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Ad Alignment: Should AdWords Ads Match Your Home Page?

by Brian Colling - October 01, 2019

Should AdWords Ads Match Your Home Page?

Your AdWords Ads bring people in. But it’s your home page that makes people convert. How well-aligned do your AdWords Ads need to be with the content on your home page? Do you need to make sure your AdWords Ads match the content on your website? When you don’t have content that aligns, you experience reduced conversion. Users click on your ads to get to your website, but then they realize it wasn’t what they expected. The solution is ad alignment.

Why is Ad Alignment Important?

You’ve probably experienced this before. You click on an ad promising you something specific, such as “See this heartwarming story about a kitten, right now.” But when the page loads, it has nothing to do with a kitten! You immediately back out of the website, and you think no more about it.

When buyers click on ads, they have a specific intent (“I want to learn more about a kitten”). And when that intent isn’t fulfilled, they leave. The click doesn’t matter. In fact, it’s the reverse of helpful: you’re charged for a click, even though you didn’t convert.

Ad alignment is a goal because it ensures only people who are interested in a product are going to click through. You don’t want to mislead people about the content of your homepage, because they’re just going to leave.

However, that doesn’t mean that it must match the homepage itself.

The Beauty of Landing Pages

Landing pages make it possible for your ads to click through to a page that’s applicable to them, even though that might not necessarily be exactly what your homepage is about. A landing page is tailored to your ad and aligned with your ad, as a way of guiding your users through the sales funnel in a way that’s intuitive and compelling.

Many companies have a different landing page for every ad, targeted a little differently to each audience. Having custom landing pages increases the chances of drawing a user in, by addressing their needs and the reason they clicked on the ad. Of course, your landing pages and your ad still can’t diverge too far from the products and services that you’re selling.

Developing a Cohesive Brand Identity

It’s not only about making sure you deliver what you promised. It’s also about developing a consistent brand voice. When customers see your ads, they need to connect them with your company and your content. When customers visit your website, they should be able to reflect on the marketing that they’ve seen thus far.

Having consistent marketing and content means that your brand identity will be stronger. Customers will automatically know what your company is about, and they will relate to your company on a personal level. Your company’s brand identity includes its mission and its voice: everything making it special. 

When large companies advertise, they aren’t advertising because people don’t know about them. Everyone knows about McDonald’s and Coca-Cola. Instead, they’re trying to trigger the emotions they’ve tied to their advertising campaigns, through clear and consistent brand identity.

A Folger’s ad is designed to evoke feelings of sentimentality and home because that’s what Folger’s has made its brand identity. Since Folger’s has invested so much in this, it only needs to show its logo to evoke a response. That response gets people to seek them out.

Your company can only become synonymous with feelings and values if it’s able to keep its branding consistent. And that begins by ensuring that all of the company’s messaging — is properly reflected in advertising, content, and social media.

What Are Signs Your Ads Aren’t Aligning?

If you have high bounce rates and low conversions, it’s likely something about your ads isn’t matching your content. Think about it: if someone clicks on your ad, they’re interested in what the ad represents. But if they leave immediately thereafter, it indicates they didn’t find what they were looking for.

High bounce rates almost universally mean something is wrong with the way the ad is representing the content, and it’s a major sign your ads haven’t properly aligned. Of course, the industry also needs to be considered: there are some industries that have higher than average bounce rates, simply because customers usually aren’t looking to commit right away.

When you notice high bounce rates, it’s time to assess whether the content you’re pointing to (whether it’s your homepage or a landing page) aligns properly with your ads.

For better ad alignment ask yourself:

– Why would a customer click on this ad? What would they be looking for?
– Would they find what they’re looking for on the landing page?
– Would it be easy and fast to find what they’re looking for?

Keep in mind you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of a customer. Your homepage may be perfectly aligned with your advertising, but if it takes potential customers a few minutes of digging to find the content they want, more than likely you’re missing a conversion. 

When Shouldn’t Your Ads Align?

There are very few times when misalignment is appropriate. For the most part, ads won’t align with content if you believe most people wouldn’t be interested in your content. This usually happens during disruption: when a new product or service is being introduced so radically different that most people aren’t interested in it yet.

In this situation, it may be necessary to run large-scale ads that don’t necessarily represent the content, because the goal is to build awareness rather than conversions. But again, this strategy isn’t likely to increase conversion rates: it’s only likely to increase the number of people who have seen or heard about your product or your service.

Matching Your AdWords With Google Display Ads

Google Display Ads use Google AI for targeting and creating your ads. Through Google’s AI, you can automatically test out different types of ads, and determine which Google Display Ads are more effective for a given audience. Google AI can identify potential customers for you, as well as market towards prior customers. 

With the help of Google AI, you can figure out which ads are more effective. You can then align your landing pages and your content to create a consistent message. 

Ad Alignment Conclusion

Ultimately, yes: you need to make sure your ads have properly aligned with the content you’re promoting. While there are some exceptions, you generally want to draw in an audience of individuals who are truly interested in your product. The process begins with transparency. Using Google AI and Google Display Ads, you can find out what your audience thinks is most compelling about your products and services. With better ad alignment, you can fine-tune your content for a complete experience.

For more on how Colling Media helps advertisers with ad alignment, contact us today.

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