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Tools to Consider for Your Association’s Digital Advertising

Tools to Consider for Your Association’s Digital Advertising

Before digital advertising, you had to rely much more on print advertising -- mailing out physical letters and brochures was how you would largely build awareness and get key messages out about your association to the right readers. Digital advertising offers a plethora of tools you can use to get your message out more affordably, and the variety of options keep getting better.

Here are some tools (whether ad products or ancillary elements) you can consider:

  1. Retargeting
  2. Customer Match
  3. Tracking conversions
  4. Cost-per-click


1. Retargeting

Retargeting is an ad product offered by Google AdWords (Google calls their version Remarketing) and other providers. Essentially, it allows you to store cookies on a user’s browser when they are on your website and display ads to them for a period after they’ve left your website.

Have you ever surfed the web and noticed a display ad on a publishing website or a social networking website (e.g., Facebook) that leads to a company that you know you just visited online days ago? That’s likely retargeting in action.

Retargeting can be very useful to keep your brand’s message in front of your members, but also in front of potential members who had previously been to your website. What this ad product allows for is, instead of advertising to a broader audience, you can focus your ad dollars more on building a deeper relationship with the people that already know about you.


2. Customer Match

Customer Match is an ad product made available through Google AdWords that allows you to upload a list of users (e.g., their emails) to the Google AdWords platform along with ad creative (e.g., static or animated display ads). Then, you will be able to serve this list ads when they are logged into their Google accounts, provided the email you gave Google matches their Google registered email.

Michael Ramsey, vice president of technology at tbk Creative, describes the effectiveness as “one of the better methods of retargeting users. Relevancy is crucial to the success of any digital advertising campaign, and the people you have emails for are likely a segment you want to advertise to in particular.”

Customer Match can be a useful way to continue to get targeted messaging to your member base as they surf the web.


3. Tracking Conversions

The Internet has largely allowed advertisers to track ad performance to a degree unseen in the advertising world in the past. If you know which ad products and platforms perform better than others, you can allocate more dollars to the ad products that work best and less or eliminate the ad products that work least.

One popular key performance indicator or goal to track is the number of conversions your ads are achieving on your website. In the digital marketing world, the term “conversion” is when a user on your website takes a desired action (e.g., fills out a form inquiring about memberships).

A popular means of conversion tracking is to have your web design or digital marketing agency setup an analytics package like Google Analytics. Configure your conversion tracking to trigger when the desired action is taken. An example of this is when users view the Thank You page after submitting an inquiry. Different digital ad products may have their own conversion tracking codes that need to be deployed as well, but a central analytics platform will allow you to compare all your efforts in one place.

Once conversion tracking is set up, request routine reports from your agency that show your various active ad products and how each is converting. With that said, don’t make large decisions on conversions alone, as certain ad products may do better at different things. For instance, Customer Match may be a useful ad product to advertise to your current members versus prospective ones, but use conversion data inside of a larger conversation to help better inform big decisions.


4. Cost-per-Click

Whereas in the print media world, advertisers would -- and still do -- typically pay for impressions (usually costing out at a per 1000 impressions, known as CPM). Advertising platforms like Google popularized a pricing model called cost-per-click where you only pay when users click on your ads. In almost every case, whether you’re advertising on Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc., ensure you have CPC on so that you can better control your budget and only pay as users are taking action (i.e., clicking) on your ads.



Andrew Schiestel is the president at tbk Creative, a web design and digital marketing agency with 20 staff members based in London, Ontario and serves as the president (chair) of the London Chamber of Commerce (2017/2018 fiscal year). His articles on digital marketing and the digital economy have appeared in The Financial Post, The Globe and Mail, and The London Free Press.



The 2017 CSAE National Conference


In St. John’s, Newfoundland, on October 25, 2017 at 10:00am, at the Canadian Society of Association Executives annual conference, competition and advertising lawyer Steve Szentesi and I will be delivering a session titled: Digital Marketing Strategies & Legal Issues for Associations and Members.

Join us for a deeper dive and dialogue into some of the ways digital marketing can grow your association. Plus, learn how to better navigate some of the legal considerations with your marketing –from Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation to online contests, to ethical advertising, and more.



Andrew Schiestel, CSAE National Conference, Marketing


Marketing, Guest Contributor



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