Understanding The Marketing Funnel

 

Before we dive into the variety of digital channels that can help you complete your marketing goal it is vital to understand the fundamentals of marketing funnels. This demonstrates how channels work together to influence online consumers to take a conversion action on your website. In this diagram, you see how different objectives will play into influencing a purchase.

 

The top of the funnel marketing solutions accomplish the goal of broad awareness, they are meant to peak the interest of masses that may have a need for your products or services. Targeting parameters for these types of ads are based on audience demographics & interest based activity.

The middle of the funnel marketing solutions accomplishes the goal of considerations, users who are actively searching for the product you offer. Google, Bing and other Search Engine Marketing advertising platforms fall into this category because they are Intent-based solutions. Meaning, they allow the use of specific keywords to target these types of users who are actively searching for those phrases. Behavioral targeting is also considered a middle of the funnel solution because you can target users visiting website competitors or taking part in other activity that can put them in an audience behavioral group that can be selected on ad networks.

Bottom of the funnel solutions focuses on the goal of conversion. The targeting parameters are made-up of users who have interacted with one of your brand’s digital properties (websites, landing pages, social channels, etc). This type of targeting can be remarketing or even marketing automation based on the pages or products they visited on your site.T here are also strategies within Ad Platforms, such as Google’s maximum conversion setting. This tool uses artificial intelligence to learn the behavioral trends of users who have historically converted and looks to target other users that exhibit this behavior.

Now that you have a clear understanding of how multiple channels formulate the marketing funnel, let’s continue!

Awareness Goal:

Driving recognition of your brand is both an important step to introducing yourself to the masses and experimenting with target audiences. A great way of measuring brand recognition comes down to CPM (Cost Per Thousand users reached). Examples of awareness-based advertising options include.

 

  • -Facebook & Instagram: Running ads across FB and IG is seamless, as advertisers can take advantage of marketing on both platforms from the Facebook Ad Network (yes, IG is owned by Facebook). I recommend using ad objectives, “brand awareness” and “reach”, paired with single image/video ad formats as a great way to reach the masses and inform users of your product or service. This setting is also a great way to test two types of ad creative against each other to see which performs better.

 

  • -Youtube Ads –  Youtube is a great way to get on the small screen in front of large audiences. By pairing various targeting methods, such as demographics, website topics, placements & keywords, brands can target audiences efficiently. Youtube offers unique ad formats like TrueView that pairs videos ads and display ads together on a Youtube video page. Best of all, you’ll only pay for users who watch your ads, unless skipped before 6 seconds, I talk more about youtube marketing in this video.

 

Pro tip: ensure your logo/product is present within the first 6 seconds of the video to promote your company even if the ad is skipped.

 

  • Google Display Network – The Google Display Network is a full funnel solution but excels when it comes to broad awareness. GDN is most commonly used for remarketing ads that can be seen across billions of digital properties. Like Youtube, GDN can be layered with demographic & interest targeting to be used as a cheap way to reach your target audience.

 

  • Linkedin: The king of business relationships presents brand awareness opportunities for B2B businesses that other social media sites don’t offer as effectively. When industry/job role targeting is paired with the website click objective, audience and message will be tested, allowing you to analyze your impact. this can be a great way to test audiences and messaging. Linkedin relies heavily on thought leadership to engage its audience. For brand awareness, consider using an explanation video of your company or product to peak interest.

 

Consideration Goal:

 

  • Groundtruth Geofencing Ads: Most ad networks have location-based targeting parameters, but Groundtruth has one of the most powerful real-time, location-based ad networks. The network can serve both banner & video ads to people who enter or pass by a point of interest, street and even buildings, including big-box competitors stores. This solution is especially ideal for brick & mortar stores who rely on foot traffic and are looking to leverage digital tools to their advantage.

 

  • Pro-Tip: By using in-Store Visits as your KPI, you can measure the effectiveness of your digital ads and how they impact foot traffic.

 

  • Premium Publishing Partners – Ever wonder how products from startup companies get recommendations or nods from Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine or your favorite media outlet? Chances are, they paid for ad placement on those sites! Many featured products on media sites have paid agreements to have sponsored content (articles, videos, reviews) made by their editorial teams. These placements will often run you 5 to 6 figure commitments. However, unlike banner ads, sponsored content is highly effective when trying to reach niche audiences who are actively interested in what you have to sell.

 

  • Pro-Tip: Publisher pricing is ultimately broken down into a CPM. It’s not uncommon to see $35+ CPM rates and, more often than not, the publishers cannot guarantee results (not what your boss wants to hear). My recommendation is to use link tracking to attribute conversions directly to users who read the articles and clicked through to your website to prove the worth of media partnerships.

 

  • Google Shopping Ads: I find these ads very effective for e-commerce shops assisting in consideration and conversion. These allow stores to upload a live feed of their inventory to Google, which then allows the product to show up on Google searches.

 

  • Pro Tip: Product feeds can be tricky to optimize, there are many third-party services that can help you with the management of your feed.

 

Conversion Goal:

 

  • GroundTruth: In Store Visits – I had previously mentioned that GroundTruth’s location-based ads are effective at driving consideration to people passing by your store or brand awareness by targeting your competitor’s physical store foot traffic. The ad network has one more powerful trick up its sleeve: the ability to use store walk-ins as a conversion, making it the perfect way to measure the effectiveness of the ad!

 

  • Co-Branding With Premium Publishers: Paid media partnerships are not only effective for brand awareness, but I have found the conversion rate to be high compared to many other channels. In fact, one of my clients saw a 15%+ conversion rating for these types of offerings. Generally, co-branding partnerships include being named as a preferred vendor/resource, part of a list of top tools for the audience or even an offer for a free trial directly on their site. Here’s an example of a co-branded partnership with our client Quantamize & Benzinga.

 

  • Remarketing is a highly talked about ad practice that deserves its own little section of the playbook because of how effective it can be for your business.  Remarketing allows you to advertise to people who are interacting with your website and is a tool available within virtually every ad network. The biggest mistake I see is when marketers deploy a tracking code and simply think “I’m good to go”. Instead, I recommend going a step further by building multiple audiences within Google Analytics based on website behavior, traffic referral source, and conversion history. By doing this, you can now test your business’s most engaged audiences to find out which ones are the most profitable. Below, I’ll go over some ad networks that you can start remarketing on:

 

  • Facebook Remarketing: If you’re an e-commerce company, using the “Catalog Sales” objective on Facebook is paramount. This feature will allow you to retarget ads “Amazon Style”, by showing users the products previously viewed or added-to-cart, but ultimately did not finish the purchase. For lead-based companies, you can use “Conversions” objective to target ads based on users’ actions. Finally, for brick & mortar stores, use  “Store Traffic” to drive foot traffic that you can measure.

 

  • Google Remarketing: This is the perfect way to reach users with a variety of ad formats including search, display & Youtube video. Many marketers are accustomed to standard remarketing practices, but I recommend using dynamic remarketing that allows ads to include the products/services they viewed on your site.

 

Pro Tip: Customer List Remarketing allows you to upload an email list of users, sending them ads on various Google properties when they log into their Google account.

 

While countless ad networks exist, in the last year I’ve found all of these to be highly effective for the campaigns we’re running. There’s no solely defined strategy that will work for everyone so it’s imperative you consider each option on an individual basis. As marketers, it’s up to us to figure out how each ad format and targeting options work together to make our brands message stand out, consider the information you just read your head start.