They Clicked the Ad, Now What?

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By: Dr. David Bridwell, People Scientist 

Nielson recently released a report showing that one of the things we care about, “clicks”, has a low correlation with a lot of other things that we care about as marketers. They showed that social media clicks do not have a strong correlation with ad recall, brand awareness, or purchase intent. And what about sales? Well … the relationship between “clicks” and sales isn’t very strong either, according to the report. 

So, what’s going on? Well, it likely comes down to what’s on our minds. We’ve talked previously about how one of the major roles of advertising is to remind customers that your brand exists so that they’re slightly more likely to think of your product in buying situations. Do clicks make your customers more likely to think about your product? It seems that might not be the case. 

And there are many other reasons why clicks might not lead someone along on the path to purchase. Perhaps those who click are likely to purchase the product anyway? Perhaps emphasizing clicks as a goal on social media advertising causes your ads to target those who are more likely to engage on the platform at the expense of building brand for a larger audience? Setting “clicks” as a goal on social media will also likely end up targeting heavy social media users, missing out on light social media users who might also be the majority of light buyers of your product. 

At the end of the day, the metric that you want to track would, of course, be closely tied with your business objectives. We would measure the impact of sales instead of the impact of clicks. However, we know that the relationship between advertising and brand building and growth doesn’t necessarily lead to a clear trackable path to sales. Attribution isn’t always a possibility when you’ve built a large brand through years of sophisticated mass marketing. 

This is where we can take a moment to sit back and remember that our brand itself is an asset, and you need carefully thought out metrics for brand growth. Your brand perception should be measured and monitored just like those other metrics, like the net promoter score (NPS). 

When the brand is treated like a foundational asset, then we can begin to appreciate the important role advertising plays in making sure we stay top of mind with the message we want to send. We can ask whether our ads help maintain our reputation as the best product in our category. We can look at whether people perceive our product as intended, and that they understand how our product can improve their lives (or more likely, prevent negative experiences in their lives). 

But beyond what our audience thinks of your brand, it’s important to understand who your audience is and who it is not. Once you understand your audience size, you can set your objectives toward “reach” instead of “sales,” and you can now set the goal of reaching the largest percentage of the audience possible. We intuitively know that this is important, but making this an explicit goal in your organization and in your marketing helps make it a reality. You know what they say, “what gets measured, gets managed.”

Give us a call at 833-578-1314 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to discuss how we can help your brand be top-of-mind for customers.