There’s no shortage of proof that customers want personalization. And so, advertisers strive to provide it.
But along the way, many have realized there’s a problem with the way we approach personalization. Unfortunately, even bigger problems come when they try to solve it.
Where and why personalization fails in the ad campaign
Ask advertisers about personalization technology and most will call it highly advanced. They’ll point to the shockingly powerful targeting of ad networks, or beacon-enabled geographic messaging in real-time, or chatbots that work as well as agents.
And they’re right. The tools available to target and reach customers are more advanced than ever. But they’re limited in one very crucial way.
They don’t extend beyond the personalization of an advertisement. They can narrowly target an audience and get your message out in a variety of formats, but this is only one half of the ad campaign, known as the pre-click experience. Outside of very specific features like retargeting, conversion tracking, and dynamic text replacement, none of these tools extend to the landing page.
For the user, the result is a breakdown of meaningful personalization.
People targeted on ad networks with highly relevant content will click to find a generic message on the corresponding landing page. This part of the campaign, known as the post-click landing page, has dedicated solutions that assist in its improvement (like A/B testing software, CMS solutions). Still, none address the need for scaled personalization. This leaves advertisers at a major disadvantage.
How advertisers try to personalize the post-click landing page
Without the proper tools, how do advertisers sufficiently personalize the post-click stage to provide a seamless transition from the pre-click stage? How do they offer relevance on the landing page and beyond?
The short answer is, they don’t. They try, but they’re largely unsuccessful. And even if they believe they get post-click personalization right, a comparison of techniques between the ad and the landing page will reveal a different standard of success.
Targeting an ad to audiences with different buying habits would be considered a sin of digital advertising. Yet, this tactic is acceptable on the post-click landing page.
It’s not uncommon for advertisers to drive multiple audiences to the same landing page, or worse, all audiences to one landing page or even the homepage of a website. But if you wouldn’t accept it in the pre-click stage, you shouldn’t accept it in the post-click stage.
Unfortunately, most advertisers do accept a different standard of personalization beyond the ad — and not always because they have to. Some don’t know that a solution exists to personalize the entire campaign, so they make the following mistakes:
- They use a builder: While builders have become highly intuitive, they struggle to provide the customization that creators need to ensure effective message match and personalization. They also do not come with the capabilities that designers need to create hundreds of landing pages quickly for all their different audiences.
- They rely on templates: Templates make designing a page easy, but they’re not effective for scaling. Think, for example, of how many advertisements you’ll create for a single campaign with multiple audiences. You’ll need the same number of personalized landing pages for that campaign. And when you’re creating new campaigns daily, it’s easy to see that templates, no matter how customizable, cannot be easily created at high volume.
These are both two common mistakes that businesses make when trying to scale post-click personalization. The third, however, is by far the most costly.
They use developers to create pages from scratch
Where the first two mistakes will cost your business a chunk of its budget and ROI, they won’t drain resources like this one will. Making your developers create your post-click pages from scratch can be very costly. Here’s why:
1. You’ll struggle to meet campaign deadlines
Developers’ skills can’t be treated as a catch-all for every project that involves code. If developers’ priority is your product and processes, then landing page creation will suffer. And, understandably, it does. But when campaigns are time-sensitive, this can create problems with deadlines, budgets, and ROI. Amanda Tessier, Marketing Campaigns Manager at Postclick, elaborates:
Devs often have more important projects than advertising LPs to work on. When new priorities come into the fold, advertisers’ campaigns can get delayed. post-click automation technology is one way to take this into marketing’s swim lane and out of the developers’, meaning marketers have more control and oversight into the launch dates of these assets.
Back when I managed websites, I often brought in an outside firm to do the design or the front end web development. If we did the project 100% in-house, I could only give an estimate of the timeline because of X, Y, and Z projects that might impact it. Paying $Xk meant I could give the client a firm launch date plan.
If you want to build pages from scratch, you’ll need developers dedicated to creating and maintaining them. If you don’t have a team like that or the budget for it, and you simply “ship to devs” for page creation, don’t be surprised when they get pulled away for something more important, and you miss a deadline for a time-sensitive campaign launch.
2. Job satisfaction will plummet
1:1 personalization from the pre-click stage through the post-click requires a high volume of pages frequently. The front-end work of designing them — brainstorming, concepting, wireframing, writing, etc. — is completed by the creative team with little input from the developer.
Instead, the developer is expected to wait for the finished design, then bring it to life with their knowledge of code. The problem with this, says Steve Brancale, VP Sales at Postclick, is that this is not something a developer enjoys:
Devs want to be building great products, not building landing pages. They hate that. It’s not just building pages, it’s maintaining and iterating on them, so it’s an ongoing process that will continually take up their time, pulling them off projects in a different direction, etc.
Considering the number of landing pages needed to create 1:1 personalization, Steve’s right. Constant creation and updates could easily monopolize developers’ time. Developers crave more meaningful projects. They want to do more than carry out orders from landing page designers.
3. The monetary cost is too high
A good developer does not come cheap. When you find one, you want to use them to their potential. They should be building, testing, editing important processes that make your business profitable. That’s what you pay them for. Anything less is a waste — which is why if you hire a good developer and make them create landing pages for designers nonstop, you’re not getting your money’s worth. It’s like paying top-dollar for a sales copywriter and making them write Tweets for an account with four followers. If someone else can do it (they can), they should.
The only way is PCA
Remember: While advertisers will accept a different level of personalization for the landing page, the user will not. A seamlessly personalized campaign is a must. Providing it requires a tool that offers the customization of building from scratch without the strain on developers. The only solution capable is post-click automation technology.
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