Consumers today are becoming increasingly harder to market to. As audiences’ online habits change and they become more ad-savvy, marketers must find new and innovative ways to bring their brands to the forefront.
Enter sequential ads. In a nutshell, it’s targeted advertising taken to the next level with a compelling story told through a sequence of ads.
More and more brands are using a variety of sequential ads to deliver brand messages, increase awareness, generate sales, and more.
They’re flexible and versatile, working across a range of websites and devices. As such, sequential ads are perfect for businesses wanting to grow their online store. If you want to get in on the act but you’re stuck for inspiration, check out the ideas below and start reaping the benefits of sequential ads.
What is sequential advertising?
Before we look at ideas for your sequential ads, let’s answer the question: what is sequential advertising?
The consumer’s journey online today jumps seamlessly from website to website, from device to device. They form opinions on brands in seconds, making it increasingly more difficult for marketers to grab — and retain — their audiences’ attention.
Therefore, to effectively engage leads and turn them into conversions, customers need to be primed first. Sequential advertising techniques achieve this by targeting high-quality leads (that is, leads who are more likely to buy based on past behavior) with a series of ads across a range of devices and sites. These ads follow a (you guessed it) sequence, with each one informing and augmenting the next.
Successful sequential ads tell a story, drip-feeding information to the viewer with the aim of moving them towards a desired goal. By creating a narrative that the lead can follow, brands can effectively nurture them towards a specific objective, including everything from awareness to conversion. Sequential marketing methods can be applied across a range of platforms, including social media, email, PPC, and more. They can also take a variety of different forms too, spanning video, carousels, and canvases, to name but a few.
The prime and remind
Not all sequential ads are created with the aim of generating conversions. They’re also ideal for simply raising awareness of a brand, product, or service.
With the prime and remind method, your first ad will lay the groundwork for your sequence. It will set the stage by presenting the benefits of your product or service. This will be your key message which, while not explicitly selling a specific thing, will help increase awareness of your brand.
For example, a business selling smoothies might offer a video explaining the importance of consuming at least five pieces of fruit or vegetables a day. Alternatively, they might deliver a slideshow highlighting the benefits of the five-a-day diet. This ad primes the viewer with a useful message, laying the foundation for the next ad.
The next and final ad is a reiteration of the first, accompanied by a call-to-action that lets the viewer act on that message. Highlight the benefits of your product and then provide further information with your CTA. This will compound your audience’s awareness and give them an introduction to your brand.
In our smoothie example, this might take the form of a reminder of the nutritional benefits of eating five-a-day. But accompanying this would be a CTA directing the viewer to a landing page providing further advice on how to easily incorporate this into their diet. By offering additional valuable information, your brand can lead visitors to your site. Here they can view targeted content to bring them further down the marketing funnel.
The funnel approach
Another way to approach your sequential ads is by capturing your lead’s attention by exploiting their pain points
For example, your first ad could deliver a message about the importance of encouraging your children to adopt healthy eating habits.
This doesn’t need to be overly salesy, as it’s just conveying a general message that plays into a parent’s concern for their children’s health. It could take the form of an educational video, or a canvas infographic with relevant statistics that will grab their attention. This ad serves to raise awareness with the viewer, bringing them into the first stage of the funnel.
Your second ad will build on this by providing a general solution for the pain point. In this example, you could provide information on what parents can do to ensure their family develops healthy eating habits. This information is still fairly general, not mentioning any specific product or service that the brand has to offer. By delivering useful information in this way, the viewer stays interested with the brand message and drawing them down the sales funnel.
Finally, the ad displays a specific product or service that resolves the original pain point. Expound on the benefits of what you’re offering, perhaps including a carousel of popular products accompanied by a strong call-to-action that lets the viewer act on their interest and click through to a product landing page. You could even increase engagement at this stage by offering a discount code to sweeten the deal. Use a dedicated app or plugin that connects with your e-tail store to create unique ad-specific discount codes so you can track the efficacy of your sequential ad campaigns.
Always ensure that any ads you use are realistic and paint an accurate picture of your brand and products — misleading people in order to get more clicks is not cool.