Louie Beaupre, franchise industry executive and current Franchise Strategic Consultant at Parallel P...
Display advertising is one of the most effective ways to increase awareness for your franchise business online, and it should be an integral part of your digital marketing strategy. It is an inexpensive way for franchise brands to reach their audience at scale. And like traditional outbound advertising such as tv or radio ads, display advertising is an excellent method for building awareness which benefits other channels such as SEO and PPC.
What is display advertising?
Before we jump into franchise-specific best practices for display ads, let’s take a look at what display advertising is. We have all encountered display ads - banner, video and text ads - on our favorite websites. And these ads are typically related to the site’s content. For instance, a sports website will feature display ads that appeal to the sports enthusiast. Display ads that are relevant to the content of a particular page will typically provide the best results. Using the sports website example, an effective display campaign will result in baseball-themed display ads showing up on a page with baseball-related content.
How do those ads get on those sites? Site owners allocate space on their pages for display advertising, and it is filled by advertisers using a wide variety of intermmediaries, the most notable being Google Display Network. Do an online search ‘display advertising’ and you will begin to see the sheer number of options that are out there.
Advances in display advertising
Display allows you to be hyper-targeted in your display media buying strategy, and some of the most exciting advances in digital advertising technology have been in display:
- Geo Fencing - Targeting a specific geography, such as state, city and even specific franchisee locations within 100 feet!
- Purchase Behavior Targeting - Target users based on their prior purchases - both what they purchased and where they made the purchase
- Online Behavior Targeting - Target users who have visited your website; serve different ads based on the pages they visited
- Direct Mail List Targeting - Target the homes and businesses on your internal mailing list
- IP Address Targeting - Target specific user devices within geo-targeted areas
- First Party and Look-alike Audience Building - Target members of your internal marketing database and expand your reach to other people who share demographics and interests with your customers and prospects
- Third Party Data Audience Building - Aggregating audiences based on demographic, behavior or relevance to your product or service
Don’t worry about becoming an expert in these display ad technologies, either! Right now, just know that these types of ads are great for increasing brand awareness at scale, and powering your downstream marketing efforts.
How to get the most out of display advertising
Now, let’s dive into exactly how your franchise business can win at display advertising. You absolutely must:
- Be creative. There aren’t any shortcuts here — creative ads are memorable and will ultimately attract more customers to your franchise. And design according to the demographics and aspirations of your target audience in order to make a meaningful connection that inspires action.
- Design with mobile in mind. Nowadays, people regularly use their smartphones and other mobile devices to browse the Internet. You want to deliver relevant marketing content, and mobile-friendly ad design is a great starting point.
- Create relevant landing pages. When someone clicks on your ad, where will the link lead? Create landing pages that are relevant to the ad’s content and link to those, not a generic homepage for the entire franchise.
- Get local. Digital marketing’s efficacy is linked to the ability to personalize content based on demographic markers, like location. Take advantage of this by creating franchisee ads that target people who are in a certain city or region.
- Keep ad copy short and sweet. A display ad should intrigue the reader and make them want to learn more, not overwhelm them with text. You can use landing pages for longer explanations and more detail.
- Use the power of remarketing. Remarketing involves serving ads to people who have already visited your website, but have not converted. These ads typically have higher click-through rates because the visitor is already interested in your brand.
- Track, test, and analyze. If you want to get the greatest ROI on your marketing investments (and of course you do), tracking data, testing different ad components, and analyzing the results is non-negotiable.
- Be Centralized. Centralizing your display advertising efforts at the Fanchisor level allows for maximum control of brand, media allocation and data gathering.
If this all sounds like a lot to master, remember that help is available. There are a variety of digital marketing agencies that can help your franchise develop a successful display advertising campaign — try scheduling initial consultations to find an agency you can trust to deliver results.
Understanding the limitations of display advertising
When assessing your franchise’s display advertising strategy, it’s important to know what display does and doesn’t accomplish:
Display does not drive direct sales in the same way that paid search initiatives do. Display does work as an awareness building tactic. It boosts the efficacy of other channels, such as SEO, paid search, and others.
Display advertising doesn’t necessarily show up in direct revenue, but if you’re familiar with the customer journey in your business, you can see that display drives a substantial amount of awareness. If you aren’t familiar with the journey your customers take while en route to making a purchase, that information is worth discovering.
That’s because the digital marketing strategies that you might use are nearly irrelevant without an understanding of the customer’s journey. We often talk about the usefulness of knowing how people are searching at the local, state, and national levels — you can use that information to create marketing initiatives that meet the needs of the customer, no matter where they are in your sales funnel.