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Don’t Trick Your Audience: Align Your Social Ad Messaging

Published: October 19, 2017

Author: Carolanne Hornung

Imagine yourself scrolling through your personal social media feed. You’re targeted with ads for a webinar to sign up for or a whitepaper to download. The creative was intriguing enough to catch your eye and the ad copy seems promising. When you click through the ad and hit the landing page, it doesn’t look at all familiar. The ad copy language on the page is entirely different from the ad, and the creative is nowhere to be found. You might even question if this is the correct landing page for the ad you clicked on, because nothing seems to match up. Considering your frustration and annoyance, are you still interested in converting?  
Some marketers fail to address the importance of the user flow between the ad and the landing page they send users to. Having an amazing ad is great for engagement, but it’ll only get you so far if your landing page makes consumers want to run. Similarly, the vice versa is also true – you can have a clean, effective landing page, but no one will see it if your ads aren’t strong enough to drive traffic. How do you make the experience more enjoyable for your target audience while improving your conversion numbers? Cohesion.

What We Mean By “Cohesion”

Since social media is largely focused around visuals, start with your creative. If your landing page has a specific style, such as lifestyle stock photos, don’t stray far from the overall theme by trying to use something entirely different in your ad. A user might be interested by the abstract photos you use in your ad but surprised and turned off by the unexpected lifestyle stock photos they’re greeted with on your landing page. We always encourage testing and tweaking creative, but don’t stray too far from your overall theme or you’ll create a disjointed experience. While the image in your ad doesn’t have to exactly match the image(s) found on your landing page, it’s less confusing for the audience if the two components complement one another.
After you’ve decided on your creative, the next step is your ad copy. While ad copy typically doesn’t draw the eye as much as ad creative, it can still be the deciding factor between having the user click through and convert, or scroll past your ad entirely. Similarly to your creative, your ad copy should closely align with the message you’re portraying on your landing page. If your landing page copy talks about the user potentially being able to increase conversion rates by following a few best practices, you won’t want to tell your ad audience something like, “here are three simple steps you can follow to increase your conversion rate by over 200%.” In this instance, the ad copy is overselling what the user is going to find when they reach the landing page, so they’re going to be much less likely to convert (and more likely to leave an annoyed comment on your ad).

Putting this into Practice

We tested the difference between ads that were aligned with the landing page versus ads unaligned with the landing page. Our aligned ads had creative that was featured on the landing page and ad copy that complemented what the user would find after clicking through. The unaligned ads used creative and ad copy that did not fall in line with the overall theme of the landing page. Below are the results from our test:

As shown in the chart above, ads that aligned with the landing page saw a 91% higher conversion rate, leading to 180% more conversion volume and a 40% lower CPA. The aligned ads began to receive more spend from Facebook because of the significantly higher conversion rate, despite the similar clickthrough rates and cost per click. Our unaligned ads saw a slightly higher click-through rate, but, as predicted, were likely unenthused about converting because of the mixed messaging and perhaps a feeling of being tricked.

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