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The ongoing fight to stay relevant has become almost a cliché on the constantly changing digital front. However, according to a recent Merkle study, “Some 59% of consumers say relevancy is the top reason that an ad catches their eye, and 39% have made a purchase after being exposed to a relevant ad.”
Even above eye-catching, for creative advertisements, relevance leads the pack. With this information, how does your brand pivot to new platforms, new faces and new technologies—all while clinging to your roots through the whole wild ride?
Depending on the platform, relevance is defined by a few metrics. For Facebook’s relevance score, an ad’s rank includes:
• Quality ranking: An ad’s perceived quality compared with ads competing for the same audience.
• Engagement rate ranking: Your ad’s expected engagement rate compared with ads competing for the same audience.
• Conversion rate ranking: Your ad’s expected conversion rate compared with ads with the same optimization goal that competed for the same audience.
Google’s quality score, however, judges ads based on keywords, landing page experience, ad relevance and expected click-through rate. These scores don’t just provide marketers with an explanation for consumer behavior; they also predict overall performance in ad auctions. Truly relevant search results ease customers with more appealing deliveries while providing an advertising advantage to brands.
Earlier this month, Gartner also reinforced a need to keep content pertinent in “Relevance is the New Currency,” focusing on how tailored product recommendations across site navigation can improve sales and search results. This is one of several practices brands must institute in the new year to ensure content meets consumers where they’re at and delivers a product best suited for a sale. Here are three practices your brand can instill to stay relevant in 2020:
Make Representative Claims
This is the most straightforward interpretation of relevance: Does your brand/product do what your ads claim it does? As seasoned marketers, we should be well past promoting over-the-top, unsubstantiated claims. With this generation of hyper-aware, apprehensive consumers, brands are sure to be called out for overpromising and underselling.
Ensure your message truly reflects your products/services while appealing to your target audience. You don’t have to throw away your marketing or shiny claims; just be sure that you can deliver on your promises to audiences when they arrive on your landing page. (Think about it: Without a sale or with a return, what’s the point of a big claim?)
I love an example I recently read in a company’s blog post of a shoe store, advertising “dress shoes for any occasion,” despite having collections of sneakers and only a small corner display of dress shoes. The point is that you should promote what you have, not what will draw eyes. Use your niche to your advantage, and promote your products that the target audience wants.
Plus, boast your credentials! If you are that sneaker shop, make your claim with pride and enthusiasm. Sure, shoppers looking for dress shoes may pass you over, but you’ll see more substantial returns from the customers who you gave exactly what they were looking for.
Design Intuitive Navigation
The work doesn’t stop at your copy. Once a claim attracts consumers, they need to be able to find the product they’re looking for. The effects of web design are huge on sales, and harnessing them is vital for relevance. The construction and organization of your site create a user experience that defines your customer’s relationship to the brand and willingness to buy your product.
To improve this experience, divide your online content by intended audience and categories. It’s a common but effective practice: Segmenting products by demographic or collections makes it easier for consumers to find their intended item as well as similar add-ons. The more specific a category, the better directions you offer to customers.
Also, be specific in your ad’s landing page location, written content and products you deliver through ads. Being intentional with these factors contributes to a higher relevance score and can help secure customers in the limited time it takes to determine whether or not your site meets their needs.
Session-Based Basket Builders
Finally, just as Gartner suggests, using “Recently Viewed” and “Suggestions” carousels on your site keep the user experience relevant, even after they engage with your ad. By using implicit data gathered through web engagement (i.e., which products and categories they are drawn to), your site should recommend like items that ensure they make a purchase (and possibly, a much larger one than anticipated).
These features are also beneficial based on their gathering of information from customers who don’t have accounts, while respecting privacy practices (versus explicit data that requires a user’s active input). Implicit data allows for new customer acquisition and a more relevant search for anyone who finds your brand, whether they’re a newcomer or a frequent buyer.
The trick, according to Gartner, is placing these carousels in more locations on your site for “maximum relevance throughout a journey.” While most brands upsell on product pages and at checkout, Gartner recommends crafting a more integrated digital experience. Consider developing a carousel that follows customers as they navigate or lives on when customers exit and return. You could even consider pairing a carousel with video/blog content users are engaging with.
Building On Basics
Staying relevant starts with knowing your audience and their needs. With that foundation, brands can offer products most effectively—no misleading statements, no confusing site navigation and no skipping on the potential of previously viewed products. For consumers, a brand that delivers the wrong product or fails to deliver at all is like a friend who doesn’t actually listen. Show your audience that you’re in the know, and provide the best option with products and services brought straight to the forefront.
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