Let’s be honest; the personal resolutions you made for 2018 are dead. The gym is a whole thing, drinking more water is pretty much impossible, and giving up your weekly pizza night is just not going to happen. Face it, it’s already March, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some improvements. Let’s stay away from personal goals and focus on some more attainable, instantly gratifying professional goals.
As the world of marketing shifts more and more to online (is there any other kind of marketing at this point?), those responsible for creating and managing online ads need to step up their game—not only to stay relevant, but to be better people.
Algorithm shifts on huge platforms like Facebook and Google increasingly prioritize content that is value-driven for the consumer. Spammy messaging is finally being edged out. Customers are coming to expect honest, authentic and helpful content everywhere—including in advertising. In a world where disingenuous messaging puts your entire campaign and brand at risk, enter “empathetic marketing.”
We’re calling on all marketers to commit to making the internet a slightly better (and less annoying) place to be by aiming to market to customers with the customers’ well-being in mind.
The following article will lay out some of the best ways marketers can reach their audiences while still respecting users’ right to a cleaner online environment. Anyway, resolving to stay away from creating “bad ads” will result in happier and more responsive customers as well as leave you marketers feeling more successful and content with their work.
Stop Overusing Advertising Psychology to Manipulate Your Customers
The use of psychology to give consumers what they want can be a good thing, but ad psych can also go too far.
When an ad intentionally manipulates its audience in order to sell more product, advertisers are overstepping and breaking consumers’ trust. It would be impossible to try and go back to using no psychological information at all—we’re not sure it’s possible NOT to have psychology be a factor in advertising. Advertising psychology is here to stay, but there are a few ways advertisers can remain on the consumers’ good side and still market their products.
Don’t try to change the consumers perceptions with overly-emotional wording or phrasing. A startling 41.6% of advertising language is aggressive. Consumers are tired of being told what to think. Avoid “re-programming” in marketing; let the information be organic and honest.
Don’t rely completely on aggressive colors and design tricks. Your message and values are way more important than simply grabbing attention. Make sure that your design reflects your values and intent.
Don’t use fear as a selling tactic. Creating a sense of urgency may seem like a great way to up your sales. However, when consumers feel panicked that they may lose out on something, there is a greater chance they will have buyer’s remorse and, consequently, a less favorable view of the company they purchased from.
Stop Relying on Cliché, Aggressive Ads
In an attempt to compete with what is known as “banner blindness”—the tendency for consumers to stop actually seeing ad—marketing teams have turned to increasingly aggressive advertising.
Cliché ads are easy to spot. In order to make ads more noticeable, advertisers rely on brighter, bolder colors. The use of red, yellow, and orange cause consumers to feel a sense of urgency, movement, passion, and energy. While these feelings aren’t all bad, according to StopAd research, more than 46.4% of aggressive ads use these colors to stimulate our nervous system and activate the part of our brain that is impulsive. When a significant proportion of ads are colored this way, it creates a less inviting environment; one that is more irritating and disruptive. Instead, marketers should be investing in engaging content to grab their audience’s attention.
Another sign of a cliché ad is, as we mentioned earlier, the use of fear to create urgency, encouraging consumers to “buy now.” More than 18% of aggressive ads use language of urgency. It’s best to just stay away from this form of advertising, out of respect for consumers and to prevent buyer fatigue.
Learn to use Native Ads—Beautifully
Native ads are fast becoming one of the most popular marketing trends on the internet, and doing it right is an art form.
Native advertising is the attempt to create ads that are natural and don’t feel sponsored or like they have a hidden agenda. In fact, when done well, this type of advertising doesn’t feel like advertising at all. Consumers simply sense they are getting relevant information about something they are already interested in.
The wonderful thing about this type of marketing is that is can fit into any environment, making a web page more inviting and comfortable, encouraging the consumer to spend more time there. There is literally no longer a need to trick customers into clicking on something only because they were duped into thinking they needed to. Native ads are the way of the future.
Double Down on Influencer Marketing
This is another important marketing trend that is likely to stick around. Influencer marketing is all about connecting with influential figures in a given space to impact a larger target audience. This form of marketing is effective because those thought-leaders have already gained the trust of their followers, so the advertiser doesn’t have to spend additional time or money creating that trust between their brand and the consumer.
Influencer marketing is the perfect blend of testimonial and word-of-mouth marketing. You get the leverage of a leading thought-leader and the trust of a friend.
Marketers should be leaning into this form of advertising not only because the cost is up to 77% lower for conversion, but also because there have been increasing regulations put in place to improve the credibility and transparency of such marketing. Plus, using an already trusted figure to back your product means consumers are less likely to be annoyed by a typical marketing pitch.
Familiarize Yourself with the Basics of GDPR
Beginning in May 2018, the EU is implementing what is known as the General Data Protection Regulation. It is a series of regulations put in place in order to help EU citizens keep better control of their personal data.
These regulations will apply to all companies that store, process, or use data belonging to EU citizens even if the company operates outside of the EU. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these regulations so that you are sure you’re honoring consumer rights as well as ensuring you’re not putting yourself or your company in legal hot water.
It goes without saying that ad tech and security go hand in hand. It’s worthwhile for marketers to stay abreast of continuing trends in online security.
Don’t be Creepy
This one should be obvious for the empathetic marketer, but it still gets overlooked: Too much ad targeting can be off-putting and unnerving.
The last thing you want to do as an advertiser is creep out your consumers by being too in-their-face and knowing too much about them. Thanks to third-party cookies, advertisers have been able to mesh all consumer activities from all devices into some pretty informed (read: “disturbingly knowledgeable”) advertisements.
How to fix it? Just put yourself in the consumer’s seat.
For example, imagine you go to a new site on your phone, read some articles about a new technology coming out in 2018. Maybe you share one piece with your friends on social media. A few hours later, you’re on your computer browsing Facebook, and there’s nothing but smart watch advertisements and marketing about the newest bluetooth speaker. It feels like you’re being followed.
Our online world is changing rapidly. Some would say it’s developing even faster than an average person can keep up. One trend has remained steadfast throughout the tumult—putting people first. While it is still possible to take advantage of loopholes and gaps in various algorithms that abuse potential customers by gaming the system. Time and time again we’ve seen severe setbacks when those loopholes close. Now, more than ever, it’s critical for marketers to take the long-road approach—empathetic marketing that genuinely adds value to users internet experience.