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Ad formats an eCommerce brand should abandon in 2022

by Arthur Zuckerman

Ecommerce ads differ from product or service ads in one significant way: while the ads that promote a product focus on it specifically and individually, ecommerce ads are aimed at promoting a brand as a whole. It’s only logical that the types of advertisements should be different, too, and the approach to promoting an ecommerce brand has to be built in its own special way. 

Still, some brands and marketers who grew used to older traditional ad formats and strategies use regular ways of promotion they got familiar with a long time ago. Their experience tells them the good old ways work, and it’s true, but only for good old products and clients. Ecommerce is developing fast – just as all the digital world does. And so is marketing

Here are the three primary ad types that are outdated, waste marketing budgets, and don’t really work for ecommerce brands and the one that actually does work and brings profit.

Repetitive ads used for every channel

The same ad video or picture used over and over again for a long period of time doesn’t do right for an ecommerce brand – and, actually, to any brand that goes online. Earlier, brands only had to make one video for TV and a banner to use on billboards, and that was quite enough. It doesn’t work online: the more times a user sees the same ads, the more irritated they get and the stronger their banner blindness grows. The efficiency decreases, the budget gets wasted, fewer customers are attracted and made loyal to the brand. There is a way out of such a situation: for example, you choose to advertise with banners, so be creative, test more visual and textual solutions.

Moreover, TV didn’t really demand you be creative multiple times for the same one campaign. You could send the only video to all the channels you chose. Now, one has to adapt ads for each channel. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google Ads, etc. – all the platforms have their own specifics and even special advertisement requirements.  

Ads that force switch attention

We all know that in, say, fifteen minutes after our favorite soap opera starts on TV, there will be a break and we will see some ads. When we use some online services, websites, social media platforms, we don’t really expect to be interrupted. We have a choice and we choose to stay focused on what we were searching for, on the content we really want to consume. Unlike television viewers of the last century who actually had no choice but to tolerate ads and watch them too (or listen to them in the case of radio listeners). 

A vivid example of the ads that compel users to switch attention is the audio ads that are common for video services. Here, a user watches a film or series and gets deeply engaged in the story, and then, in the middle of some dramatic scene, they hear a loud CTA suggesting to use a particular service. The mood is totally ruined, and yes, the user will definitely remember the name of the brand advertised. But this won’t make them loyal, it’s vice versa, the brand will be connected with unpleasant emotions and experience. Therefore, such ads form a negative opinion about the brand. Same goes for the ads that interrupt YouTube videos in the middle and in the most interesting moment.

Making ads more unobtrusive and native is the solution in this case. Online users value delicacy over aggressiveness in advertising.

Ads aimed at everyone

You want more people to learn about your awesome ecommerce brand – and this is a completely natural desire. Ideally, everyone should know and love the brand. But if you make carpet bombing out of your marketing campaign, it won’t do your brand justice. 

Web gives brands and marketers all the opportunities to differentiate audiences, select relevant ones, and target the ads on the relevant users only. It’s not only a question of making the user acquisition price lower and rising ROI, it’s also about making the online space comfortable for users – and they pay with their brand loyalty for such care. 

Mistargeted ads squander marketing budgets. And when a brand launches ads for everyone, those who are far from the real target audience and will actually never take an interest in the brand’s activity only get angry or at least feel uncomfortable. This is one of the reasons why different platforms attempt to learn as much as possible about its users – to make the space more customized and convenient for them using different tools, including customized targeted ads.

This point, as well as the previous one, actually shows that people don’t perceive and embrace information when they are not ready to do it and even more – are concentrated on some particular content they chose to see/hear.

According to the Quartz Global Executives Study, ads starting when the user hasn’t opted in to see anything like that are those that are ineffective. At the same time, the creatives for the ad videos can be brilliant and work excellent when played other times in other circumstances.

The advice here is – know your target audience and be native.

Influencer marketing – the old, the new, the effective

So, now you know what’s outdated and shouldn’t be used in a modern marketing campaign. But what should be? There are several ad formats that were invented or reinvented during our digital age, and one of them is almost universal. Influencer marketing gives a brand more opportunities and tools that it may seem from the first sight. It’s not only about using well-known faces, it’s about creativity and audiences’ trust.

Ads that include some influential faces are actually not that new. Famous actors, singers, athletes, and even politicians have always taken part in product promotion. Now, the range of influencers is much wider, and ecommerce brands are welcome to take advantage of it.

Influencers are also creators who have loyal followers who, when reached out delicately and wisely, become your brand’s loyal clients. To run an efficient influencer marketing campaign, one has to take into account all the advice given above: research the target audience, make ads native, and create and adapt ads for different platforms. The last two tasks are for the influencers themselves when they get engaged in an advertising campaign. 

Of course, choosing the right influencer can seem a bit challenging from the first sight, but specifically tailored influencer marketing platforms can help you search for perfectly aligned content creators in just a few clicks, check their analytics on the go and ensure their authenticity. 

Once the influencer campaign is over, you can still get the maximum out of this collaboration. Instead of running paid campaigns with your traditional or staged creatives, you can try to use the part of video or other creatives prepared by the influencer that is already engaged in your campaign. When your target audience sees not just an ad, but a recommendation from someone they trust and relate to, the average view time and CTR increases, while cost per acquisition is falling down. This is a great way to maximize the outcome from working with content creators and influencers that may soon become a standard in marketing.

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