As marketers, we think of success in metrics — key performance indicators such as impressions, click-throughs, and conversions. When, however, is the last time that we’ve thought about marketing and advertising on a more personal level? Specifically: when have we purchased products because of digital marketing campaigns?

I’ve been mulling over that question for the past few days, and I’ve discovered that the path from digital marketing campaigns to purchasing is a bit more complicated that I originally thought. I’ve broken down three of my recent paths to purchase below, but I really want to hear about YOU. What digital marketing or advertising campaign caused YOU to buy a product? Let’s start a conversation!


Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns: The Banner Ad

I’ll be the first to admit that I very rarely click on banner ads. I’m not alone. In the United States, banner ads earn the astonishingly low clickthrough rate of 0.04%. This means that a banner ad is viewed a whopping 2,500 times before it’s clicked on. However: if a banner ad’s placement is a thoughtful one that complements a website’s content, the ad is, as Hubspot’s Dharmesh Shah writes, “contributing to — not detracting from — a robust inbound marketing strategy.” Additionally, if a banner ad focuses on providing quality information to a consumer instead of selling a product, it will be more successful.


One of the clear paths to purchasing I went down was when my child was an infant. Since I’m a first-time mom, I spent all my time on baby message boards. On these message boards, I saw — surprise, surprise! — a JOHNSON’S® banner ad that touted the company’s 3-Step Routine that was proven to help babies sleep better at night. I clicked on the ad to learn about this 3-Step Routine, and I ended up purchasing one of its featured products the next time I went to the grocery. Just in case you’re wondering, the product in question was JOHNSON’S® BEDTIME® Moisture Wash. This JOHNSON’S® banner ad followed the previously mentioned rules above: it complemented the website it was found on, and it focused on content that was useful to the consumer: me!


Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns: The Retargeting Ad

Retargeting ads frequently use the same real estate as display ads (including banner ads, which I discussed earlier). However, at 0.7% (compared to 0.07%), they tend to have much higher clickthrough rates than other types of display ads. Successful digital marketing campaigns quite frequently include retargeting in their arsenal.

While watching television with my then-toddler (Do you see a theme here? All of the purchases I’ve made from successful digital marketing campaigns — and marketing campaigns in general — have been for my daughter!), I saw a commercial for a Peppa Pig Princess Castle Playset. The next day, I found it on Walmart’s website during my lunch break. I promptly forgot about it until a few days later, when it began to follow me around the internet. I ended up purchasing it as a Christmas present for my daughter through one of the retargeting ads, and she’s really enjoyed playing with it.


Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns: The Affiliate Link

Word of mouth marketing remains one of the most valuable forms of marketing. In an increasingly digital world, affiliate marketing has the capability to work as a successful word of mouth marketing tool, and media conglomerates have taken note of this in the past few years. In late 2016, The New York Times purchased The Wirecutter, a website that provides well-researched recommendations for consumer electronics and more. The Wirecutter makes its money from “affiliate links, which generate revenue when consumers click on them and make purchases via e-commerce sites like Amazon.”

In the past few months, I made some internet purchases through affiliate links on Publishers Weekly, a review-based website that’s ubiquitous in the world of book publishing. I follow Publishers Weekly on Twitter, and when they tweeted about their best books of 2022 roundup, I followed the link to see if I could find any for my daughter. Based on the book reviews, I selected two of the listed books and purchased them via affiliate links found on the Publishers Weekly website.


Successful Digital Marketing Campaigns: Let’s Start the Conversation

I’ve talked enough about my e-commerce habits! What about yours? What are some of the last things you purchased online? What was your path to purchasing? Did you see a television commercial for something you wanted to buy? Did someone share a post on Facebook that included a product you desired? Post a comment below!




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