November 30th, 2010
Marketers have been using sex as an advertising tactic from day one, but I beg to ask the question, did it ever really work? Did the sex sells tactic show a higher return on investment?
Let’s looks at a few ads from various time periods / mediums and ask ourselves, “Does this ad make me want to buy the product?”
I’m sure it gets your attention, but would it make you buy the computer?
Here is an example of a TV ad from the 1960s selling aftershave. Would it make you buy this aftershave?
Take a look at this modern day ad for Axe Body Spray. Notice the similarities, but still ask yourself would this ad make you buy this product?
Historically, ad agencies would tell you that it does and show you some very broad data meant to make you feel warm & fuzzy inside and confident in your investment. Back then, no one could tell you what was being generated towards your bottom line.
With the birth of Internet and digital advertising, in the form of Google Adwords & Facebook Ads, we can now tell exactly when certain advertisements generate a return. Using these tools, we can finally test if sex really does sell.
Here are some quick Facebook facts:
With that many active users, Facebook has become an emerging option for online advertising. Businesses can choose their target demographic and Facebook will display their ad to those users. In this new approach to advertising, can we still find marketers using ads that use sex to sell? Yes.
Over the last few months, I gathered screen shots from various Facebook accounts of ads that speak to this:
Yes! According to a case study by Jeremy Schoemaker at Shoemoney.com, more than 60% of users click on the ad that contains a female with cleavage. The researcher showed samples of users’ 5 different pages of Facebook Ads that allotted to a total of over 200,000 page views.
In fact, these ads did. Schoemoney generated a number of campaigns with ads using sex to sell. They performed with a high click through rate, but more importantly, the traffic converted into leads.
Does this mean you should start a Facebook Advertising campaign using sexy women to sell? No. Facebook advertising can be tricky and if you’re not careful, it can get expensive quickly.
However, I suggest you keep this knowledge in mind when you are crafting up your own online advertisement, be it a Facebook ad, a banner display, or a video ad. In fact, it would be best to test this tactic yourself as all marketing efforts can be highly situational.
That old ad agency never had access to analytics and tracking like we do these days. So, take advantage of it; track and test every online marketing campaign for your company. Once you find a combination that generates a strong return, begin testing again to see if you can improve it even more!
Have you had experience in using Sex to Sell? I encourage you to please share your own experiences in the comment section below or write your own blog post about it.
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