We’ve all experienced it; you engage with a display/video ad online (or a brands website) and for the remaining day/week/month, that same ad appears again and again. This re-targeted advertising usually delivers high performance as a direct response to consumers that have shown an interest in your brand.
Sequential messaging goes one step further, by allowing advertisers to follow a user’s navigation sequence and optimise the advert accordingly in real-time during the campaign. This creates an opportunity to target high quality leads and transform that initial user engagement into a transaction. Details
Sequential messaging works by using a variety of creatives to display several adverts for one campaign. Each ad could display a different text, image, background colour or call-to-action (CTA).
For example, a consumer that clicks on a generic car ad for a particular vehicle, (ad 1) is immediately identified as being interested in that nameplate. Instead of this same ad being served again, sequential messaging will tailor the ad’s text and image to that particular vehicle, with a CTA perhaps linking to a car configuration page (ad 2). Another ad could have a CTA linking to a test drive request page for that vehicle (ad 3). These ads are completely interchangeable based on the user’s continuing behaviour.
There are three main sequences in which this optimisation can be delivered during a campaign: 1. In a true sequence.
This will display ads 1, 2 and 3 to the user in a sequential order. For example, the first pool of viewers (that see ad 1) are next served with ad 2. The second pool (viewers of ads 1 and 2) are then served ad 3. The potential problem here is a huge volume of impressions have to be bought to achieve a quality volume of full sequences. 2. In no sequential order.
With this, a user may see ad 3 first, then ad 1, followed by ad 2. In this case impression delivery can be capped to ensure an ad is not being served more than the average limit. 3. In phased period’s.
This may run ad 1 for one week, ad 2 for the next and so on. This is more likely to achieve results because impression delivery can prioritise re-targeted users over brand new ones.
Adserving tools, such as smart versioning from MediaMind, allow you to create micro-targeted ads for different target audiences. Each user can be targeted with a unique, customised ad, according to their geography, demography or online behaviour. Smart versioning generates the ad versions for you and can re-target the users who have made an initial engagement. MediaMind looked at 6 billion impressions delivered over a range of campaigns and found that CTR jumped by 73%, as a result of smart versioning. Example
- To launch their K550i phone, Sony Ericsson asked its audience across 13 countries to upload photos of them preparing for extreme sports events, for the chance to win a trip around-the-world. The four-stage campaign used these images to make each display ad personally relevant to the entrant and in the correct language; all dependent on the stage they were at in the competition. In total, over 800 possible creative executions were rotated, which saw 140,906 total clicks and 56,309 re-targeted impressions being served in the final stage.
- Mercedes-Benz has also carried out similar campaigns, testing varying background and call-to-action button colours for their display ads. This caused an increase in the number of user’s that indicated buying intent.
Sequential messaging is a cost-effective option, because it focuses on targeting the right user with the right message. The crucial point is that this optimisation can be actioned while the campaign is still running.
It can be hard to measure its effectiveness though, particularly for true sequence ads, because it is not a direct response KPI. Instead, it is advisable to wait until the entire ad sequences have been served to accurately measure results. This would work best with longer running campaigns that can afford the time to properly run and track these combinations of creative.