How to Use AdRoll to Create Better Performing Advertisements

How to Use AdRoll to Create Better Performing Advertisements

Last updated on by Bogdan Zlatkov in Advertising Personalization, Conversion Optimization


AdRoll is a performance marketing platform that has evolved over the last 10 years using the largest advertiser data co-op in the market. What that means for marketers is that they can reach their audience anywhere on the web and, using AdRoll’s products, help get those customers to make a purchase.

AdRoll was founded when Aaron Bell needed to help his wife, Sarika, start her nutrition bar business. When Aaron tried to buy some online ads for their business, he quickly discovered there how hard it was for emerging businesses to buy display ads. He also realized that a lot of people were coming to their website, but most of them were leaving without purchasing, so he decided to leverage his programming skills to solve these two problems. Not long after founding AdRoll, he built a simple retargeting program to show their nutrition bars to those bounced customers and realized it was not only effective for their brand, but for any brand that sold products online.

Since those humble beginnings AdRoll has grown into a much more sophisticated, AI-powered, big data company. But regardless of its new size and sophistication, AdRoll is still about helping marketers advertise and win new customers.

What is AdRoll and what’s included in the product suite?

Here’s how AdRoll’s current products work (more detailed explanations follow the video):

AI bidding

Before we go into the AdRoll products that marketers actually see, it’s important to know what powers AdRoll in the background.

At the heart of AdRoll is BidIQ, an AI that’s constantly learning and improving based on millions of signals from AdRoll’s 30,000+ advertisers. Using BidIQ, AdRoll can connect companies with over 1.2 billion digital profiles across web, social, and mobile channels. This bidding AI can make 2.5 million predictions per second to help AdRoll’s customers place the best ad at the best value.

AdRoll Prospecting

Prospecting is exactly what it sounds like: searching for and finding new potential customers. AdRoll’s Prospecting product uses that AI to analyze your website’s existing customer data for intent signals such as previous purchases, viewing product pages, and event registrations.

Based off this rich information, AdRoll then helps you find your best potential customers. And because AdRoll looks for highly active and highly qualified new audiences, the visitors Prospecting brings to your website are often much more engaged than organic traffic.

AdRoll Retargeting

Industry metrics show that conversion rates for ecommerce typically fall anywhere between 1 and 2%. That means that 98% of the people who visit your website won’t end up making a purchase on their first visit. The most effective solution is bring those visitors back is a retargeting campaign.

AdRoll is known as the leader in retargeting for a reason. Retargeting is one of the most cost-effective ways to convert customers who have already expressed interest in your products. When a person visits your website, AdRoll places what is known as a cookie in their browser, which is a small piece of code that allows you to target ads to them once they leave your site.

Using this code, AdRoll can then place your product in front of that potential customer across the web, social media, and even across multiple devices. In many cases it can take up to 5 interactions with your brand to actually lead to a sale, so if you’re not running a retargeting campaign you could be missing out on a ton of potential customers.

AdRoll Email

Email is consistently cited as one of the most effective marketing channels, which is why in 2016 AdRoll launched AdRoll Email. What sets AdRoll Email apart from other vendors is that it’s all data-backed. Using your customer’s browsing data from your site, AdRoll can build emails for you with product suggestions for your customers.

For example, if a potential customer has viewed certain products on your website or added products to their cart and then abandoned it, AdRoll Email can show those exact products inside the email you send. This allows you to show your customers exactly what they’re interested and get closer to making that sale. This customized approach means that on average, AdRoll Email customers have open rates of 50–60% and click-through rates of 10–20%.*

*Aggregate data from live AdRoll Email customers since April 2016

how to use AdRoll email

A hobby site called AMain Hobbies, one of AdRoll’s clients, saw over 1,900 conversions, a 775% increase, when adding AdRoll Email to their marketing strategy. Using a retargeting email like the one above to target visitors who didn’t checkout and bring them back to your website is one of the easiest ways to raise your email performance metrics.

Custom Design

Perhaps one of AdRoll’s best, but often overlooked, product offerings is its custom design services. Because AdRoll wants your campaigns to be successful, they have a design team that will design your ads for you. Of course this service is provided to customers who spend above a certain threshold, but it’s definitely available for many AdRoll customers.

Having a group of professional designers who make ads for a living is a huge asset that sets AdRoll apart from many other platforms. Getting all that industry expertise can take those lackluster click through rates and make them industry leading click throughs very quickly.

AdRoll dynamic creative ads

This service is ideal for medium-size to enterprise-level businesses who run multiple campaigns per year. Most digital advertisers agree that it’s important to change your ads frequently to avoid ad fatigue from your potential customers. Having that extra design muscle allows advertisers to stay fresh and relevant more often.

AdRoll Dynamic Ads

Dynamic ads allow you to show customized ads based on what your customers have already browsed. For example, if someone views a pair of shoes on your online store, not only can you show them ads for shoes, but the exact pair of shoes they previously viewed. Some online users believe that this is “creepy,” but the results don’t lie.

People click on dynamic ads far more than static ads. Based on AdRoll’s extensive data, dynamic ads have a 2x higher click-through rate and a 50% lower cost per acquisition than static ads. In fact, according to a recent report from Accenture, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history.

For an idea of what dynamic ads can look like you can view AdRoll’s dynamic ad gallery which is updated with real ads that are currently live on the web. You can click on each ad to see the landing page it takes you to.

Here is an example of how you can set up a dynamic ad in the AdRoll dashboard within 53 seconds:

AdRoll Integrations

If you already use platforms like HubSpot, Shopify, or Marketo you can add retargeting to your current marketing efforts with the touch of a button. AdRoll integrations allow you to add AdRoll services to the platforms and tools that you’re already comfortable with.

The integrations are always being updated and new integrations are constantly being added so it’s worthwhile to check the integrations page to see which ones are available.

How it all comes together to create performance marketing

At its roots, AdRoll is a marketing platform that is concerned with driving the best performance for their customers. Whether that’s achieved via prospecting, retargeting, email, ABM, or any of its other products isn’t as important as providing value to their customers.

Using AdRoll’s products together obviously drives the best results, but if you’d like to start by road testing just Prospecting or just Retargeting you can also use them individually. You can sign up for a free trial or chat with an AdRoll performance specialist who can advise you on which products might be the best fit for your business situation.

Once you’re setup, make sure your sending all your ads to personalized, message matched landing pages to optimize the visitor’s post-click experience. For that, a great platform is Instapage, as they allow you scale your landing pages and optimize your ad spend with complete ad attribution.

About the author
Bogdan is a Telly award-winning content strategist specializing in multi-channel campaigns. As Content Marketing Manager at AdRoll, Bogdan builds lead-gen campaigns, runs webinars, and writes on MarTech for the AdRoll blog. When he’s not busy at AdRoll, Bogdan enjoys climbing, working on his vintage motorcycle, and writing about life improvement topics at Medium.com/@bogdanyz

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