Customer Preferences in Online Advertising
by: Karon Thackston
Part 1 of 3
Online consumers have given some very explicit information regarding their
preferences when it comes to advertising. According to research
conducted by Jupiter (),
a worldwide authority on Internet commerce, there are several things
online business people need to be aware of in order to increase their
created this three-part series of articles as a commentary relating to
the results of Jupiter's study entitled, "Inside the Mind of the Online
Consumer." It will help you understand what the information means to
you. Taking heed to the recommendations Jupiter reveals will most
certainly improve your advertising response rate.
Use the Internet for Information
(48) percent of consumers online use the Internet primarily as a utility
device, not an entertainment device. This means they are using the
Internet as a tool, not a toy. Because of that fact, consumers are
primarily looking for information, not games. This is not a new
revelation. However, how this fact relates to advertising is new.
Want Information-Based Ads
the customers in Jupiter's survey, they respond to advertising that
compliments their online activities. Forty (40) percent said they
respond more readily to online ads that are informative rather than
entertaining. This would include new product developments,
benefits-oriented ads and those focusing on service issues.
one of the categories listed is "product benefits." This is where the
majority of online advertisers fall to pieces. It is simply imperative
that online advertising copy be filled with benefits. Online consumers
are looking to answer the question, "What's in it for me" over and over
again. They are seeking information and the advertising you give them
should fill that need.
Build An Information-Oriented Ad
So now that
we've learned that customers are ready and waiting for us to provide
them with information-based advertising… how do we do it? Does that
automatically mean you have to go with long copy? No, not at all.
Jupiter, "Advertisers that are marketing high-consideration products,
which require a more informed purchase process, should focus more
exclusively on consumers' online information needs. Advertisers that are
marketing low-consideration products - for which consumers require
little information in order to complete a purchase - have more leeway to
take a less informative and more entertaining approach to their
It's just as
I've stated for years. Let your target market lead your decision to use
long or short copy. Those seeking information on affiliate programs, MLM
programs, high-investment products or services, etc. are going to be
seeking more information than someone in search of a new bathrobe. For
more detail in this area, visit
some suggestions you can use to help build a successful information-type
statistics - When you make a sales claim, back it up with
information, including statistics. You might say, "Our saucepans have
a non-stick coating that's guaranteed for life. In actual, in-home
testing, food did not stick to our saucepans 98.3% of the time."
targeted benefits - You must include targeted benefits to make
your message hit its mark. Let's take the saucepan example a bit
further. "Our saucepans have a non-stick coating that's guaranteed for
life. In actual, in-home testing, food did not stick to our saucepans
98.3% of the time. You get omelets that come out of the pan whole. You
get sautéed chicken that makes a beautiful presentation on the plate.
You get less waste, less burnt food and more healthy cooking because
you use no oil." Now those are benefits any chef would think are
content on your site that backs up your claims - As you surf the
Web take note of information that supports your advertising claims.
Surveys, research, reports, testimonials, etc. can all provide
valuable information that could move a customer from the
point-of-decision to the point-of-purchase.
articles - Customers looking for information are much more likely
to respond to a URL listed in an article than a bold-faced
advertisement. Because articles provide information in a
non-threatening way, they work along the same level as endorsements
and referrals. Write articles relating to your area of expertise and
submit them to article archive sites and Ezine publishers.
free report - Give away information free with a purchase or
subscription to your newsletter. Since information is what surfers are
looking to receive, it will work as a big incentive.
>Next in the
series will be a focus on ads that are avoided and shunned by online
customers . . . and how to be sure yours isn't one of them!
Part 2 of 3
In part one
of this series, we discussed the fact that studies show information
leads over entertainment. We discovered that Web site visitors are
primarily looking for information, and therefore, ads should be more
of the three discoveries in the Jupiter Communications ()
survey that I will comment on is the discovery that some online
advertising is seen as an extreme annoyance. Let's be sure your ads
aren't included in that group.
No one likes to be bombarded with advertising. We all see it everywhere
we go. It's on television, the radio, billboards, and even grocery story
carts for goodness sake. However, online advertising is viewed as the
found that 49% of those surveyed said online advertising was the most
intrusive of all. Many were willing to tolerate ads in broadcast or
print media, probably due to the fact that they could leave the room,
change the station or turn the page. However, online ads hold an
extremely negative reputation.
experience, this is most likely due to the fact that online ads often
have a "used car dealer" air to them. I have seen many that look like
they're all produced from the same template.
promise the sun, the moon and the stars. They scream about why you
simply must buy the product or service. Then, to make it worse, the site
captures your email address and you receive hundreds of email
advertisements via an autoresponder that apparently has no end.
The worst offender is pop-up ads. These are the advertisements that pop
onto the screen as you click through a Web site. They advertise specials
or offer subscriptions to Ezines, etc. Once thought to be a tremendous
sales tool, these ads have become increasingly offensive.
percent (69%) of those in the Jupiter survey viewed pop-up ads
negatively. Almost 25% found them so annoying they would completely
avoid sites that used them. That's a powerful statistic. Can you afford
to have 25% of your Web site traffic never return simply because you
employ pop-up ads?
Can Do To Make It Better
So, now that we know what our site visitors hate, how can we adjust our
advertising in order to please them (and make them buy)?
some recommendations to consider when creating your next piece of
do "anything and everything" to get the buyer's attention. Everyone
that comes to your site isn't going to buy. The harder you try to get
their attention and force them to read your ad, the harder they will
try to escape.
Remember from Part 1 in this series, site visitors are looking for
information primarily. Include your ad along with other, useful
information. Perhaps you might try offering a free report or article
that provides information the visitor can use. At the bottom, insert
an advertisement for a product or service you offer that can help them
use pop-up ads.
your target audience in mind. Business people aren't going to have the
time or inclination to participate in game-type ads. On the other
hand, teenagers love them. If your target group is younger people,
games might be the thing for you. Design your ad to meet the
preferences of your target customer.
suggestions will help your ads be more readily received - instead of
avoided at all costs!
In Part 3,
the final article in this series, we'll look at the behavioral aspect of
online advertising and discover what characteristics and traits should
be kept in mind.
Part 3 of 3
In part two
of this series, we discussed the annoyance factor of online ads and how
to overcome them. In this last article, I'll tell you how to use
behavioral traits to direct advertising efforts rather than
I am a
strong proponent of defining your target audience. If you don't know who
you are communicating with, how will you be able to do it effectively?
Jupiter Communications' (www.jup.com)
survey backs up my claims.
Difference Does Behaviorism Make?
I'm sure almost everyone has heard the phrase features vs. benefits. The
entire premise behind this statement is that you must tell the audience
what's in it for them. How, if you don't know their concerns, their
hopes and their needs, are you going to define benefits that will make a
difference to your target customer?
difference between demographics and behaviorism is that one tells you
the basics and the other tells you the details. Demographics let you
know that your customer is a man employed in upper management who is 45
years old, has 2 children and makes approximately $50,000 per year.
tells you that, because he's a man, he is compelled by information-type
ads. (If he were a she, she would most likely respond to animation or
sound.) It also tells you that he's burned out on corporate politics,
having a mid-life crisis, can't being to think of how he's going to pay
for college for two kids and is in bad need of a raise! Now… which
profile do you think you could communicate more effectively with? The
demographic or the behavior? (It's a rhetorical question!)
Everything About Your Advertising
People hear the phrase "target marketing" and "target audience" all the
time. But do you understand how extremely important those phrases are to
the success of your marketing campaign? You simply must, MUST know your
communicate with them through advertising, you absolutely have to be
able to address their fears, their problems and their concerns with a
solution. They want to know what's in it for them. If you don't
understand what they need, you simply can't answer that question.
advertising increases sales!
create an advertising piece, especially online, every aspect should
reach out and grab your target customer. This means the copy
(especially), the design, the colors, the photos, the graphics, the
packaging (if applicable), the ordering process… absolutely everything.
Segmenting Your Broad Market
One trouble that often plaques businesses is the fact that their target
audience is so broad. If that is the case with your company, try
segmenting the market and appealing to each segment's behavioral traits.
perhaps you're a real estate agent. You need a Web site and want to
appeal to several segments of the Real Estate market. What can you do to
incorporate the behavioral traits and other preferences of so many
site into smaller areas specifically targeted to each segment. You might
choose to have a link on your home page that says "Need to sell your
home? Click here!" In that section you can speak specifically to the
needs and concerns of home sellers. (Who are usually women!)
might be directed toward home buyers. These people want lots and lots of
information, including pictures. Be sure to give it to them along with
some articles dealing with hiring a moving company, transferring your
utilities to a new address and how to prepare children for a new school.
Get it? Major decisions require lots of information.
Focused On the Customer
Above all, keep focused on your customers and their needs. Resist the
temptation to use your favorite shade of pink as a primary color in your
Web design if your customers are mostly men. Remember that you can
choose to include an optional flash presentation within your site if
you're dealing mostly with women. And always, always address your target
market's concerns and needs with benefit-oriented copy.
the information within the three parts of this series, you can truly
make your online advertising more powerful… and more readily received by
initial survey (about which I have written this commentary) was
conducted by Jupiter (), a
worldwide authority on Internet commerce.
Most buying decisions
are emotional. Your ad copy should be, too! Karon is President & CEO of
Marketing Words, Inc. who offers targeted copywriting, search engine
copywriting, and ezine article writing. Subscribe to Karon's free ezine
at http://www.marketingwords.com/ezine.html or visit her site at http://www.marketingwords.com.
You can also learn to write you own powerful copy at http://www.copywritingcourse.com.
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