Targeting and Extremist Content

Hail & Fail

#5 23rd March 2017

Google AdWords logo

Or Hail provided valuable information to their prospects and you can do the same to increase your conversions.

Also this week, several multinational companies have suspended their YouTube advertising after they were inadvertently associated with extremist content. See how you can stop the same happening to your business in this week’s Hail & Fail.


Driving to Success

One of the best things you can do for your prospects is to provide them with information that really helps them out. Being friendly and helpful is something you do all the time. After all, it’s an essential part of your job.

Being helpful while on a job helps put your customers at ease and builds a strong relationship. Being helpful on your website builds a relationship in the same way. This is what allows you to convert more prospects and build links to your website which will help your SEO.

This week, we Hail Liberty Mutual Insurance and their driving resource explaining the meaning of dashboard emergency lights. Their page (shown below) is a great example of how providing a useful resource can lead to more sales.

'What Does THat Emergency Light Mean' page image

In partnership with How Stuff Works, Insurance company Liberty Mutual have created an interactive page that both informs and entertains.

The ‘What Does That Emergency Light Mean?’ page presents common dashboard warning lights with explanations in plain English and advice on what to do if they appear.

emergency light examples

Icons can be clicked individually, or selected in groups of

  • All
  • FYI (For Your Information)
  • Get a Check-up
  • Fix it Now

The page is finished off with a nice Call to Action (CTA) helping the visitor to choose their next step. Two of the CTAs are to Liberty Mutual partners and are for customers only.

The end result is an informed visitor who may become a prospect for Liberty Mutual’s car insurance products.

Marketing Actions

Translate being friendly and helpful in person to being friendly and helpful on your website. Pick a problem that you know your customers face and think of a way you could help them understand or overcome it quickly and easily.

Do visitors to your website understand everything about what you do? Help them to understand something as simple (to you) like common warning signs that their boiler may need to be serviced.

By providing them with information to help them understand complicated equipment, you’re building your reputation of knowledge and expertise before you’ve even met them. As they begin to know and trust your business more, you will be the one they pick up the phone to.

At the end of your content, make sure you have a strong CTA that clearly tells the visitor what to do next.

  • Be friendly and helpful
  • Provide information that can be used to solve an immediate problem
  • Help
  • Have a clear CTA
  • Work with partners when beneficial

Liberty Mutual teamed up with an influential partner with a strong reputation that many people visit for information. How Stuff Works has a loyal audience and a lot of traffic, making them a great source of new prospects.

With useful content and partners able to refer visitors to your website, you’ll be well on your way to success.


Big Brands and Extremist PPC Adverts

This is something that has become a story recently and reported by many major news outlets. The problem arose because adverts for major brands have been appearing alongside extremist material such as videos by David Duke,  former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and groups linked to ISIS.

This has prompted many large brands that include Marks and Spencer, Lloyds, L’Oreal, Audi and even the British Government, to withdraw their advertising from Google’s YouTube platform.

Adverts on YouTube videos can allow both advertisers and video owners to make money on a Pay Per Click (PPC) basis. Whenever someone clicks on an advert, the advertiser is charged. Google then takes a cut from the charge and the video owner makes some money too.

Similar situations are sure to have come up in the past, but may not have included major brands. For example, when working for a previous client (let’s call them ACME Software), More Than Venice’s marketing consultant, Theodore Bigby, managed an agency that used PPC adverts on Google’s display network.

The display network is made up of websites that have agreed to show adverts from Google in return for a modest income whenever an advert is clicked. Adverts can be shown as part of a PPC campaign with or without re-marketing.

In the case of ACME Software, they were running a re-marketing campaign. Re-marketing means that whenever someone visited the ACME Software website, a cookie would be placed on their computer.

Whenever the ACME Software visitor went to a website that was in the Google display network, there was a chance that they would see an advert for ACME Software. Unfortunately, one advert for the software was placed next to the picture of a convict.

ACME Software PPC advert unfortunate placement

It is conceivable that many smaller businesses have had their adverts appear alongside things they would not support or find objectionable. A smaller business may be unaware of or unable to monitor the places their adverts appear because they don’t understand Google’s PPC system.

If an advert for ACME Software were to appear on a video posted by an extremist organisation, most people probably wouldn’t notice and the damage to reputation would be less noticeable than with household name.

This latest case features some of the biggest corporations with worldwide business operations. A perceived association (even though there is none) has the potential to be very damaging indeed.

Targeted Advertising

In the case of ACME Software, the advert was placed on a legitimate website that was reporting the facts, but the story it was placed with was a negative one. Unfortunately, there may not be a 100% bulletproof way to avoid such associations, but by using the tools Google offers to help you target your adverts, it is possible to minimise such eventualities.

One of the best things with PPC advertising is the ability you have to target your adverts to a specific audience and even geographical location. We used University Frames as the example of how well targeted PPC can be done last week.

On YouTube, it is possible to:

“use placements to target your Display Network ads to appear on specific YouTube videos, channels, or all of YouTube. You can also exclude your ads from appearing with certain video content.”

Google offer a short guide on how to target ads on YouTube with managed placements.

Google recommend that ads are excluded retroactively “to ensure your ads appear with brand-appropriate content.” This means that once you discover adverts on YouTube placed with content you do not wish to be associated with, you can exclude your adverts from that specific YouTube channel.

With re-marketing for example, you can make use of Managed Placements to choose which sites your adverts appear on. It may even be a good idea to start displaying adverts on selected websites only and go from there.

Marketing Actions

Your brand and its associations are important whether you’re a small one-man or one-woman band or huge multinational. The nature of advertising on digital channels is that your brand and products may appear alongside things you don’t want them to. It’s important that we all take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

By understanding your product and business goals, you can make sure your product is put in front of your target audience. It’s also important to be aware of how being associated with some content or websites may not be so advantageous for your business.

Fortunately, (with Google’ s PPC at least) the tools that allow us to reach our target audience also allow us to avoid being associated with content that doesn’t fit in with our brand. The best thing about digital marketing is the control we have over every aspect of it.

  • Understand your business goals
  • Make sure your digital marketing is aligned to your brand’s values
  • Exclude your brand from undesirable association
  • Constantly monitor the places your adverts appear

When you use digital marketing channels, always take a moment to consider the downside of your campaigns. Give some thought to the type of audience that won’t convert. Think about the type of audience you would rather not be associated with. This is something to be considered when establishing your marketing goals and objectives.



What are your thoughts on this week’s Hail & Fail?

How could you use the Hail in your business and how would you use knowledge from the Fail to improve your digital advertising? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter using the hashtag #HailnFail and our Twitter handle @MoreThanVenice <–click to tweet.

Or join the conversation on the Hail & Fail Facebook page.