Tyson Quick, CEO and Founder of Instapage on The Future of Personalized Advertising
Close

Tyson Quick, CEO and Founder of Instapage on The Future of Personalized Advertising

Tyson Quick is the founder and CEO of Instapage. As a lifelong marketer and entrepreneur, he has dedicated his career to creating value for other marketing strategists and practitioners.

Tyson is also the creator of the first-ever Advertising Personalization Classification System. discusses the increasingly powerful opportunity personalization is providing marketers to create more value for their personas.

Here are some of the topics discussed in this episode.

Landing Pages and Digital Advertising

Landing pages are the most effective tool for optimizing the ROI on your digital ad spend. They allow you to maintain the same level of personalization achieved by serving highly targeted ads towards a specific audience.

95% of the people that clicked on your ad – and our ads in the past – were dropping off. That’s a huge efficiency problem. Advertisers and ourselves were spending lots of time targeting the right people but we weren’t continuing that personalization the ad targeting created all the way through to conversion.

The answer was that we needed to create a unique page, a unique conversion page and landing page, for every single ad.

Instead of functioning as a website, landing pages operate as a natural, message-aligned extension to a piece of paid media. The copy, creative assets, and value proposition in each ad should always match exactly what is on the landing page.

The Future of Advertising Personalization

The future of advertising, and marketing in general, is perfect identity recognition. This will allow businesses to provide services and products that people actually want and need at the time that they want and need them.

With the advanced abilities for advertisers to promote solutions that meet their needs at the moment the ad is served, businesses might even be able to anticipate an almost guaranteed return on investments for each of their advertising campaigns.

Even with the most scary-thinking thing where advertisers have an indicator of someone’s likelihood of getting a disease, I think that there’s still going to be more pros than cons. It has yet to be determined, but if I look at history, and I think about how advertising has evolved, it’s only gotten better with more information.

More importantly, with consumers able to opt out of advertising,this level of personalization will make the internet better as a whole

But really, as marketers, most of us have some sinister plot to we’re annoy the hell out of someone. For the first time we can actually present you with products and services that are going to enrich and enhance your life. And you could always opt out of those.

Advertising Personalization Classification

On a scale of zero to five, this new system for classifying the level of personalization within digital advertising ranges from broad geographic targeting to advanced demographic information, specific niche interest, buying intent, and historical behavior patterns.

Ideally, companies could even use that information in a positive way by knowing something about you and offering a solution that is going to make you healthier and live longer. Imagine advertisers notifying you that you have a particular gene that’s going to lead to some sickness. and offering a discount to come to their hospital or see a doctor that specializes in that area.

As technology evolves, it’s possible that the future of highest level of personalization even includes genetic information, real-time health data, and that consumers opt into providing to ad networks to receive hyper-customized solutions for their pain points.

Transcript

Note: this transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.

Ander: As to be expected, the very, very first interview of Advertising Influencers features our fearless leader, our founder, and the CEO of Instapage, Tyson Quick. Tyson, how are you doing?

Tyson: Hey, what’s up everyone? I am doing fantastic and I am really excited to get this podcast off the ground. I’m also excited to be the first person that gets to be on.

Ander: I’ve just got to say, it’s great being in the office where we are basically surrounded by people who are so invested in advertising and advertising personalization and our mission, which is lowering the cost of customer acquisition.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. We have a fantastic team and we’re really focused on making advertising suck less. We really want to increase the relevancy of advertising and, in turn, lower the cost of customer acquisition for businesses.

Ander: Tyson, as the very first guest to come on the show, and as the founder of our company – let’s take a step back and hear about what brought you here, the sequence of events that led to you realizing why this solution was needed in the marketing technology landscape today.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great question.

It really came out of spending a few years at various different companies that I was developing and really finding that one of the core issues that we always end up having is efficiently and affordably acquiring new customers.

We really pinpointed it to the fact that, at some point, you have to start spending money to acquire customers. And, we found that we were able to do really good paid advertising and target people pretty effectively.

Where things started to break down was once they left the ad. They went to the place that we were pointing the ads to, we saw a massive drop-off in conversion rates. And so, we started looking at that problem and found that most businesses are still sending their advertising clicks to a general website and they’re only getting about an average conversion rate of 5%.

Ander: I think the average conversion rate for AdWords might even be lower than that.

Tyson: Yeah, it could be, and it’s hard to find some exact data around these statistics, but from all the research we’ve conducted and from our own experience, the average conversion rate from ad click to conversion is hovering around 3-5%.

That means that 95% of the people that clicked on your ad – and our ads in the past – were dropping off. That’s a huge efficiency problem. Advertisers and ourselves were spending lots of time targeting the right people but we weren’t continuing that personalization the ad targeting created all the way through to conversion. So we asked ourselves, how can we solve this problem?

The answer was that we needed to create a unique page, a unique conversion page and landing page, for every single ad. And in order to do that efficiently and at scale, we need to simplify all the processes within that problem. So we set up to build a platform that allowed marketing teams and agencies to build their page by choosing templates and customizing the design as well as get it online without needing any technical resources from the IT team. We build a platform that lets companies, teams and agencies build their pages, integrate their forms with third party marketing tools or sales tools, publish their pages online, and then of course A/B split test their page to increase conversions even further, because you can’t really assume that your first guess to what’s going to convert the highest is going to be the best.

The last piece of this puzzle is adding the collaboration necessary for a team to manage the project, and the deploying landing pages rapidly, quickly, constantly, just as fast as they can create an ad online.

Ander: Why paid? Why have you decided to dedicate so much of your time and so much of your career so far to paid acquisition and digital advertising? And I think a great way to answer that question or to hear your answer would be to hear your story – maybe to go back to the first time that you really encountered digital advertising and paid acquisition as a powerful channel for marketing and growth.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll kind of start by answering the question and then I’ll back into my story personally a little bit.

Ander: Perfect.

Tyson: So first of all, you know, it goes back to what I said: at some point, almost every single business is going to have to start paying for some customer acquisition, right?

Ander: SEO and all the other growth channels are still very powerful but they only go so far. Is that what you’re saying?

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. At some point, almost every business is going to have to pay to accelerate their sales. You can always do things like content marketing, organic type of things, but even if it starts working for you, it’s still not going to be enough to really grow your business.

At some point, you’re going to have to spend some money. In the United States alone, there is 60 billion dollars in digital ad spend every single year and growing. Businesses are spending by the billions and the problem is that the majority of that money, about 95% is just being wasted.

Google and some of the big ad networks love it. They are making billions of dollars, but companies are just still throwing money away.

I had started a few smaller companies previously, but immediately before Instapage I started a company called Jounce. We built a great product, a great tool, and got it out the door and it was growing a little bit from our organic efforts, including the content marketing that we were doing. And we realized it wasn’t growing fast enough. We were going to run out of money if we grow at that pace.

It wasn’t “If you build it, they will come.” That’s really no longer true in today’s world where we have a massive abundance of information. People are being bombarded with new products and services at an unprecedented rate. You’re going to have to probably put some money down to capture their attention, right? hat was our case at Jounce and so like I said earlier, we started spending money on advertising and we were able to target the right customer but we were sending all of these clicks to just two or three pages, when really we’re targeting, and our ads are using, dozens of different messaging and targeting different personas. And they would get to the two or three pages that we had and lose that ad to page personalization, right? It wasn’t speaking to them anymore. And they were like, ‘What am I doing here?’ And we were about to kind of just ‘spray or pray’ and some of the people would make it through, they would, you know, find the right message that they were looking for that the ad promised, but it just wasn’t sufficient. I was like, ‘This is not acceptable.’ 95%? When else would a business, in any other part of the business, spend a significant amount of money and only receive a 5% conversion rate or return on that investment, right? That’s just unthinkable.

That was our case at Jounce. We had started spending money on advertising and we were able to target the right customer but we were sending all of these clicks to just two or three pages, when in reality, really we were targeting our ads using a lot of different messaging and targeting dozens of different personas. They would get to the two or three pages that we had and lose that ad to page personalization. It wasn’t speaking to them anymore. We were about to kind of ‘spray or pray’ and some of the people would make it through and find the right message that they were looking for that the ad promised, but it just wasn’t sufficient.

I realized that this wasn’t acceptable. When else would a business, in any other part of the business, spend a significant amount of money and only receive a 5% conversion rate or return on that investment, throwing away 95% of their ad spend? That’s just unthinkable.

Ander: Why do you think not everyone has caught on to this idea yet? The concept of a landing page as ‘the page you land on when you click on an ad,’ may be one thing but actually having a landing page as a natural extension of an ad is something qualitatively new and different. why is not every single company in business doing this?

Tyson: I think there are a few reasons why. First of all, digital advertising has grown and developed rapidly over the past two decades while traditional advertising has been evolving for the last hundreds of years. Digital advertising has brought tons of new channels and new things, so people are still playing catch up.

Most people have not completely transitioned to a digital-first advertising strategy. People are still just getting caught up with SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and PPC using AdWords, so it makes sense that not everyone has adopted landing pages yet.

Some of these have come online faster because people have been able to deploy resources and educate their companies and hire for these new strategies. But the second reason is that, up until now, up until Instapage and landing page platforms were developed, there wasn’t an easy way to do this efficiently. It didn’t make sense.

Ander: There’s a great piece of data that in 2013 for every $92 people would spend on optimizing an ad, they would only spend $1 to optimize that landing page, which is silly because that’s where the conversion happens.

Tyson: Yeah, I think I read the same statistic. For about every dollar, only like two cents or something is spent on acquisition.

Ander: exactly.

Tyson: Another reason reason why is that it’s much easier to just increase your budget than try to personalize the entire ad click to page to conversion experience. Very few people have solved that problem.

If you want to personalize the experience from every single ad clicks, you’re going to have to plan it all out. You’ll have to get a designer and a front-end developer to take that design and turn it into a live page. You’ll need a back-end engineer to integrate our forms and do some of the interactive stuff to send our leads to a third-party service. You’ll need to figure out some type of technology to do any type of A/B split testing. And then, you’re going to have to figure out how to do the project management on top of all of those things to make it go smoothly.

All those things combined start to really add up. One single page in the past may have taken someone a couple of weeks. Even if it’s a couple of days, is that scalable? Probably not, right? The longer it takes, the less ROI it’s going to have in the first place.

Ander: Especially when you do so with our philosophy in that every promotion needs its own page.

Tyson: Absolutely. We truly believe that. And, in order for this to be a reality and in order for this to make sense, it has to be fast, simple, and effective. That’s really at the core of what Instapage is doing. We want to take all of those elements that I just mentioned, all of those stages in the development cycle, and reduce it to a very simple, straightforward process that a marketing team can do without needing technical resources.

A marketing team should be creative people, right? They’re thinking about messaging, they’re thinking about design, and that experience with the advertisement. You don’t need any of the technical resources, you don’t need a third-party agency or something to hire out to do this.

Ander: What do you think is the reason that personalization is becoming more increasingly important? And, we could break this down to a societal reason to global society as a whole but what do you think is contributing to the need us as marketers to change how we break through the noise to get our message out to the right audience?

Tyson: First of all, personalization has always mattered but it matters more today because we’re being exposed to so much more information and we have to really decipher what is relevant and important to us, and what’s not, more than ever.

But, really, at the core of it, is advertising still kind of sucks. And the reason why it sucks is because most of the time, it’s either not relevant to my interests or what I want to buy or need to buy or what I’m interested in.

But it’s also kind of annoying sometimes, right? The annoying part has been the core driver to the success of Facebook and Google. They’re creating advertising that is less annoying. With Google, you’re showing buying intent. You’re going to Google, you’re searching for something, so advertising there makes a lot of sense because you’re looking for something. You want it.

Ander: Of course.

Tyson: Even with their re-targeting campaigns, the person seeing the ad has already shown interest in something. And that can be annoying too if you do it too much and you’re following them everywhere. There’s a limit to that too.

Facebook, of course, has taken a slightly different route. They’re enabling advertisers to understand what you really like. For example, my girlfriend has been in a relationship with me for almost five years and she’s the average age of a female in the United States to get married, and so she’s now starting to see wedding rings and stuff on Facebook. And I asked her the other day what type of ring she likes and she showed me one she saw on a Facebook ad. That’s a really good example of being less annoying.

Think about Netflix and Amazon, and how they use these personalization algorithms to present you with products or movies that you may like. It’s saving you time and bringing something to you when it’s actually relevant.

People are already focused on that problem. But the other part about it being very relevant in the context of landing pages is when you do engage with an ad, it needs to continue to be relevant to you. It needs to match that advertising experience.

If it was that ring, I don’t want to click on that ring and then go to, a huge gallery of a bunch of different rings or, heaven forbid, their homepage. Maybe it’s the jeweler’s website and they don’t send you to a unique product page. You go to the homepage and you say, ‘Ok, what happened to that ring?’

Ander: The beauty of that example that you used with your girlfriend is you could be served an ad for the same product, but if you were to see that ad, it’s not because you’d be the one receiving the ring. It’s actually because you’re the one looking for the ring to give to the person who’s going to be receiving it. And targeted ads and landing pages can articulate the unique value proposition for you as an individual and your individual needs as it compares to your girlfriend’s.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. And the thing there is the advertiser would have to change the message in the ad and the landing page.

For her, it was all about showing the rings, because she has to decide what she likes first. But if they’re targeting me with that same ring, Facebook knows that I am in a relationship and I may be wanting to buy a ring.

So, the messaging has to change. If that ad copy says, ‘Hey, are you looking to get a ring for your girlfriend pretty soon?’ or ‘Are you ready to take the next leap?’ or whatever it is, and I click on ad and then I went to that page and that message was not still speaking to me, I’m going to be less likely to buy it.

If I click on the ad and go to the page and it says ‘Your girlfriend’s going to love this ring! Purchase it today!’ or whatever, I might buy it. But if I go there and it’s a plain page and focusing on other things, or it’s messaging to a female, I may just leave. It’s no longer speaking to me. A

People care about human experiences. We don’t like to go about our lives feeling like we’re being force-fed information on things. We care about stories. We care about what we want.

Ander: Right.

Tyson: We are self-centered entities. We’re living our own lives and thinking about what’s in it for us, is this worth our time?

Speaking to an individual matters more than it ever has because we have so much to process. And, advertising personalization matters tremendously to the success of this industry and to better people’s lives. In that scenario with the ring, like, that’s beneficial.

Ander: Well, you’re providing someone with something that addresses their individual pain points and individual needs and individual components of their lives, instead of providing a one size fits all product.

Tyson: Absolutely, and I’ve said this before to other people.

I tell them that most every single business or service has a customer that would want to buy that and get value from it. The problem in the past has been companies aren’t able to effectively reach those unique individuals to create a sizeable business. As a result, they end up converting maybe 30-50% of users that probably are not the most ideal customer but because they can’t reach all of the right customers and they have to just kind of capture as many people as they can, even if that product or service may not be the best fit for that person because they’ve got revenue to generate.

Instead, if you were able to save on your advertising without blasting it out to everyone and pinpoint those ideal customers and speak to them, you’ll convert at a higher rate, and you’re going to have the same amount of success, or even more, because more people are happy. More people got value out of the product and they weren’t conned into getting something that they don’t need or want.

Ander: And they’re going to have a higher lifetime value for your business.

Tyson: Absolutely. They’re going to be repeat buyers, they’re going to love you, they’re going to be brand loyalists and evangelists in the best case. It’s a win-win for everyone.

It’s important to note that advertising and marketing are not inherently bad, right? They’re not negative things. Again, right now it’s either distracting or not relevant.

In an ideal perfect world, we are being presented things that we may very well want. I might be interested in rock climbing – which I am – and at some point I may want some new shoes or something, I might want to be presented with a new product that’s going to make my rock climbing experience even better.

Maybe I don’t have time to go out and constantly stay up-to-date on the new product announcements in that category. But Facebook or some channel knows that’s an interest of mine. Maybe I’ve been to a particular brand’s website in the past, and they can say ‘Hey, let’s tell this guy that we have a new product out that’s going to change his rock climbing experience. He bought a shoe from us three years ago. It’s probably getting worn out by now. Let’s hit him up, let’s target him.’ Not someone else. They’re going to target me.

And then if I click on that ad and I go to that landing page page, then it continues there and maybe they say, ‘You’ve been here before. Here’s a discount for being a loyal customer.’ That’s a good transaction.

Ander: Yeah. There’s a lot of value in that for every single person involved.

Tyson: Absolutely.

Ander: Obviously, advertising personalization is becoming increasingly more important. But it goes beyond that. It’s becoming increasingly more essential to having successful marketing campaigns and breaking through the noise to let people know about your business and get your message to the right audience at the right time.

But beyond that, where is all of this going? What in your mind is the future of marketing and the future of personalizing products to meet people’s specific needs?

Tyson: Yeah, I’m actually really excited about where all of this is going. Some people think of it as Orwellian and it being kind of scary. But really, as marketers, most of us have some sinister plot to we’re annoy the hell out of someone. For the first time we can actually present you with products and services that are going to enrich and enhance your life. And you could always opt out of those. You can unfollow a business. Facebook lets you say that you don’t want to see ads from a specific person or business. Google has Chrome and they let you even install ad blockers. It’s forcing us advertisers to use that information and data properly to create good experiences.

And, advertising can be enjoyable. A good example is the Super Bowl. People love watching and talking about the Super Bowl ads, right? You don’t think about good advertising. You don’t feel like it’s an annoying thing.

I’m about to introduce a new advertising personalization classification system. No one’s ever done this It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot.

Over the last few hundred years we’ve been evolving the precision in which we can target people. And now, it really needs a classification system. From my point of view, there are a total of five stage. We’re at Level 4 out of Level 5.

Where we’re headed in the future is perfect identity recognition, an understanding of a person’s needs, wants, and purchasing behavior so we can really understand what they would want to see and nothing else. Going forward, we may know you by name and speak to you as a person would speak to you. A brand speaking directly to you and offering a some special deal just for you because you’ve been a loyal customer and you like this particular product and you’re the perfect age for it or whatever.

There’s so much data available now. And it may be scary to think about for some people, again, but I think level 5 may even include things like genetic information. Of course there are applications in which that that could be used negatively like people have talked about like genetic information altering the coverage that an insurance company could provide. That may be so, but I think there are more benefits from that than negatives.

Ideally, companies could even use that information in a positive way by knowing something about you and offering a solution that is going to make you healthier and live longer. Imagine advertisers notifying you that you have a particular gene that’s going to lead to some sickness. and offering a discount to come to their hospital or see a doctor that specializes in that area.

Even with the most scary-thinking thing where advertisers have an indicator of someone’s likelihood of getting a disease , I think that there’s still going to be more pros than cons. It has yet to be determined, but if I look at history, and I think about how advertising has evolved, it’s only gotten better with more information. And again, it’s still going to be up to the individual consumer to either opt out of that, or use ad blockers to indicate that you don’t want to see this.

Ander: It is a choice.

Tyson: Yeah, it is a choice. And I think it’s up to the consumers to demand that level of transparency and freedom to opt out, and I think we are successfully doing that. But I think that people are going to choose the benefits over some of the potential negatives. I think that we should be optimistic.

Consumers drive demand and if something’s not working, they’re going to change it, whether that requires not buying something from a particular business or going to government and to make sure that this particular information about us can’t be used to discriminate against things like health insurance.’

That aside, life is better when you are focused on things that you care about and things that are relevant to you as an individual, right? Life is already complicated and stressful enough that we don’t need to see tens of thousands of irrelevant, annoying messages. We just don’t need that.

Ander: No, we don’t. We have enough to look at. We have enough emails in our inbox every single day and I think that everybody is on the same page. We do want to have more opportunities to be provided with things that are actually valuable instead things that actually are relevant to our problems and our pain points, whatever they may be.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. I also want to talk about the future of where this personalization is going and more of how it impacts the business.

Imagine a future where a business could develop their product or service and then they could start advertising with almost a near guaranteed return on investment. So imagine if you have a product or service and you understand who the right buyer for this would be, where they’re located, and what the likelihood that they can afford this is. Everything I mentioned so far you can already do by targeting with digital advertising. And then you start paying for ads and you can guarantee that you can deploy a page or deploy the experience that’s going to capture that either lead or sale, in a low-cost manner with high likelihood of that click actually turning into a customer.

We think it’s possible that Instapage can help be the next big advertising efficiency multiplier. If we look at some of the statistics that we have. I think just over one out of every three people that click on an ad that come to our pages end up signing up to try our product or to attend a webinar. It’s even higher if you look at webinars. Almost 50% of the people that come to our webinar page actually convert.

Ander: And I’ve seen that conversion rate with my own eyes. That is absolutely true.

Tyson: Absolutely. So if we get to the point where 30-50% of everyone that comes to your conversion page is actually opting into your product, we’re going to change the dynamics of the ability for a business to succeed.

Ander: And, what I’m actually realizing right now during this conversation, is what’s going to happen as a result of that. The really, really good products are going to start standing out against the really bad ones.

It’s going to be way, way easier for us as consumers – whether we’re a business purchasing a SaaS product or a consumer purchasing something for our home, it’s going to become way easier for people to start sifting through all the noise out there to find things that are truly important to them. We’re going to spend less time looking for solutions because those solutions will fall into our lap.

Tyson: Yeah, absolutely. And, obviously we spend a lot of our time searching for things, whether it’s looking at something on the menu, or what new clothes I want to buy. We’re already starting to solve this problem. Look at retail with Amazon. Part of the reason why Amazon is so successful is because you don’t have to spend as much time shopping and sifting through the noise.

Another example is Yelp, with food. The reason why all these services are developing is that people don’t want to have to do so much information consumption and analyzing to make decisions. It’s a waste of our time, it’s stressful, and it creates anxiety.

Advertising done properly is going to do solve that problem for every product and service. In the future, if my car breaks down, my car should be a data point that indicates that I have an issue. And, can I opt into people to come bid for me coming and having that car serviced. They will say, ‘Hey we’re going to do this the cheapest for it. Let us come pick it up for you.’

In that case, take my money. They just saved me time, I don’t even have to think about that problem. No one quantifies the opportunity cost of products and services either. Think about the time wasted making decisions and then there’s anxiety around wondering if we made the right decision?’

Advertising done properly is personalized, super relevant, and it’s timely. At the end of the day, it’s meaningful and useful to a person’s life.

Ander: Awesome. Tyson, I agree with everything you’re saying, the rest of our team does here as well and that is one of the reasons why I’m so excited to be here and so excited to be sharing all of these ideas with everybody out there in the worldwide audience of all-star marketers that are also starting to work with these kinds of methodologies.

Tyson: Absolutely and I want to leave it on this note: I want advertisers and marketing managers and marketers all across the world to start having more fun. You know what I mean? Advertising and marketing, in my opinion, is one of the most exciting departments to work with within an organization because we either make or break companies at the end of the day. But we should be creating enjoyable, fun, unique, and exciting experiences for customers.

We’re story-tellers. Done properly, we’re going to be seen by the public as less sinister, less, manipulative types of people and more as people that are providing value to other people’s live by bringing them meaningful services and products when they need them or they want them that are going to improve their lives. If you look at really good advertising… Apple is a great example. They don’t tell you so much the specs of the product. They talk about how it’s going to improve your life. At the end of the day, it’s a phone. It’s a mini-computer in your pocket. But they tell stories, right? We’re story-tellers.

Ander: Aspirational messaging as opposed to informational value propositions.

Tyson: Yeah. Have fun with it. I’m sure excited about it. And I think that if we start having more fun again, the whole industry is going to thrive and continue to thrive. We’re going to get more respect from the public and we’re going to drive a lot of innovation. We’re going to continue to drive a lot of innovation within this industry.

Ander: Start having more fun. And that applies to life in general but that is obviously something for a different podcast.

Tyson: Absolutely.

Ander: Tyson, it has been a pleasure having you on as the very first guest of Advertising Influencers. And, there are many, many more to come from Silicon Valley and beyond and we’re all excited to be here.

Tyson: Yeah, thanks again Ander. It’s been a pleasure.

Sign Up for a 14-day Free Trial
Join 250,000+ other businesses who rely on Instapage.
Get Started