There’s something we need to address. There’s a new saying floating around the space of digital advertising lately that has many marketers weighing in. The saying goes as follows: a click is only valuable if it converts.
While I see the underlying merit behind this idea, I can’t help but disagree with its implications. While a conversion does result in a direct return on investment for your ad click, that doesn’t make it the end all be all of a successful campaign.
Conversions are one value a click can produce. But a click holds such more value than simply resulting in an immediate customer action. Consider any business strategy in its early stages. Of course, sales is always the goal, but as a business owner is your first strategy to simply produce sales? No, you have to start with building a brand, creating an audience, generating interest, and designing a foundation to build on. Clicks can accomplish all that, and though their value may not be immediate, they are very necessary to a brand maintaining a steady rise in growth.
To be clear I understand not every conversion is measured in dollar values. The point I’m trying to make is there are many ad campaigns that can provide strategic value to a rising business without resulting in a measurable action. A click can still stand on its own as a signal of a successful campaign. That’s why today’s post is addressing this new trend and reminding marketers of all the ways an ad click still remains a vital value to any business even without the conversion.
This should be an early goal for all growing companies. Establishing your brand can be a huge goal for an ad campaign even in the later years of your company’s journey.
No stranger to bold branding, Liquid Death Mountain Water deploys this type of ad campaign regularly, and the success of these campaigns can be measured in both clicks and conversions. Take a look.
While this ad does include a “Shop now” CTA–a clear indicator of a conversion driven campaign–this campaign’s success isn’t dependent on purchases. Read the copy of the ad, check the description–at no point is the ad creating an urgency around buying merchandise. What this ad is trying to display is a personality. It’s trying to show you how bold and fun the brand is, a brand that I will remind you, primarily sells water–the least bold beverage imaginable.
Getting a click out of this ad means they achieved their goal. They portrayed their brand–and subsequently their merchandise–as something fun and cool, something viewers want to know more about. So even without a purchase, an ad like this has more than proven its value. Consider the other ads the brand deployed using this strategy and think what it means if those ads didn’t achieve a click. They would know which aspect of their brand stands out and grabs attention, and which aspects of their brand are drowned out in the noise.
One strategy marketers under utilize the most with their ad campaigns is building up authority. A huge value a click represents is the idea that you’re being heard and that viewers are taking notice. Making big statements to build up your standing as an industry leader is great for generating interest from new audiences.
Take this example brought to us from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. This ad doesn’t mention signing up, trusting us with your health, or any direct call to action other than a simple “Learn more” CTA. All this ad does is inform viewers of their standing as the top obstetrics and gynecology department in the nation.
This ad leaves it up entirely to the viewer if they want to try out the hospital’s service and that’s a decision that can be made today or year’s from now–a conversion they’ll never be able to track. But what a click in an ad campaign like this would signify is that now the viewer knows about their top ranking, and were interested enough in their highly praised services to learn more about the facility.
This type of awareness translates into the direct value of knowing how much of your audience is informed about the quality of your business. But awareness in ad campaigns can go beyond your business’s value.
Some businesses work well with a “Click here, buy now” strategy. But for many others, “buy now” isn’t an effective call out to potential customers. A lot of brands have to establish who they are, what they do, and even why they do it before new customers are willing to convert.
These types of brands have to build out longer marketing funnels to slowly build up to a profit driving conversion. To do this, they utilize ad campaigns that don’t directly aim to drive conversions but more so awareness, like the example below from Missouri Poison Center.
Can you remember the last time you called a poison center? I can’t. But an ad like this would go a long way in at least making me aware that a local poison center even exists. Just that bit of information alone can serve as a future conversion trigger for a customer in need of a service like this.
This strategy isn’t exclusive to the obscure. Nonprofit organizations and political campaigns heavily rely on this kind of strategy to keep a pipeline of interest alive. Tracking these kinds of campaigns purely through conversions would be downright deflating. But measuring how many viewers are taking notice of your brand’s goal is a great value a click can help you measure.
Being able to track how much of your audience is listening is a great value when it comes to social proof. Case studies, customer stories, and testimonials are high value content for any marketing team. Promoting this kind of content through an ad campaign is a very effective ad strategy for continuing to increase customer trust, brand authority, and bolstering the effectiveness of your marketing funnels.
The Farmer’s Dog demonstrates this value in the above example. Using real customer stories, they are showing viewers the validity of their product. This is an easy way to make a customer feel connected to your product and prove the solution you’re claiming is effective. Again, this ad does provide a measurable conversion goal by offering 50% off but just because a click doesn’t convert on this ad doesn’t mean all value is lost.
Someone interested enough in learning more about Pippa’s story is a sign that skepticism is fading and Farmer’s Dog is that much closer to acquiring a new customer. Not to mention that whenever this customer is ready to convert their dog’s diet to a new food choice they now know there’s a brand offering 50% off to first time customers.
Connection is another major value an ad click can help you measure. Communities don’t always need to be defined by newsletter sign ups or subscription increases. Sometimes just building engagement or providing a social element to your audience is all it takes to build the value of your community, increase customer loyalty, and bolster lifetime value.
While on the surface this Facebook Ad from Build-A-Bear looks like a product announcement, it actually focused more on the community aspect. The inclusion of the second line, asking viewers about their own collections, is a simple but effective way to get your community buzzing. The beauty of an ad like this is it even calls out a more niche community of Build-A-Bear customers, focusing on a collaboration with the Pokemon brand. This helps their expanding community feel heard and generate more interest from other Pokemon fans.
Facebook advertising is great for campaigns focused on social elements. While these ads may not generate conversions and return on ad spend, they do build engagement which improves your standing on the platform–a value a click alone can help you track.
Brand, authority, awareness, social proof, community building–all these elements help you towards a bigger goal, one that will remain a constant aspect of your brand’s success. Online presence can be defined by a multitude of factors but ultimately conversions aren’t necessary towards tracking that success.
Sometimes a click could just mean a new follower taking notice of your online presence. This Zoro ad displays how a strategy doesn’t need to result in a conversion but can simply be measured through new traffic.
This works for announcing new social media pages, email programs, website launches, and more. By using ad campaigns to attain the kind of goals displayed in examples 1-6 of this blog, you can track the success of not only scaling your online presence, but scaling your omnipresent marketing efforts.
Consider this last one a bonus as it’s where the lines begin to blur. Retargetting’s success is ultimately dependent on some form of conversion tracking, as it is a campaign typically deployed deeper into the buyer’s journey than others. But before retargeting can even execute its goal, you need to generate a click.
Airbnb is a great example of this. By generating interest through ad clicks, the travel brand can then translate that interest into strategic value. Knowing what a potential customer clicked on is helpful for revitalizing their unique buyer journey.
Maybe the initial ad this user saw was for a small studio in Ostuni. After clicking the ad and the user expanding their search to larger homes in the area, Airbnb was able to refine the ads targeted at the user to better convey their specific interests.
While the second half of that formula is reliant on conversion tracking the former represents the value of interest, a value only trackable through clicks.
The name of the game still remains conversions at the end of the day. But results can be measured in a multitude of ways as long as they align to the bigger picture. This isn’t to dissuade conversion focused advertising. Those strategies will remain a forever necessity for companies looking to sustain growth. But it’s important to remember the importance of interest and gathering new audiences to amplify those conversion goals down the line.
Where do you stand on the discussion? Feel free to share your thoughts with me on LinkedIn or reach out for a deeper discussion into the type of strategies I believe are helping companies accelerate their growth. Reach out here if you’re interested in meeting with me or any of my expert team to talk further.