Before we start, I just want to be clear that when I say “ad scent”, I don’t mean we’ve invented smell-o-vision here at MoreNiche. This is probably a good thing considering the amount of stinky advertising that we, as consumers are exposed to on a daily basis! What I’m talking about here isn’t the actual physical smell of your online advertising but the impression and ‘trail’ it is giving your audience.

So What Is Ad Scent & What Does It Do?

Ever gotten lost down an internet rabbit hole? One minute you’re scrolling through your Facebook feed and the next thing you know, you’re reading reviews for Japanese Sushi knives, or looking up off-road weekends in the countryside. Why does this happen? Well quite often it’s down to ad scent. The subconscious act of clicking on an article, advert or video that takes you (the potential customer) on a journey. It really works. That’s why it’s important that the scent your online advertising leads your potential customer to exactly what they expect, without them even realising it.

Let’s put it this way. If you click on an advert that is offering something you are interested in, as a consumer you should be encountering familiar ‘scents’ all the way through the journey. From seeing and interacting with that initial ad or piece of content, right through to the sales page. At no point in the journey should you be shocked, surprised or put off. Studies show that when a potential customer loses the ‘scent’ of what attracted them in the first place, they return to the platform or ‘hub’ that they originally moved away from. That could be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, or third party content site. Once they lose the ‘scent’ of what they were tracking, they’re gone.

Think of the main content platforms as a river, with multiple tributaries leading off in various directions. If someone heads up one of those tributaries and encounters something whiffy, something that doesn’t quite sit right with them, they aren’t going to continue on their journey.

So what can you do to make sure your ads are giving off the right scent? Well, it combines a number of factors:

How your ad looks

This is really, really important. When your potential customer clicks your advert, it should take them to a landing page with a similar colour scheme, with a familiar logo. This visual trail subconsciously creates a feeling of comfort and assures them that they have arrived at the right destination. It is also important for the next page to match the advert in terms of layout and design – they should recognise it and it should feel familiar at all times. The image you use is equally important. Is there a similar – if not identical – image on your sales or landing page? If there isn’t, make sure there is. Keep that consistent scent going!

The perks your ads are promising

If your ad is promising a free ebook with 10 great vegetarian recipes, make sure that perk is sitting right there in plain sight when they get to the destination. Not hidden under a wall of text or at the back of a slideshow. Give your customer the perk they wanted, and do it quickly in a way that doesn’t feel confusing or like you’ve welched on a promise. This creates a trust between you and your audience member; something that is hard to get back if you lose it.

The offer your ads are providing your customer

The easiest way to improve the offer scent of your advert is to use the precise language for the offer on your landing page as you did in your original advert. It makes your offer instantly recognisable and means the user doesn’t have to think about the offer again. They were interested in the ad – why change anything now?

Being consistent across multiple platforms 

If you are one of the many marketers using multiple ad platforms, whether it be Google, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or any number of others, it’s important your ad scent remains consistent across them all – especially when retargeting lost traffic. If someone sees an advert for your product on Facebook, and later they see another ad on YouTube for the same product or deal, you want them to recognise it as yours! So make sure they aren’t seeing a completely different advert depending on their current choice of platform. Use all the aspects above to maintain your scents across each individual platform.

So What Happens If You Get It Wrong?

The simple answer is that you will confuse your customer and they are much less likely to opt-in, follow up or convert on your landing/sales page. Instead, they are more likely to return to the platform they came from and continue with what they were originally doing. Not only will they not convert this time, but they may even not click on the next advert of yours that they see! So ensuring you’re doing what you can to keep your customer interested with a recognisable scent is very important.

…And What Happens If You Get It Right?

You’ll hopefully see a jump in both traffic and conversions! If you can keep your customers on the right path, following your strong ad scent, you’re on to a winner! But it is also important to be patient and keep trying to improve the scent of your ad trails. You can’t get it right every time, but hopefully you can now trace the scent of your own adverts back and see what can be improved! Happy sniffing!