Stop the Waste! How to Get the RIGHT People to Convert on Your Targeted Ads

Targeting and Personalization


Think fast! Which funnel stage gets the majority of a marketing budget?

If you answered the top and the middle—congrats, you’ve passed today’s marketing pop quiz! According to CustomShow, 97% of a company’s marketing budget is spent on the top and middle-of-the-funnel—which is where online ad campaigns play a key role.

Shifting Weight Towards the Top-of-the-Funnel

Although most marketing spend is invested in generating brand awareness at the top stages of the funnel, the bulk of the optimization occurs at the bottom-of-the-funnel, in an effort to convert leads into customers after they identify themselves.

Rather than create targeted and personalized ads that can bring more of the right leads to a company’s website at the very start, marketers tend to pull out all of the stops later on. By not spending time and resources focusing on optimizing the top-of-the-funnel, instead, marketers are spending time and resources working the wrong leads that may never become customers. This is true especially for companies that run a lot of top-of-the-funnel programs. Just because someone downloads your latest ebook doesn’t mean he will convert!

So, what can help? Investing even a minimal effort in targeted and personalized advertising can have a huge impact on outreach—both in terms of quantity and quality at the top-of-the-funnel. Even a 10% improvement in the top stage can double or even triple the number of prospects that convert into customers.

Optimizing Ad Spend

Based on statistics from WishPond, the average click-through-rate for a Google Adwords (search related) is 3.16%. Of that already small percentage, most people will likely be unqualified leads and will immediately bounce without ever reading any of your content. Facebook ads show a strong improvement in rates since 2012, but the numbers are in that same range. And display ads typically deliver even lower rates all together. As a result, marketers need to start exercising control at the very beginning of the buyer’s journey by targeting ads specifically to audiences they deem most relevant.

Real-time personalization helps optimize marketing spend by targeting ads to the right audiences across the different ad channels such as Google and Facebook. Additionally, these ads can be customized to target each persona with messaging and visuals that resonate with distinctive business objectives, expectations, and needs.

Which Attributes Should You Focus on When Personalizing Ads?

Before we drill into the details, let’s backtrack for a second to what personalization represents. Personalization recognizes that each prospect or potential buyer is different, and must be treated as such—depending on aspects such as product interest, industry and size (for B2B’s), geo-location, etc. It lets us collect data on these attributes, segment prospects based on what we find out, and then engage prospects with the most relevant ads to increase conversions from paid media.

What can you personalize ads based on?

For B2B organizations, ad campaigns can be personalized based on:

  • Organization
  • Industry
  • Revenue
  • Customer Journey
  • Company Size
  • Persona
  • Territory

B2C organizations can personalize ad campaigns based on:

  • Geo-location
  • Price sensitivity
  • Buying history
  • Product intent
  • Customer profile

Essentially, this data is infused into an ad platform, like Google, Facebook, or Linkedin, which then leverages it to drive relevant audiences to engage with you on your website. Once you’ve selected your target audience’s attributes on one of these platforms, personalization gives you the opportunity to customize ad copy based on these unique characteristics.

For example, if you’re promoting a marketing automation tool, such as Marketo, to the eCommerce industry, the copy might say: “reach more buyers online”. However, an ad for this same product, targeting the education sector, could feature the words “increase enrollment” instead–making it specifically relevant and personal for the audience.

A Few Words on Personalized Retargeting

Just like you wouldn’t propose on a first date, you can’t expect prospects to convert on their first visit to your website—or even their second or third. The longer your sales cycle is, the more likely your prospects will return to your website multiple times to educate themselves before committing to a purchasing decision.

Bounce rates on initial websites visits can be as high as 50%, and decline to 20% by the 2nd  visit. This is precisely why personalized retargeting is effective; it lets you reengage visitors across the internet, throughout the customer life cycle, and on the platforms that they use everyday–like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Similar to email nurturing campaigns, personalized retargeting lets you follow-up with users by serving them ads with relevant and useful content—after they leave your website.

Optimize Ad Spend to Reach the Right Prospects

What’s the main purpose of targeted and personalized ads? In a nutshell, it helps boost marketing ROI by spending resources on the prospects that actually matter to your company. It not only increases lead conversions and lowers the the acquisition cost, but it also increases the quality of leads visiting your website by targeting the right audiences across ad channels.

As marketers, we need to constantly ensure that money is being spent on targeting prospects with a high likelihood of being customers, and not those who will never convert into real opportunities or actual buyers. Ad targeting and personalization allow you to focus your ad spend on the right audiences, across channels, and actually “customize” the web and ad experience for your strongest prospects.