results that are worth the extra effort. Generally, once your audience hits below about 1,000 people, you’re shooting blanks.
Many digital marketers are responsible for writing ad copy. How do they determine the best personalizations for their audiences?
If you don’t have a clear value proposition to refer to, it’s a process that’s both creative and iterative. Sit down and think about their pain points. Think about what you’re trying to solve for them. Now boil that down into something that’s catnip for them.
It’s catchy. It’s something that you’d click on, something you’re curious about.
But then there’s the iterative side. You’ll make your clever ad and then you’ll make a version that’s more straightforward. Set it up and see what people click on. See what your audience prefers.
Should these personalized versions be very different or something more subtle?
For the most part, if the ads are very different, it’s easier to tell what is — and isn’t — working. You’re more likely to have a bigger performance gap, for starters. If the variations are just a little different, you may have to work a lot harder to identify what worked for one and what worked for the other.
Do these personalized experiences extend beyond the ads themselves, all the way to the campaigns’ landing pages?
Yes, but this is a best practice that many companies don’t follow. If you’ve got an ad speaking to a persona, its landing page should also speak to that persona. You shouldn’t take an ad directed toward VPs in FinTech and then drop them on a landing page that’s for anyone who might be interested in your product.
Your ads have already spoken to them in a personalized way. You’ve spoken to their pain points. They need to go to a landing page that furthers upon that, reiterates that pain, and tells them how you’re going to solve it. The “why” needs to be very pointed, and driven to a specific value.
Why do many revenue teams overlook this best practice?
It’s the effort, mostly. You could be creating four personalized landing pages for four different personas for four different campaigns. Sometimes, companies just don’t have the resources or the time.
That said, you’re going to blow it if you run personalized campaigns that go to generalized landing pages. It’s one of those things where if you have to choose one or the other, personalize your landing page and keep your ads relatively plain.
But you can’t go further down the funnel in your ads and move back to a broad view on your pages. If you get them with that targeted ad, get them on a matching landing page.
What’s a common, yet completely avoidable, problem that newcomers face when personalizing campaigns?
There seems to be a lot of temptation to get grandiose with the personalization. Don’t. Don’t overstate things in your ads. Don’t oversell. Make sure value is appropriately applied to your ads and your landing pages. Don’t overpromise.
If you have low time on-site with your landing page but have really well-performing ads, that probably means your ads are overselling. You gotta walk back those ads. This is a realization you have to come to yourself, which is always tough.
Any final thoughts about campaigns and personalization?
Always test. Always test something in your campaigns. Test a different type of copy, test a different message within your ads, or maybe test a different image that’s new to your brand. Maybe test a different landing page.
There will always be something else to test, if only because your past tests change where the goalposts are. You’ll see behaviors and actions that’ll give you insight into how you can optimize your personalization. You’re never done. This is just what we do.