Ad Scent

Everyone knows that frustrating feeling when you’ve tested, reworked and tweaked your paid ads and still nothing. This is because we forget about our ad scent. Ad scent refers to the customer’s journey that takes them from your paid ad to your website.  

Terrible Marketing 

One of the most irritating things that can happen to a customer is to click on a link that leads to an apparently irrelevant page. Frustrating, eh? The promised “destination” and what was delivered is so incompatible that no conversions can happen; the customer will bounce immediately.

Truthfully however, every online “journey” has room to improve its ad scent.

Ad Scent? What’s that? 

Think of ad scent in terms of uniformity between the ad and the landing page; the path between the two must be smooth. If the “ride” is bumpy, then you stand to lose customers. 

This Comcast Business ad showcases a seamless transition from ad to landing page.  

Image Source: ACQUISIO

The landing page looks like the ad and keeps the main keywords: “Choose Any Internet” and the “$34.99”. It delivers what the ad promised to the customers: internet, phone + tv. 

Image Source: ACQUISIO

Grasping the importance of design, benefits and offer is the way to use ad scent effectively. 

Design/Presentation Scent 

Imagery plays one of the most important roles because you, the consumer must feel that you’re on the right path. The following four aspects should remain the same:

  • Font/Size/Color
  • Design
  • Arrangement
  • Color Scheme

Let’s look at this Facebook ad that takes us to a landing page to illustrate a journey with a good design scent:

Image Source: WordStream
Image Source: WordStream

This Facebook ad uses similar images in both the ad and landing page, which assures the customer that they are in the right place. Also, the color scheme is constant throughout the various elements on the landing page giving off the same scent all along the journey. 

The Benefit Aspect  

The relevance of this element is best illustrated by an effective car salesman! Before offering a car to a potential customer, the salesman listens closely to the client and observes body language to get a feel for what the buyer wants. The sales pitch only comes after this process.

Ads work the same way. By clicking on an ad, the customer expresses interest in that object, which means that the sales pitch needs to reflect the benefits advertised.

Image Source: Skillshare

Consider the following Facebook ad from the online learning community Skillshare.

But after clicking, the customer is taken to: 

Image Source: Skillshare

The customer is thrown off the scent since the landing page has nothing in common with the Facebook ad! The lack of consistency between the ad and landing page makes this a poor attempt at advertising even though both look good. There should have been a landing page with the same design match in order for the scent to remain the same! 


A common mistake by many marketers is to disregard the offer made in the ad, which leads to a higher rate of bouncing. You can simply reuse the same language from the ad or include in the landing page what you promised in the ad. Let’s take a look where the ad promises extremely cheap backpacks.  

Image Source: LighTake

The landing page drives the message home by keeping the promise found in the ad; a selection of cheap backpacks. This means that the customer won’t lose the scent. 

Contrast this with the following ad: 

Image Source: Easily Maker Money

The customer expects to be taken to a landing page for a product that creates voluminous and thick hair. Except, the customer is taken here:  

Image Source: Easily Maker Money

There is no connection between the shampoo products on the landing page and the ad. When advertising, always think about what the customer expects and what you are offering. If something doesn’t “smell” right, then you should rework one or all of the following elements of your ad: design, benefit and offer. The strategy outlined in this article is a surefire way to get everything up and running smoothly and grow your conversion rates.