Build awareness, increase website traffic, generate more leads or sales…these are objectives for online businesses. But which is more important? What should your business prioritize? At this point it is important to understand business goals and integrate all appropriate media channels in your online paid marketing strategy.
Overview: brand awareness vs. performance marketing
On one hand brand awareness focuses on creating an emotional connection between consumers and the company and increasing customer loyalty. A long term strategy with great benefits.
On the other hand performance marketing focuses on bringing immediate results by harvesting the user buying intent, with quick impact on business goals (transactions and revenue, leads, sign-ups, app downloads etc.).
Awareness vs. performance marketing should be carefully balanced in order to achieve long term objectives. They don’t exclude each other and when used together they are actually great ways to obtain business growth. Now it’s time to switch to “Awareness and performance marketing”
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5 tips for your paid media strategy
Below you can find 5 strategic tips you could take into consideration when developing your online strategy which can help you define the right equation between brand and performance marketing.
1. Use a long term strategy and set you KPIs to evaluate performance
We know that immediate results are demanded (ex: leads, sales, revenue), but you should have a plan for long term growth. Always develop a media plan and estimated results according to your strategy. Budget planification is a must have. The big question is: what should be the split of Awareness vs Performance? Well, you have to test and measure.
0:100 is not the right answer. If your budget is restricted, start by allocating more of it to performance, but also keep a part for brand advertising in order to reach new users from the upper funnel. These are people who don’t know your business and you should put effort into interacting with new audiences. Look at KPIs such as: audience first interaction, level of interest and of course, reach.
Don’t go far down the funnel in biasing towards Performance marketing. Use awareness to drive a second phase of growth.
2. Invest resources in finding the right target
Look at your customers and understand their habits, their needs and online behavior. Today, the advertising platforms offer the possibility of targeting according to many criteria (demographics, interests, jobs, what users search on Google and YouTube, what apps and websites they use etc.).
On one hand, for awareness campaigns you should reach people from top funnel audiences. Do your research and prepare buyer personas from which you can start your online targeting, focus on generating interest and capture these new audiences in your remarketing lists. Youtube, Google Display Network, Social platforms and Programmatic are the most appropriate for this goal.
Take a look at TikTok Ads also. The platform has a growing audience of engaged users and can help you increase brand exposure.
Complete your digital marketing strategy by adding audio advertisements using Spotify: “audio ads are memorable and motivational—they drove 24% higher recall than display ads, and were twice as likely to lift purchase intent.” (Spotify – Nielsen Media Lab)
On the other hand, performance campaigns should focus on targeting people who are more likely to immediately convert: people who are actively searching for your product or service, people in your remarketing lists, people similar to different segments of your audience, custom audiences etc.
It’s not ready yet until you find the right combination of audiences, digital objectives and the appropriate bidding strategies (or media buying types): CPM, maximize clicks, target impression share, maximize conversions, target CPA, maximize conversion value, target ROAS.
The match between those 3 elements will get you real results, thus avoiding one of the biggest errors in terms of spending media budgets.
3. Use the power of multi channel approach
Do not hesitate to use every capability present in the advertising platforms. Define your objectives and use channels and campaign types that fit every objective. Pay attention to your channel mix and improve constantly. Here you have some channel examples related to awareness and performance marketing objectives:
- best channels for building brand awareness: programmatic advertising, Youtube ads, Google Display Network, Meta Ads, TikTok, Programmatic
- performance channels with campaigns oriented to traffic and conversions: search ads, display ads, social ads, engagement campaigns, app campaigns, conversion based campaigns (ex: remarketing, Performance Max, Video action campaigns)
For example, you can use YouTube Ads for both awareness and performance. In awareness you are focused on reaching as many people from your audience, so you can select a video reach campaign and bid at CPM. On the other hand, for performance campaigns, where you are focusing on conversion, you can select a video action campaign with an objective of driving sales and set your bidding strategy to target CPA, Maximize conversions, Max Conversion Value, or target ROAS depending on your business type and desired KPIs.
4. Constantly evaluate results and improve your campaigns
Measure the impact of your campaigns with Analytics, see what’s working and what is not and use these insights to improve your KPI’s. Tracking and measuring will give you information about your customer journey and will help you make better decisions in order to maximize your results.
You can use Looker Studio (Data Studio) in order to visualize your digital marketing data in one place. This is a reporting tool with interactive dashboards and nice charts you can also share with your team.
Our advice is to look at both performance metrics and awareness metrics. Even if awareness results are more difficult to evaluate and correlate with the marketing efforts, there are still indicators that can help us measure success.
On the performance side you will be focused on clicks, conversions, cost/ conversion, ROAS, leads, downloads etc, but you should also look at awareness metrics: reach, impressions and frequency of your ads, metrics that still may be impacting your ROI directly. Also when using awareness campaigns you will see an increase in your direct traffic and brand searches on Google.
Another way to measure the effectiveness of your awareness ads is by conducting brand lift studies. Brand lift will not lead directly to a transaction, but it will show a positive shift in user engagement with the brand.
5. Stay up to date
Stay up to date with the latest news in paid advertising – this will help you adapt quickly to keep up with the changes.
On the channel side, you should pay attention to new available inventory, new campaign types, new platforms, new enhancements for current campaigns etc. Depending on your objectives you could integrate them in your channel mix and be ahead of competition. For example, promoting your business with Youtube Shorts (new inventory available through universal app campaigns and video action campaigns).
Also, at this moment on the measurement side companies are preparing for a cookieless world and they are struggling to migrate to Google Analytics 4, implement consent mode, enhanced conversions. Better measurement → more info about conversions → more relevant decisions.
Finding the right ratio between brand awareness and performance marketing it’s a challenge and brands should invest resources and lots of thinking in developing, implementing, measuring and improving their campaigns, which in the end lead to long-term success and revenue growth.