What and Why Agency Offer Post-Click Automation Experience to Close the Gap Between Clicks and Conversions

“No agency is retained for the services they provide, but for the services they provide well.” – Old Agency Proverb

What do your clients really care about? Is it ad clicks and email opens from your newest campaign? Nope, your clients care about paying customers. After all, it’s customers, not website visitors, who keep the lights on.

What and Why Agency Offer Post-Click Automation Experience to Close the Gap Between Clicks and Conversions. Source: HubSpot
What and Why Agency Offer Post-Click Automation Experience to Close the Gap Between Clicks and Conversions. Source: HubSpot

So why is it that most agencies are focused solely on getting those clicks? They create beautiful ads, with catchy headlines, but overlook a crucial part: The post-click stage.

In a modern campaign, a successful ad draws attention and earns a click. That click, however, is only the first step towards turning a visitor into a customer and does not guarantee a sale.

It’s here, in the post-click stage, that agencies have a great opportunity to bring value to their clients, and help them turn that prospect into a paying customer.

Only managing your client’s ads is no longer enough to be successful. Agencies have to master both: The pre-click and post-click experience.

Use this ebook to learn how Pupuweb can take control of the whole experience, and how you can make your agency, and your clients, successful in today’s post-click world.

You’ll Learn All About:

  • What are the pre-click and post-click stage?
  • How your agency can take control of the post-click experience
  • The gap between pre-click and post-click and why it’s damaging to agencies
  • What is post-click automation?

Content Summary

Introduction
The major change to advertising that was hardly noticed
The pre-click and post-click stage
Why this gap is particularly damaging to agencies
Reclaiming the post-click experience
What does post-click automation entail?
Why PCA is the perfect fit for agencies
Get in on PCA, today

Introduction

No successful agency is retained for the services they provide; but the services they provide well.

On the surface, the relationship between agency and client seems fairly straightforward: Ad agency produces results. Client pays agency. The two enjoy a prosperous future.

But as an agency, you know it’s not that easy. Along the way, countless issues threaten to sour the partnership.

What you may not know, though, is that many times the relationship’s fate is sealed before it begins. Here is the reason:

Long gone are the days in which agencies could reach success by solely creating and managing their client’s ads. In today’s marketing world, arguably the most important part of an ad campaign is the post click experience.

Use this article to learn what exactly post-click automation is, and how you can use it to make your agency (and your clients) successful in today’s post-click world.

The major change to advertising that was hardly noticed

Though it’s hard to remember a world without Facebook and iPhones, just fifteen years ago we were living in it. Social media was only taking off. Mobile traffic was unheard of.

Today, though, things look completely different. For example: Digital will soon dethrone TV as king of ad spend. Mobile is the number one source of web traffic. Artificial intelligence is on the rise. If it feels like you’re working in a new industry compared to a decade and a half ago, it’s because you are.

Yet as much as things have changed since then, they haven’t changed nearly as much as advertising did with the internet. To understand the dramatic evolution of the ad campaign, we have to travel even further back, to when TV, radio, and print reigned supreme. Consider this example…

It’s 1990 and …
You receive a direct mail ad for a writing course. Line by line, you skim for important chunks of information: headers, trust indicators, value propositions, social proof, etc. At its conclusion, you’re offered instructions on how to proceed: Send a check to this address, or call us at this number.

This is how the average campaign worked, whether it was run in print, on TV, or over the radio. The advertisement was what drove the sale. It was prospects’ main source of information for a product or service. They read, watched, listened, then decided whether to contact the sales team.

During the rise of the internet, however, the role of the advertisement completely changed. It relinquished its position as campaign headliner and split the work with another kind of content.

Fast forward to today …
an ad is the gateway of the modern campaign. Its job is to draw attention and quickly propose value, with the goal of earning a click.

When it comes to actually selling the product, that role has been claimed by another kind of content.

The pre-click and post-click stage

The main difference between today’s campaigns and those in the past is this: There’s an extra step involved in getting your potential customers’ attention.

In the modern campaign, a successful ad draws attention and earns a click. That click, however, does not guarantee your potential customers will buy your offer. What happens after does.

For example, consider an online version of the ad for a writing course. Instead of opening a piece of direct mail, you open an email for it. The subject line features a strong value proposition, the body copy is compelling, the call-to-action is relevant to the offer. The targeting is accurate, too, as you’ve recently considered taking a writing course. These elements combined are enough to get you to click through.

Once you do, you’re directed to the homepage of the company’s website, where you don’t see anything about the course mentioned in the email. Too busy to hunt down more information, you abandon the page and resume scrolling through your inbox.

At this point, you’ve made your way through the two stages of the modern ad campaign. These are known as the pre-click stage and the post-click stage.

The pre-click stage encompasses everything that happens before the click. That includes but is not limited to: creative elements like media and headline, targeting, platform the ad is run on, brand equity, etc. In the example above, the email subject line, body copy, call-to-action, the channel itself, and relevant targeting, are all part of the pre-click stage. The goal of the pre-click stage is to compel the user to click through to the post-click stage.

The post-click stage refers to everything the prospect experiences after clicking the ad. That includes but is not limited to: page load times, landing page design, copy, form length, offer value, brand equity, etc. In the earlier example, we can identify elements in the post-click stage as the page that the user is directed to, the time that page takes to load, the unmet expectations regarding the offer. The goal of the post-click stage is to get the user to convert.

Despite this division of the ad campaign, advertisers thus far have focused most of their resources on improving the pre-click stage. And who could blame them? The advertising industry has long revolved around the advertisement, which was once closer tied to bottom-line metrics like sales.

When asked what they thought the most important innovation in advertising was in the past five years, respondents of Instapage’s digital marketing agency report answered “Targeting and segmentation:”

Q: What do you think is the most important innovation in advertising in the past 5 years?

Advertising Innovation. Source: HubSpot
Advertising Innovation. Source: HubSpot

In part, they’re correct in their observation. Targeting and segmentation allow advertisers to narrow their audiences and provide relevance at a level unmatched by older ad campaigns. Today, over $300 billion is spent on digital advertising to target, segment, and place branded messages. And there’s no shortage of tools that enable such techniques: demand and supply-side platforms, ad creation tools, analytics and more.

But there’s a problem.
These tools only focus on one half of the ad campaign — the pre-click-stage. As you can see from the same graph, while 28% say targeting and segmentation were more important than any other innovation in the advertising industry, only 5% say personalization is.

But without tools that enable personalization, ones that improve targeting and segmentation are worthless. Personalization is more than just message match consistency and dynamic keyword replacement. True personalization means providing a unique experience for that audience (e.g., identifying their search term, the medium they came from, different page layout, different imagery based on the channel, etc.) All we need to do is revisit the scenario above.

You are targeted with a relevant ad for a writing course. However, after clicking through, you’re directed to a homepage, which offers a generic and impersonal post-click experience. Even though the pre-click stage was successful, the post-click experience left you unsatisfied. As a result, you abandoned the page.

Conversions are low. Source: HubSpot
Conversions are low. Source: HubSpot

It’s clear that without tools for personalization, segmentation and targeting techniques and tools become less valuable. After all, a campaign is only as valuable as the bottom-line metrics it produces.

Consider what might happen if you spend all your efforts attempting to optimize the preclick experience. 100 people see your ad, 20 click through, and 1 convert, making your conversion rate 5%.

Conversion rate 5%. Source: HubSpot
Conversion rate 5%. Source: HubSpot

Now, what might happen if you balance both the pre and post-click? If 100 people see your ad, 10 people click through, and 2 convert, your click to conversion rate is 20%. In this example, you add more to bottom line numbers with a relevant post-click experience.

Conversion rate 20%. Source: HubSpot
Conversion rate 20%. Source: HubSpot

A post-click landing page with a higher conversion rate will almost always produce a better return on investment.

While, all things equal, more click-throughs means more opportunities for conversions, that’s not the case when targeting and segmentation (pre-click) are prioritized over personalization (post-click). Mainly because this creates a gap in the ad campaign. If a user clicks through a highly targeted advertisement, then lands on a page that does not offer a similar level of relevance, they’re not likely to convert. Thus, campaign KPIs suffer.

Why this gap is particularly damaging to agencies

Why this gap is particularly damaging to agencies
As you can imagine, this mismanagement of user expectations is damaging to an ad campaign, and in turn, the business which runs it. The problem is, a business can afford to mismanage its own campaigns and later adjust and iterate accordingly. An agency is not afforded this freedom when managing campaigns for clients.

That’s because success, in the eyes of the client, is directly tied to value added by an agency. If an agency is not producing value, it’s not likely a client will want to continue working with them beyond the original contract. So, what does “value” look like?

For a lot of agencies, it’s top-of-funnel results like traffic and leads. The most common reason clients churn, say agency respondents, is that they don’t generate enough quality leads:

Q: What do you think might be the top 3 reasons on why your clients churn?

Revenue for Client Churn. Source: HubSpot
Revenue for Client Churn. Source: HubSpot

Low ad revenue and conversion rates are also two major effectors of churn, according to the report. All three are a result of poor post-click experiences.

Thus far, traditional advertising agencies have owned the pre-click stage: selecting ad platforms, targeting, creating ads. The post-click stage, however — which involves activities like building and optimizing landing pages — has been largely left to clients.

Today, when their value is tied so closely to the performance of post-click metrics, agencies cannot afford to allow clients to totally own the post-click stage.

According to the Instapage report, the majority of agencies say their campaign conversion rates fall between 2.1 and 5%:

Q: Across all of your client campaigns, what is your average conversion rate for your PPC programs?

Average Conversion Rate. Source: HubSpot
Average Conversion Rate. Source: HubSpot

This is on par with the average conversion rate — 3.75% — for search ad campaigns. Together, these numbers indicate between 95 and nearly 98% of ad budget is wasted after the click. Considering that only $1 out of every $92 spent on customer acquisition goes toward conversion, this makes sense.

According to Instapage research, it’s entirely possible to reach conversion rates upwards of 10 and 20% and beyond. But leaving that up to clients means putting them in charge of your future with their business. Unless your agency’s success is tied to pre-click metrics like impressions, engagement, and CTR, client churn is in the hands of the client, independent of agency results.

For an agency, taking back control means owning more than just the pre-click experience. It means making reasons for client churn — leads, conversions, conversion rate — a priority.

Reclaiming the post-click experience

Taking control of campaign success means balancing the pre-click and post-click stage. Marketers, both agency and otherwise, have begun to realize this.

When asked what they believe the most valuable skills in the next five years to be, Marketing Land data shows that conversion rate optimization was named the second most important.

Q: Which of the following technical skills do you think will be most needed in agencies two years from now?

Which of the following technical skills do you think will be most needed in agencies two years from now?. Source: HubSpot
Which of the following technical skills do you think will be most needed in agencies two years from now? Source: HubSpot

It should also be noted that the most important skill, data science and analysis, forms the base of optimization. So they’re not unrelated.

The problem is, while conversion rate optimization is a much needed skill, the options for acquiring it aren’t easy. Cultivating the skills among existing employees requires time and training, and bringing an outside conversion rate optimizer in-house can be quite costly.

Faced with this reality, most agencies continue to neglect the post-click experience, chalking it up to a casualty of scarce resources. But, even with minimal resources, agencies can address the post-click stage effectively with a new category of technology: post-click automation software.

While most technology continues to focus on improving the pre-click stage, a class of software has emerged to help marketers reclaim the post-click stage without compromising agency resources. That’s post-click automation software.

Post-click automation software aims to bridge the gap between pre-click segmentation and post-click personalization — a goal that agencies recognize as crucial. When asked about the biggest “game changer” for advertising in the next five years, agencies named personalization number one, tied with AI and machine learning:

Q: What do you think will be the biggest “game changer” for advertising in the next 5 years?

Advertising “Game Changer”. Source: HubSpot
Advertising “Game Changer”. Source: HubSpot

Unlike most individual solutions — tools for data collection, page creation, A/B testing, optimization — a post-click automation platform combines them all into one end-to-end solution.

Such software fits particularly well with agencies because it requires neither the budget for several tools, nor the resources for hiring and training employees. It is designed to seamlessly integrate with current processes to deliver results quickly. Here’s how.

What does post-click automation entail?

Post-Click Automation (PCA) is the category of marketing technology that maximizes advertising conversions for marketers by delivering 1:1 personalized post-click experiences at scale. It encompasses four pillars — automation, scalable creation, personalization, and optimization.

Automation
is a major component of PCA because it allows marketers to visualize the advertising funnel better. Since every advertisement and audience segment deserves a unique post-click experience, manually mapping ads to pages gets overwhelming quickly. Especially when clients could have dozens or hundreds of pages. Instead, the ability to accomplish this process automatically saves time and eliminates the confusion and headache of it all.

Scalable creation
builds off of automation by bridging the gap between the pre-click and post-click stage because the biggest obstacle to creating unique experiences for every audience is the sheer number of pages required. To enable agencies to scale production, page blocks (page blocks are templates that provide the back-bone of pages and when edited, can modify any number of pages built using it) speed up the process as these allow you to design customizable sections and save them for multiple pages and/or campaigns. Certainly a more efficient process as opposed to creating post-click experiences adding individual elements each time. Plus, the ability for these sections to be edited manually and scaled globally to make widespread changes from a single place is more efficient than any alternative.

The third pillar refers to the personalization of each page. Creating one page per campaign or audience segment is one thing; personalizing
each is another. To provide a post-click experience just as relevant as the pre-click, each page must match the audience and message of its referring ad or email. Things like identifying the prospect’s search term, designing a different layout for them, different imagery, etc. all go a long way in creating a unique experience.

The last pillar of post-click automation is optimization
and refers to all activities regarding data collection, analysis, testing, editing. Here, both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection come into play, like:

Heat maps, which can track scroll depth, clicks, and mouse movement.

Analytics dashboards, which track metrics like average cost per visitor and lead, total visitors, conversions, conversion rate, etc.

A/B testing, which allows creators to test one page vs another to see which converts better for a common goal.

No doubt, the four pillars (automation, scalable creation, personalization, and optimization) are a major shift in the way agencies will produce results for clients. But they are the best way to ensure you maximize every click and generate sales.

Why PCA is the perfect fit for agencies

No successful agency is retained for the services they provide; but the services they provide well. This once prevented smaller agencies (without a large team and budget) from providing post-click automation services. Compounded with the fact that the postclick results are a bigger effector of churn (compared to pre-click results), this put smaller to medium-sized agencies at the mercy of their clients. A place no agency likes to be!

If you happened to service a client that understood the importance of the post-click experience, so long as you produced pre-click results, you were set up for a good relationship.

On the other hand, if your client did not prioritize the post-click experience (which is more likely), then you were on the hook for their inability to translate your success to the bottomline. Even if your success is tied to top-of-funnel goals, those goals are still affected greatly by post-click automation. Lead generation, for example, is a top-of-funnel goal that cannot be accomplished effectively without an optimized post-click experience.

Today, though, agencies of all sizes can take control of their fate by providing post-click services. The ability to do so will not only enable better client retention (a bigger producer of profits than acquisition) through the accomplishment of key performance goals, but will also help with acquisition as well.

According to the HubSpot Marketing Agency Growth Report, neither conversion rate optimization, nor post-click automation, are a top offering from agencies:

Q: What are your agency’s top 3 service offerings?

What are your agency’s top 3 service offerings? Source: HubSpot
What are your agency’s top 3 service offerings? Source: HubSpot

This puts an agency offering post-click automation in the unique position of providing something others don’t. A unique selling proposition like this can be the deciding factor for a client evaluating multiple agencies.

What’s more, agencies can use PCA for not only their clients’ benefits, but their own. According to another section of the report, finding new clients is the biggest problem agencies face:

Q: What are your agency’s biggest pain points?

What are your agency’s biggest pain points? Source: HubSpot
What are your agency’s biggest pain points? Source: HubSpot

In an attempt to solve this problem, agencies plan to invest more in lead generation:

Q: Does your agency plan to invest in any of the following next year?

Does your agency plan to invest in any of the following next year? Source: HubSpot
Does your agency plan to invest in any of the following next year? Source: HubSpot

“Lead generation” is a term that encompasses many tactics, like retargeting, content creation, and more. But generating those leads is usually accomplished in the postclick stage because people feel comfortable submitting their information to trustworthy brands after they click through an ad, social media link, etc. and have a great post-click experience.

Therefore, an investment in post-click automation could be exactly what an agency needs to stand out in an increasingly crowded landscape and generate more clients.

Get in on PCA, today

The post-click experience is critical to delivering the results your clients care about. Owning this experience poses a massive opportunity for agencies. When clients expect big results and your agency’s growth potential depends on signing new clients, you need a differentiator that allows you to accomplish both. Post-click automation is that differentiator.

PCA is the next must-have technology in your tech stack. It saves you time, enables you to scale campaigns, personalize, and optimize for the results clients expect. Your clients and your bottom line will both thank you.

Source: HubSpot