Different advertising activity targets customers at different stages of their purchase journey. Not every person is ready to purchase a product and your marketing activity needs to reflect that. To understand the purpose of different activities with respect to customer intent we can consider the advertising funnel.
What is an Advertising Funnel?
An advertising funnel, like the one pictured at the top of this page, considers the objective of your advertising. For example do you want awareness among consumers, interest from consumers, buying consideration or just to show to those ready to purchase. Consumers may enter the advertising funnel at any stage depending on where they are on their purchase journey.
Ad Formats & Different Objectives
Different Ad Formats are better at driving different objectives. Google Shopping Campaigns and Google Search campaigns are intent driven ad formats. These are better at driving purchases because they target users searching for the products you sell. Whereas Google Display, Facebook Display and YouTube are better for interest and awareness because you’re getting in front of users even when then they’re not searching for your specific products. A mistake businesses often make is trying to drive revenue with all of their advertising efforts. That’s like trying to hammer in a nail with a hammer, screwdriver and spanner. Different tools have different functions.
Let’s look at each of these advertising objectives and consider what goals, metrics and ad formats are appropriate.
We’ll start with the pointy end of the funnel and look at advertising that only focuses on driving purchases. When working with smaller budgets, the first place to start is with consumers already ready to buy. These are consumers that know the specific product they want and perhaps where they want to buy from. The best way to identify those ready to purchase is with highly specific search terms.
To get in front of those searching for specific products or brands you’ll need to look at Google Search and Google Shopping Ads. Google Shopping Ads match your product titles to a user’s search. The more detail in your product titles, the more likely they are to match to a specific search term. To set up Google Shopping Ads you’ll need a product feed. To improve the likelihood of driving conversions you’ll need an optimised Shopping Feed. You can use a software solution like Feedops to optimise your product feed at scale.
Search Ads can also be used to reach those at the purchase stage of the advertising funnel. Long-tail keywords can be created to match the ways that users search. For example, a purchase focused Search campaign could contain your brand as a keyword. These campaigns would focus on consumers who are already aware of your brand and know they want to purchase from you.
Goals + Metrics
At this stage of the advertising funnel your goals are conversions and revenue. The bid strategies you set and the optimisations you make to your advertising should be to drive more revenue. For more information on why this should be your goal when starting out read our blog on setting a goal for your digital advertising.
Metrics to consider are of course conversions, revenue and conversion value/cost to make sure that your ads continue to be profitable.
Consideration and Interest
There are limitations to targeting only purchases. There are only a limited number of individuals ready to purchase. To scale your business you need a balance between revenue generating campaigns and those that find new customers to grow your business. Getting in front of customers who are in the research/consideration phase of their purchase journey can help support your revenue generating campaigns.
Like advertising with a purchase objective, you can reach consumers considering their purchase through Google Search. However, the keywords and bid strategy of these campaigns may be different.
Consideration and Interest focused campaigns may contain broader keywords. This will help target consumers who may not know what they want to buy yet or who to buy from.
Purchase Campaign Keywords
As mentioned above, long-tail keywords with product identifiers could be used to drive purchases. E.g. [Maple Fender Stratocaster] or [Fender Stratocaster Polar White]
Consideration Campaign Keywords
Not everyone knows what specific product they want yet. For example, before searching for the terms above they may search for [Fender Guitars] or [Best Guitars]. Having an ad that targets these broader keywords means you’re reaching the consumers during their research phase and may influence their purchase decision later down the track.
Goals + Metrics
At this stage of the advertising funnel, your goal may be to drive traffic to your website, whether it be at a product or category level. You can then look at remarketing campaigns to capitalise on this traffic while they’re considering their purchase.
Relevant metrics to consider for these campaigns may be clicks, repeat visitors and CTR%. You may want to look at optimisations and bid strategies that drive traffic at the lowest cost rather than necessarily drive purchases. These campaigns will support the campaigns that do drive revenue.
If your goal is to generate brand awareness or awareness of certain product lines, it can be more cost effective to create campaigns where that is the only goal. Although you will generate some awareness through Google Shopping and Google Search, you’re limited to reaching people already searching for your products and keywords. Awareness campaigns can target impressions or views at the lowest cost.
The best ad formats for reaching the most people are display and YouTube campaigns. This could include Google Display, Facebook, Instagram or new media sources such as TikTok. The cost per view and click is often a lot lower than through Google Shopping and Search but they’re not as effective at driving revenue.
Goals + Metrics
As mentioned above, the primary goal of these campaigns is to drive awareness and to get your brand in front of relevant audiences. The metrics to consider would include impressions, views and cost per view to make sure you’re reaching users in the most cost effective way possible.
Advertising Funnel; Final Word
Digital advertising is not one campaign type, it isn’t one budget nor goal. To scale your business you need a balance between revenue generating campaigns and those that find new customers to grow your business. However we know this may not always be possible for those working with smaller budgets. That’s why we have two solutions available to online businesses. Feedops for those that want to focus on Shopping Campaigns and purchase objectives. We also have RQmedia which is a full funnel advertising solution to help businesses looking to scale with multiple campaign objectives.