E-commerce Insights: Take a Page From the 14th Century
What online offers are most effective today? To answer this question, I’ll revisit 14th century Japanese poetry, tap the insights of experts at the three leading search engines and talk return shipping with two leading online retailers.
Today’s Advertising Haiku
Haiku is a Japanese poetic form dating to the 1400s. Haiku poems consist of three lines of five, seven and five syllables. When written well, these poems can pack a powerful emotional punch. Today’s online advertising equivalent of haiku is paid search advertising. Taking Google AdWords as the archetype, a pay-per-click ad consists of a 25-character title, two 35-character lines of ad copy and a 35-character display URL.
Seventy characters isn’t much room to convey an offer. Indeed, many retailers find success using the first 35 characters to describe their product, leaving just 35 characters to present their brand and offer message. Like haiku, paid search forces a merchant to distill its message to its essence. Like haiku, well-written paid search copy can pack a powerful marketing punch.
To understand which online offers matter most to a given retailer, study that retailer’s paid search copy. For a cross-industry perspective on successful paid search copy, consider these observations on effective offers from the search gurus at Yahoo!, Google and MSN:
1. ‘Official site,’ specificity and free shipping. Diane Rinaldo, Yahoo! Search Marketing’s retail category director, offers three recommendations for increasing clickthrough on paid search ads:
• When you’re the official site, use the words “official site.”
• Include a timely description.
• Tie your online copy into your offline messaging.
She highlights a fall 2006 ad from L.L. Bean:
L.L. Bean: Official Site
New for fall and back to school — backpacks, clothing, gear and more.
Here, she notes, L.L. Bean uses “official site,” which is timely and reiterates a current catalog theme.