Reverse-Engineering Your Online Advertising Strategy

Want to Reverse-Engineer Your Online Advertising Strategy? We Can Help!

Aesthetically pleasing ad copy is often the focus when creating effective PPC, or so we think… Have you ever considered that starting by looking at what customers are already responding to rather than concentrating on what ‘may’ catch the customer’s eye could in fact enhance your future success rate?

Advertisers fundamentally work in one direction. They formulate an advertising concept with an ad that suitably matches the content of the desired landing page. They then aim to fill in the missing pieces between the chosen ad and a completed sale (landing pages, sales collateral, lead magnets and others).

From there, the focus shifts towards ways in which things can be improved. For instance, if an ad has received a poor click-through rate, an advertiser may look to amend the ad copy in order to boost its desirability to the user, or alternatively if there aren’t enough people signing up to an email list, then the lead magnets may be altered.

All of these tweaks however, work on the assumption that the advertiser already knows exactly what their customer wants which can often be far from the truth. Many large organisations recognise this fact and as a result they typically utilise surveys and focus groups to better understand their target audience. Whilst this may yield more accurate results, there are certainly better alternatives that can enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

By reversing your advertising process, you will avoid spending time on developing methods that ‘may’ catch the customer’s eye, as you will start by analysing what customers are already responding to on your website’s landing pages.

Analysing Your Website

A good place to start is with your own website. By looking at the messaging on the top-performing pages on your site (for example when tracking conversion rates on Google Analytics), you can examine how many people landed on a particular page and then went on to convert on your site. Essentially, this report will immediately tell you which of your pages are most aligned with the desires of your customers.

From here, you can begin to reverse-engineer your advertising by deciding on the suitable elements necessary (for example: the main message of the page; how people will get to the page; who will visit the page and so on). Once these elements have been identified for a specific page to deliver the results needed, advertisers can then use the corresponding information to formulate a meaningful ad that will engage with end users.

How To Identify The Right Ad Strategy

In short, encouraging customers to click on your ads is not the ultimate goal – your objective is to ensure that people convert or ideally make a purchase directly. Unfortunately, if users are not converting, every click paid for is a complete waste of resources.

Hence, we suggest that using your landing pages as a means of picking your ad messaging can be a highly effective method.

In this case however, we stipulate that rather than changing your landing page to match your ad and split testing your landing page to assess how different versions affect your conversion rate, you should in fact maintain your landing page as a constant and test different ads instead.

The process is simple. Identify one of your top landing pages and create several varied ads that match the messaging of said page. Then, simply set up a split test in your ad platform of choice and identify which produces superior conversion rates.

For this test however, when considering that we attempting to reverse-engineer our advertising, we must assume that the conversion rate of the landing page is influenced directly by the quality and type of traffic sent to it. Essentially, if ads are sending better traffic to the landing page, then the conversion rate will also improve.

A test such as this is easy enough to set up. It is also important to note that you must analyse ‘how’ different ads may be influencing your conversion rate. You may wish to consider the following criteria when examining intricate differences between your ads:

  • How the messaging differs between ads
  • The difference in expectations created by ads for your landing page
  • How the ads prepare users to take the next step towards converting


With your current customers having already given you a shed-load of information on what encourages them to convert, it can certainly be considered as beneficial to use that data to re-engineer your advertising strategy to engage fully with your audience. It will ensure that resources are utilised most effectively and could give an important foothold in the competitive marketplace.