Check out the ad above. I’ve been seeing it a lot recently. And it’s a really bad ad. By the time we’re done today, you’re going to get a look into my thinking on how I’d make it a really GOOD ad…
First, it’s time to get inside the customer’s head… And by that, I mean MINE!
To say I’m excited about getting fiber internet from this company would be an understatement…
Ever since I moved into my first apartment in 2001-ish, I’ve invested in high speed internet.
I’ve been online since the mid 1990s, when I was still in high school. (I remember how much faster a 56 kbps modem felt!)
I love multimedia, and one of the best places for me to find electronic music has always been the internet.
Plus, some or all of my work has been from home since at least 2005, so I’ve had a business justification for my need for speed.
I’ve craved fiber since long before it was even hinted at that we’d be getting it in our city.
The promise of super-fast speeds that made it so I wouldn’t have to think about loading and buffering times, or bandwidth, is hugely compelling to me.
Especially because in our neighborhood, squirrels love the coaxial cable — aka cable TV cable — that our internet comes through.
Every few years, they nibble through the cable’s outer layers until it causes intermittent outages and eventual failure of our internet signal.
The last time it happened, a couple years ago, the internet got worse and worse, but Time Warner was clueless. They kept blaming it on me and bad equipment. To the techs’ credit, they did try just about everything.
But it wasn’t until about the 7th call for a bad signal that they finally got a line tech out to accurately diagnose and fix the problem.
And for the last few months, the internet has seemed to be struggling again. Not quite bad enough that I’m ready to get Time Warner out… But bad enough that it is really enough annoying.
Part of my reason for not wanting to call Time Warner out is that I know Allo is coming.
I heard rumors last year that we were getting fiber throughout our city.
They city had installed conduit lines that would work for fiber internet and other utilities, and they had opened up bidding on the exclusive rights of one fiber provider to use the city conduit.
Then, late last year, the announcement came.
A western Nebraska company, Allo, was acquired at a high premium by a Lincoln-based company that was a major player in tech in the city.
And Allo won the bid to use the city conduit — with the first fiber roll-outs to take place this year. (The only downside to this for me is that a friend of mine is an insider at another company that was involved in the bidding, and I would have loved to have seen him win.)
Then, a little later, even better news.
Allo announced their first roll out area. And I’m in the tiny section of the city that will be the very first to get fiber internet!
I’ve literally watched the construction all spring, and get excited any time I see people out working on getting the network set up in our area… Even when I see “Allo” spray painted on the cement, with lines indicating where their lines are going under the cement in our neighborhood.
I am going to buy.
And in fact, Allo recently announced that of all the cities they’ve rolled out in so far, Lincoln has had the highest number of pre-orders per capita. In fact, they’re already at double the number of “customers” they expected, and they haven’t even run a single fiber line to a single house, as far as I know.
Which brings us back around to that ad.
Almost no matter how bad their ads are, Allo is likely to be successful.
They have an effective monopoly on fiber internet in the city. Others are now coming in trying to compete on fast internet, with Windstream, the biggest DSL player in the city, now offering 1 gig service, too.
But Allo is locally-owned. They’ve also committed to not playing price games (which Windstream and Time Warner both most definitely do).
They’ve committed to a community focus, and good customer service.
In Nebraska, those are winning corporate values. (They probably are elsewhere, too — but a lot of companies forget about them, especially the bigger companies.)
So Allo is going to be installing fiber internet as fast as they can, for as long as it takes to roll out.
That said, why run inferior ads when you could spend the same amount of money running better ads, and get a better result?!
So, let’s talk about the ad above.
It’s “hip.” It’s “cool.” Some ad agency is probably pretty dang proud of it.
Those kids today, on the internets, like to say things like “game changer.” And, they like to do it to make it look like it’s from the dictionary, by breaking it into syllables, and labeling it with the part of speech.
Let’s forget for a moment that the rest of the ad, if you’re going to adopt that theme, should look like a definition — which it does not.
Instead, let’s think about what the headline of an ad should do.
If you’re actually looking to generate measurable business results from your advertising, you should go with what’s most likely to generate results.
And that’s to convey a benefit, and spark curiosity.
While some ads (especially blockbuster ads in direct marketing savvy markets) break these rules to great effect, you should typically start with the benefit-curiosity formula, and test away from that. It’s the exception, not the rule, that a different (MAYBE more creative) approach will outperform benefit-curiosity.
But if I had a gun to my head and was FORCED to get results or the trigger would be pulled, I’d think of what the most-desired benefit of my target market would be, and find a way to speak to that such that my target market IMMEDIATELY knew it was for them. And present it in such a way that they were curious to learn more.
So… Who is the target market for fiber internet?
People who want faster internet. And probably, people who use bandwidth-intensive online services, such as streaming video sites.
What do they most want?
My guess is their most-desired benefit is fast internet. With a secondary benefit of cost. Combine those two benefits, and fortunately for our example here, Allo is definitely going to be the best option in town.
So, for the headline, I’m going to plug this into the ol’ noggin, and see what I come up with…
Everything on the internet, faster.
Browse this website, faster.
Watch YouTube, with no load time.
Imagine: instant access to all of Netflix, zero buffering.
That’s a start.
If you want faster internet — or have ever had to deal with slow loading on any of those common high-bandwidth sites — you’re going to be curious about what’s next.
For BRANDING purposes, I like “Everything on the internet, faster.”
You could even do a series of ads… “Netflix, faster.” “YouTube, faster.” “Facebook, faster.” … And so on.
The whole idea is that you’re hooking people in on the promise of faster access to the services where they’ve been most likely to run into bandwidth issues from their current internet service.
Plus, if you’re rotating ads, they’ll be less subject to banner blindness.
And it might just be because I’m in the target zip code for first installation, but they’ve been running a TON of versions of this ad. Sometimes, I’ll load a webpage and have 3 different versions of this same ad, in different banner areas, on a single webpage.
After the headline, you need to pay it off in what you say next…
Because the current ad was too focused on being creative and not enough on the message, they simply took a big leap and made generic statements about what services would be available.
First was the vague “Introducing the power of fiber.” Which means a lot if you already know what they’re talking about. But it means very little for anyone who is not paying attention to the leading edge of internet technology — which is a much bigger section of the population, and a much bigger potential customer base.
You need to be specific about the benefit. Power words, common in advertising, such as “introducing” and “power” are trite puffery if not tied directly to the feature and the benefit it provides.
Then, the ad has the most common and undifferentiated trifecta of services available today: “Internet + TV + Phone”… Whooptie doo! EVERYBODY offers that. There’s nothing unique about that, and it gives me no reason to be excited.
Here’s what I recommend instead, to pay off “Everything on the internet, faster.”
“Our slowest internet is 2.73 TIMES faster than the average Lincoln cable internet user’s. Our fastest is 27.3 times faster. And you may pay LESS by switching.”
“YouTube videos load up to 27.3 TIMES as fast with Allo’s new Lincoln, NE fiber internet.”
This is based on stats I pulled off speedtest.net, in 5 minutes’ research.
These very specific numbers lend a ton of credibility to the promise of a faster internet.
You could also use the DSL numbers.
You may even be able to target based on ISP, so they’re getting a comparison to the kind of internet they’re currently using.
Now here’s the really important part — asking for action!
The current ad offers nothing more than “Get Allo” as a vague call to action. Which is a bit of a farce, because nobody can get Allo yet.
So instead, I’d recommend being hyper-specific with a promise of a functionality that I know is on their site: searching for your address, to see how soon you can get fiber installed at your house.
“First installations, Summer 2016. See when we’re coming to your neighborhood.”
“Check availability now.”
This has the added benefit of being a very low-threshold commitment on the part of the user. They don’t have to believe they’re going to sign up before they click — which is a very high hurdle. They simply have to be curious about when they could sign up at their house — a very low hurdle.
This makes it super-easy, psychologically, for them to decide to click.
And in fact is sparks curiosity that can be paid off easily on the site. Not only that, it gets them starting to enter personal information, which sets them up for entering even more contact information for future follow-up.
So, let’s look at the “Before and After” results of our makeover…
Introducing the Power of Fiber.
Internet + TV + Phone
Everything on the internet, faster.
Our slowest internet is 2.73 TIMES faster than the average Lincoln, NE cable internet user’s. Our fastest is 27.3 times faster. And you may pay LESS by switching.
First installations, Summer 2016. See when we’re coming to your neighborhood.
Check availability now.
Yes, I know mine is more copy intensive (what did you expect?!). That said, folks like Fisher Investments have done VERY well with longer copy in banner ads, and this is consistent with that.
If branding was really important, you could still find a way to work the logo and corporate colors into the design of mine, too.
That said, which would YOU be more likely to click?
I’d be willing to bet that if the folks at Allo were to run these two in a head-to-head test, mine would beat their “control” hands-down, resulting in a higher click-through rate PLUS more sign-ups to be notified when installation is available.
And — as the roll-out continues — a much higher percentage of households in any given neighborhood switching to their fiber internet services….
Seen any bad ads you’d like to see get a makeover?
I’ve wanted to do this here for a while. This ad really jumped out at me. In part, because I really am excited to become a customer. And, because they’ve been HAMMERING me with this ad, as I’m sure they have many other internet users in Lincoln.
And finally, because I saw so many opportunities for improvement.
If you’ve seen an ad you’d like to see made over by me, send me the image (jpg or png) to Roy@RoyFurr.com.
If I think it’s a fit, I’ll feature my makeover in a future essay, and give you credit for sending it in.
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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