The #1 Reason Paid Ads Fail

We are sharing a video that Moz released a couple of weeks ago titled “The #1 Reason Paid Ads (On Search, Social, and Display) Fail”.

Click the image below to watch the video:

The reason we think it's important is that it touches on something we have personally seen over, and over again.

It’s a cycle that repeats itself, leads to failed campaigns, ruined relationships, and can potentially cost people their jobs.

I would add to the video that the way I have seen this fail the most spectacularly is when people invest heavily in display (banner ads) expecting them to work a certain way.

People tend to think that users will see a banner ad, click on that banner ad, land on a website and make a purchase.

The banner ad reality is:

  • The average viewability (an industry term meaning the banner was actually visible on a webpage) is around 50%. Yes, only 50% of the banner ads that are paid for are actually seen by a human being.

  • The average CTR on a banner ad is 0.10%. That’s 10 people clicking out of 10,000 ads served.

  • Display ads whether purchased programmatically, or directly are heavily affected by bots. Bots effectively eat up the impressions that are being served - using up budget for no real return.

  • Display ads can show up on all kinds of low-quality websites unless you are diligent about excluding them.

A few ideas on what to do about it:

  • Make paid and organic search your marketing foundation (note that this doesn’t always apply… especially in extremely expensive and competitive areas).

  • Think about your marketing as more of of a journey than a single interaction. Setup your marketing efforts to be sustainable over the long-run and don’t ‘hail mary’ your marketing budget on unproven advertising strategies.

  • Add value for your audience to get their attention first, sell to them second.

  • Start small and test. Scale up on what’s working and stop what’s not working.

  • Use tracking and attribution tools as much as possible.

We hope you find this useful, as always please send us any questions or feedback that you have.