As an individual working in a data-fueled industry, I find pleasure in constructing narratives from numbers. Successes and failures are clearly measured and understood by the ability to achieve our target KPIs. There is a unique satisfaction and sense of pride that stems from identifying and acting on a potential growth opportunity in a campaign that results in more leads or sales for a client. Or at least, what looks like an increase in leads for a client.

It’s assumed that the numbers we work within AdWords correlate directly with the success of a client’s business. This assumption is a necessity to optimize performance over time, but the difficult question to answer is whether the increase in leads is translating to more qualified leads for the business. There have been times where I’ve jumped into a reporting call, eager to share the improvements that we saw, when the call starts off with the client questioning you why their AdWords campaigns aren’t working, as sales are down or leads have dried up.

I’m of the belief that a Paid Search Specialist is responsible for both improving campaign performance as well as communicating those results to the client in an effective manner. As a logical thinker, it’s simple for me to communicate how an account has performed to another logical-minded individual. The challenge is translating the language of numbers to an emotional-minded individual. Even when the numbers communicate success if an emotional-thinker hasn’t felt that success, I haven’t completely accomplished my goal.

Bridging the gap

One solution to overcoming this communication divide can be found by stepping back from the arsenal of digital marketing and web analytic tools at our disposal and learning from the previous generation of marketing.

Before AdWords, Facebook, Google Analytics, and the internet, businesses utilized call forwarding numbers, coupons, and, promo codes to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. Call-forwarding numbers are excellent to evaluate the quality of the calls that originate from a campaign, but still frequently under-report campaign value because of cross-device activity. This is where promo codes can become an incredibly valuable tool to better understand the disjuncture that occurs between the online and offline spheres.

Here’s the conundrum…

First, you need to work with a client to identify a service, feature, add-on, or upgrade that they can provide to a customer that is both appealing to the customer and not overwhelmingly costly for the business to provide.

After finding that additional perk, highlight this offer through a campaign’s ads, but make it clear that it’s only available when you mention a specific promo code.
Congratulations, your leads are now literally telling your customer that they found them through your digital advertising campaign

Using strong offers in your campaigns

Both Facebook and AdWords provide simple and effective ways which you can incorporate this new strong offer into your campaigns without building the campaigns up from scratch. We’ll talk about the specifics of each platform below.

Facebook campaigns

Facebook provides the option to run offer ads through Traffic and Conversion based campaign types.  These offers can be claimed and saved by potential customers within the Facebook interface, where they’ll be notified before the offers expiration date arrives. You have the option of setting up blanket offer codes (MADFISH), or use a list of codes (MF001, MF002, MF003…). By giving different campaigns unique codes, you’ve created a way to get feedback from the client on how the business has felt the impact of the specific campaigns. To protect privacy, Facebook Offer ads will not relay any information about the individuals who claim it. As far as costs go, the advertiser pays for each link click and claimed offer, not for each offer that is redeemed. When launching offer ads, be aware that each claimed offer doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll become a customer. It will however further incentivize the individual to become a customer and remind them of the offer at their disposal before it expires.

AdWords campaigns

AdWords has incorporated promotional offers in a different manner, by beta testing unique Promotional Ad Extensions for search campaigns. These empower you to highlight special deals without sacrificing your messaging in the headlines of your ad copy. In their current form, Promotional Extensions are slightly more restrictive than FB offers, limiting advertisers to offer monetary discounts and percentages off of purchases, instead of being able to give out a complimentary service or product with a purchase. Most importantly though, they provide the ability to incorporate promo codes so one can see the impact of a campaign inside a client’s CRM. This is an excellent opportunity for e-commerce sites to highlight a sale or event. Note that these extensions are still an exclusive beta test, and not many accounts currently have access to them. Should your campaign not have this unique feature enabled, incorporating the promo code into a headline is still a very viable and effective way of promoting the offer, especially when used within a RLSA campaign to target a specific returning audience.

When building a strong offer tied to a promo code in your campaigns, both you and your client will have a more honest understanding of each other’s argument. PPC Managers will learn how many of the leads that are generating from an AdWords campaign result in a customer for the business. Concurrently, the client will better feel the impact of their digital marketing campaigns, as these promo codes will show up daily through phone calls, walk-in customers, and lead forms.

In the coming months, be attentive to our blog, as we’ll be publishing the results a case study to further share our experiences with promo code offers.