November 21, 2022

Need More Ad Clicks? Here’s how to Increase CTR and Engagement.

Email ads should do more than just serve impressions and fill white space for publishers. They should be compelling enough to drive ad clicks, engagement, and conversions, so you can build new customer relationships and earn revenue from each placement.

Especially now that Apple Mail Privacy Protection has largely made open rates obsolete, advertisers have no choice but to focus on optimizing clickthrough rates (CTR) and post-click behaviors. They just need the right strategies to make that happen.

Native email ads, in particular, are effective at cutting through the noise and driving engagement. As IAB reported, 84% of news consumers say seeing ads within news content can increase brand trust. And native ads are built to do exactly that — blend into publisher content to provide more intuitive customer experiences.

Email ad types

So, how can you optimize your native email ads to increase CTR and drive revenue?

Let’s take a look.

1. Generate emotion and curiosity

You only have a small amount of space and time within which to make an impact. So make sure your ads are built to elicit a specific emotion — be it fear, love, or curiosity. 

It may be tempting to take a neutral approach and try appealing to a wide audience. But then you risk appealing to no in particular and leaving valuable clicks on the table. The point is, your ad should quickly trigger a response in your consumer, enticing them to click through and learn more.

Some native networks do this well with their native website placements. These three ads below a USA Today article, for example, spark feelings of curiosity and intrigue with just an image and headline:

2. Focus on a specific stage of your marketing funnel

Email advertising is best used as a discovery channel. After all, when people engage with email newsletters, they’re reading educational, informative, or entertaining content, and discovering new ideas from trusted publishers.

That’s part of the beauty of email. It’s an opt-in channel that customers sign up to use. So you already know you’re reaching a high-quality audience of subscribers. Now you just have to reach them with ads that pique their interest and keep them moving along the marketing funnel.

3. Personalize ads for each target audience

Use personalization to build each ad for your audience based on their interests and demographics. You might reach older customers with ads that contain larger fonts, for example, or entertainment blog readers with references to current pop culture trends. It’s like targeting with creatives before targeting with tech platforms. And it’s a crucial part of launching campaigns that drive clicks.

According to our 2022 Digital Advertising Consumer Survey Report, over half of consumers want email content and ads to be customized to their interests — an increase from 42% in 2020. Publishers are leveling up their email personalization strategies, too. As a recent report from Jeeng and Digiday found, over 60% of publishers are delivering personalized copy, content, or offers based on people’s behaviors and demographics.

New call-to-action

4. Incorporate bright and colorful imagery to your email ads

Use eye-catching images that stop users mid-scroll and hook them into your ad experience. You can do this by incorporating bold colors, single-focus photos, and high-quality but fast-loading files into your campaigns.

Image design tips for Native email ads

5. Grab attention with short and catchy copy

Native email ad copy should grab people’s attention in just a few words, so you can get your point across and start generating those clicks. When it comes to ad headlines, remember to speak directly to your audience with words like “you” and “your,” and spark curiosity and urgency with terms like “secret” and “must-have.”

6. Follow through with informative landing pages

Successful ad campaigns do more than just drive clicks. They provide intuitive, post-click experiences all the way through to the landing page.

Instead of just sending people to your homepage or product page, for example, you can send them to a page of advertorial content. There, they can continue to learn more about the story of your brand and products, and decide if they want to make a purchase.

Just look at how wireless home security company SimpliSafe did this. They launched a minimalistic but visually striking ad, featuring their products against a bold background and brief, intriguing copy:

SimpliSafe Native ad

When users click through, they’re not just taken to an e-commerce platform but to a customized and informative landing page that’s chock full of content. It includes reviews from tech publications, interactive widgets for building your own security system, comparisons with other solutions, and clear call-to-action buttons like “Get started” and “Shop now.” Whew!

SimpliSafe landing page

With the right landing page, you can pull back the curtain on your brand and start to build relationships, not just clicks and one-off purchases.

Keep testing email advertising and optimizing for future clicks

Your CTR is an ever-changing metric. It’ll continue to evolve over time based on your ad strategies, customer behaviors, and optimizations. That’s why it’s important to keep testing new tactics for native email ads. So you can make the most of this engaging ad format and build long-lasting relationships with your target audiences.

Contact us to learn more!

2022 advertising survey report