Optimizing ad delivery appears to drive far more product sales than random placement

Marketers can better drive sales by optimizing their ad messages to where consumers are on their purchasing journey, according to a new study out of Magna.

The study from Magna and IPG Media Lab suggests that just three optimized exposures to brand messaging can increase a consumer’s likeliness of buying any given product by 14% over the following six-month period.

It also found that successful optimization accounted for more product purchases by 8%, versus the 2% uptick driven by randomized ad delivery. The study was undertaken with a sample of two “leading brands” in the personal care space: one foundation makeup brand and one shampoo brand.

“The key to driving purchase is delivering content that feels relevant and provides useful information,” says Kara Manatt, senior VP of intelligence solutions at Magna.

That industry tidbit should come as no surprise to any marketer worth their salt, but where the difficulty in effectively reaching consumers lies, Manatt says, “is that what is relevant and useful varies from person to person depending on whether they’ve just started considering a purchase or whether they are ready to make a final brand choice.”

Repetition is another core pillar in creating an effective messaging strategy. While three optimized ad executions move consumers 14% closer to making a purchase—versus zero progress without optimizations—just upping the frequency to five impressions can accelerate that same positive purchasing behavior by 29%, the study shows.

Consumers who participated in the survey reported that they were able to feel the difference in creative execution methods as well, with optimized ads being received as more relevant, while simultaneously causing less annoyance.

“Audience needs and motivations change at each stage of the purchase journey so the content we create, whether for paid or owned channels, must be fluid enough to create flow,” says Jonathan Rigby, global chief strategy officer at Reprise Digital.

And for customers still on the fence, the study notes that after multiple optimized ad exposures, “switching to a ‘feel good’ ad,” rather than one that’s product-focused, can be a successful tactic.”

Read the article in AdAge
Read the press release 
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