Generally speaking, if you are planning to spend hard won marketing budget on digital advertising you most likely have an end goal in mind. However, bridging the gap between the money you put into a digital advertising campaign and getting the end result you want can be more complicated and nuanced than you expect. For instance, if your goal is simply ‘make more sales’ you could be disappointed if this hasn’t happened in the weeks immediately following the launch of a campaign.
Advertisers need to be realistic about the user journey i.e. what steps a prosect is likely to take before they make a purchase, and align their expectations to the different phases of the journey rather than pinning all their hopes on making sales straight off the bat.
With that in mind we explore the most common ways in which digital advertising influences prospects through the buyer’s journey…
Almost all digital advertising campaigns raise awareness of the brand. Put simply, to advertise online you have to show your ads to people, which will make them aware of your brand. But some channels and tactics allow you to achieve this at a greater scale than others. Display advertising, for instance, is a very cost effective way of getting mass exposure for your brand, as is running an Awareness campaign on LinkedIn Ads.
Neither of these campaigns will produce a fantastic click-through rate or high volumes of conversions, but they can be an important layer in a multi-channel advertising strategy to make sure prospects are ‘warmed up’ to your messaging before they are exposed to ads which seek to engage or convert them.
With an Engagement campaign you are seeking to get your prospects to engage with your company somehow. That could be by following/liking your social media channels and posts, by watching the videos that you produce, or by clicking, swiping and sharing your social media content. Engagement is a means to an end in that the engagement alone does not immediately result in leads or orders. Instead, it prepares the ground for future conversions by growing your social media following and creating a greater level of interaction within your target audience that will make them more likely to respond to future messages.
A Conversion campaign is where the rubber meets the road. When you set up a conversion campaign your expectations should be around leads, orders, sign-ups and other ‘hard’ metrics. The content you use in your ads should have a clear call to action and a compelling offer, and the settings you choose during the campaign set-up process should all be focussed on getting the greatest number of conversions for your budget. You might see lower engagement and a higher cost per impression with a conversion campaign, and that is because the ad platforms will be more selective about who the serve impressions to to make sure you can meet your campaign goals.
Before you rush in to launching a campaign on any of the digital advertising platforms give consideration to where your audience are now in terms of awareness of your brand, and what the correct objective would be. For new advertisers, particularly very young companies, it is often pertinent to put a higher proportion of the budget into generating awareness before going live with more conversion focussed campaigns.