When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, I cannot stress the importance of location enough. Maybe that’s why the old cliché is simply “location, location, location.” While online businesses are no longer constrained by their physical locations to reach their customers, that does not mean this principle should be cast aside. Rather, we should apply this principle to digital advertising locations, or “placements.” Here’s why you should continuously monitor your ad placements.
Facebook Ad Placement
What spurred me to write on this topic was a recent change that we made to placement strategy for one of the companies we work with, which lead to major improvements. We were promoting numerous local events on Facebook for several of the company’s local stores. The goal of this Facebook Advertising campaign was to increase the number of “event responses,” which essentially means the user responds to the ad by saying they are interested or will attend the event. For this particular conversion, Facebook only bases spending on cost per 1,000 impressions. During the first two months, we saw moderate success for these local events, but as any advertiser knows, you can almost always improve something. After looking into the ad placements for these local events, we made the switch from an “automatic placement,” which is Facebook’s default setting, to only displaying in the newsfeed, eliminating right-column ads.
Here is a glance at the before and after results for two campaigns for which we made this change:
As depicted by the charts, the switch from advertising on both the newsfeed and the right column to only displaying our ads in the newsfeed was extremely successful. Although the users did not notice the right column ads, the company was still charged for the unnoticed impressions. In addition to the 44% and 55% respective increases in event responses for Campaign 1 and Campaign 2, this optimization also led to 39% and 23% respective decreases in cost per conversion.
This isn’t to say you should only use the newsfeed ad placement on Facebook. Although, according to Search Engine Watch, “Facebook News Feed ads have a click-through rate 44x higher, and a conversion rate 5X higher, than right-side ads.” Rather, this should serve as a reminder to be cognizant of each campaign and not simply trust your advertising platform to show your ads in the best possible placements.
Google Ad Placement
If you are advertising on the Google Display Network, the need to check your ad placement is even greater. When a client advertises on the Display Network, we provide them with a monthly placement report. We do this for two reasons: first, to optimize the client’s campaigns and remove websites that are high in cost but low in conversions, and second, to maintain the health of the company’s brand. Google claims the Display Network “spans over two million websites that reach over 90% of people on the Internet.” While that is incredible reach, you probably don’t want your ads on all of those 2 million sites. To prevent large sites from draining your ad budget or having your ad show up on a site that could potentially tarnish your brand image, here are a few potential solutions:
No one-size-fits-all approach exists for Display Network exclusions. Each client is different, so we handle the exclusions differently. However, the site category options can help eliminate a lot of websites you wouldn’t want associated with your brand. You should always look into the “Sensitive Content” category for your brand.
Spot-Check Display Placements
While the category exclusions can knock out the majority of inappropriate sites, some sites still fall through the cracks. Regularly checking your placements can help you find these potential stragglers and help you see where your ads are performing well and where they aren’t.
Use Managed Placements
Finally, Managed Placements is a great option for both users who know where their target audience visits online and for users with limited budgets. Instead of casting out a wide net into the 2 million websites in the Display Network, Managed Placements allows for a granular selection of websites. This can be a great way to start with a Display Network Campaign before jumping all the way in.
It is important to remember that Facebook and Google make a profit off of their online advertising. They provide numerous tools to help improve your advertising efforts and automate the process for efficiency, but at the end of the day, they are still making money off of your ad placements, so you better make sure you are too.