5 tips to improve your online adverts

The internet is full of step-by-step guides for advertising online. But do online ads really deliver? According to online advertising expert Robin van Leeuwen, they do. But you need to use the right keywords, have a good landing page, measure the effect, know what your audience wants, and not use the same ad too often. Learn more about effective advertising online.

Use the right keywords in your ads

According to Van Leeuwen, businesses do not always use the right keywords when creating an online ad. Keywords are the words internet users type into search engines when they search for a product or service. Think ‘order blackout curtains online’ or ‘reliable plumber Amsterdam’. Research which search terms your target audience uses to find your product or service. And look at which search terms they click on. This can be done with a keyword planner, which is a tool that shows you how often a particular word is searched for.

“A general keyword is sometimes less effective than a specific keyword,” says Van Leeuwen. A general keyword is usually used by many businesses. Think of a keyword like ‘shoes’. Many people search for ‘shoes’, but also have more specific requirements when doing so. More specific keywords are, for example, ‘blue shoes’, or ‘blue shoes with a flat sole’. The more specific the keywords you use, the more likely people will click on your ad.

Create a good landing page

A good online ad does not achieve anything if the landing page is not a good match. A landing page is the webpage visitors land on after clicking on your ad or search result. If your landing page is not set up properly, your visitor will quickly leave again. A good landing page ensures that visitors immediately buy something, register, or click through to other pages on your website.

“Make sure your landing page has a logical connection to your ad,” says Van Leeuwen. According to them, a landing page should:

  • Match the content and message of the ad.
    “Your ad promises something. Your landing page should deliver on that promise.”
  • Be clear and concise.
    “Use short, powerful headings, and sub-headings. These will grab your visitor’s attention.”
  • Have a call-to-action (CTA), or a button that lets the visitor take action.
    “Use text like ‘buy now’, ‘register here’, or ‘get your free trial’.”
  • Use as few form fields as possible.
    “Ask for only the most important information. Long forms scare visitors away.”
  • Be measurable.
    “With Google Analytics, for example, you can measure the performance of your landing page.”

Measure the effect of online ads

Without tracking, you have no insight into which ads are working well and which are not. Tracking means looking at the behaviour of your visitors. Van Leeuwen warns that without tracking, you might waste money on ads that simply do not work. Tracking can be done via:

  • Cookies: these are small files that store data on your visitor’s device. Thanks to those settings, your visitor will see your ad on another website. Keep in mind that third-party cookies will no longer be allowed (in Dutch) by most internet browsers from 2024.
  • Tracking URLs or UTM codes: a tracking URL is a web address with an extra piece of information after it. This extra information is the UTM code. Thanks to that piece of data, you can measure how often that web address is visited and in which situation. You see the results in your measurement tool. For example, Google Analytics.
  • Tracking pixels: a small image is placed in your advertisement. It is so small that your visitor does not see it. With a tracking pixel, you measure what your visitor does on your website, or how they read your newsletter.

Know what your target group wants

Always consider your target audience when you place an advert online. If you do not, your target audience will probably be too broad. You will target more people, but a smaller number of them will react to your ad. This results in lower clickthrough rates and lower conversion rates.

Limit how your ads are shown

Van Leeuwen advises that you update your ads regularly, or show them to a new target group. “If you always use the same ads, or show them to the same target group, this leads to audience fatigue and lower click rates.”