You can do everything right in your advertising plan — target the right users, deep-link to the ideal product pages and create great ads — and still see users clicking on your ads only to quickly leave your site.
The average bounce rate for social media, nearly 50%, is normally two to three times higher than for other sources. And ad costs are rising dramatically: Some brands are seeing ads that cost five times more than in past years to drive the same amount of traffic. In fact, most ecommerce brands are barely getting 2X-3X gross profit return on ad spend in 2022.
So before you invest in another social ad campaign, consider investing in your UX first. But what exactly needs investment? What needs to change?
Understanding Users’ States of Mind When They Encounter Your Ads
Social ads catch users at the point when they are blissfully scrolling their feeds. Unlike with search ads, users aren’t trying to shop at that moment, so the experience your ecommerce store offers should be equally delightful if you want them to continue the session and look for the product they are ready to buy.
When they click on an ad on Instagram, they’re taken from an environment that’s smooth, delightful and intuitive to an environment that’s much harder to navigate. They encounter friction and inconvenient formats, a design that differs and UX that requires the user to actively (and frustratingly) look for things that should be easier to find. Social media does all of this for the user, creating a dopamine boost. And when they navigate to an ecommerce site that disrupts the dopamine boost, they’ll simply close the site and go back to social media.
Understanding user expectations is key for ecommerce companies to know how their websites are performing and optimize the experience they’re offering.
Improving Your UX to Boost Advertising ROI
It’s key that users are able to continue the delightful, smooth experience users have on social media if ecommerce sites want to see conversions from their ads.To improve ROI on your ads and stop losing money because your site fails to keep up with the experience Instagram offers, focus your UX strategy in three ways:
1. Keep your eye on up-to-date design patterns.
Big Tech sites almost always have a rounded style, a single color palette and not too much clutter. Design is consistent, so much so that if you saw a piece of Instagram content out of context, you would be able to place it right away. Most ecommerce sites, though, aren’t so consistent; the average one is a mess of colors, banners, discount badges and annoying pop-ups. Learn from Big Tech design patterns and you can begin to adapt your own pages to make users feel more at home.
2. Tailor site interactions for mobile.
People are now using their mobile phones as the primary device for browsing and buying — not just for social media. In 2021, 79% of smartphone users made online purchases on their devices. Because Big Tech platforms are well adapted to make purchasing easy and quick, when you design (and redesign) your site UX, think about how a user will navigate it on their phone and how to make their purchase quick and easy too. How can you simplify? How can you guide them down the page toward your action points? Do you have good back navigation and a clear menu?
3. Anticipate the user’s needs with AI.
Big Tech uses AI all the time to make its processes and experiences more efficient and more in line with the user’s preferences; sites like Instagram, Google, and Amazon are constantly mining their users’ clicks and interactions for real-time feedback about what’s trending and what a given user intends to do. Then, they adapt their UX accordingly to anticipate the user’s needs. But AI isn’t just reserved for certain companies. Now you don’t have to build a solution yourself to keep up with the AI trends, because you can use one of the solutions in the market that can build AI-driven UX for you, helping you build a significantly smarter UX.
Big Tech may have changed consumer preferences and expectations, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the web can’t build a UX designed to meet — and exceed — these expectations too. By smoothing the gap between users’ experience on social and their experience on your website, you’ll empower them to engage with your brand for longer — and encourage them to turn that engagement into a conversion. Investing in technology and strategies can yield upwards of 5X gross profit ROI. So before you spend your next dollar to get $2 to $3 back, ask yourself if you should invest it in UX technology and get a return of $5 or more.
Peter Szalontay is the DataGoat at DataMilk, which empowers ecommerce sites to build AI-powered UX.