AdWords and the Purchasing Cycle
Who would you like to target via online advertising, and approximately where in the purchasing cycle are these people? These are the first questions every business owner should address prior to beginning an advertising campaign (I find these haven’t always been answered which leads to low ROI).
I’d say the purchasing cycle is quite complex and varies for all businesses and each stage of it requires a different approach. In an effort to simplify things, I’ve broken down the cycle into three steps (Awareness, Consideration, Purchase) and outlined how online advertising can assist throughout the process.
Awareness (getting people to find out about your business):
Depending on whether users are familiar with your business or not you’ll likely want to use a combination of search and display advertising. Search can be used for those already looking for the business online (i.e. there is a bottom line level of familiarity with your product or services), and display can be used for those who have no idea what you offer but could be a good fit. The latter user can be reached via interest, topic, and demographic targeting based on your knowledge of the user profile. You can read more here about reaching your audience on the GDN.
Consideration (having people debate whether or not they'd like to purchase):
Remarketing has the capability to patch-up your leaky bucket (i.e. prevent those who have already engaged with your site from falling out). Remarketing will allow you to display ads across sites in the display network these users may be interested. Essentially, you are drawing them in once again to make a purchase (fingers crossed). Some pointers here - do not allow the membership duration to exceed length of purchasing cycle, customize ads to specific content the user viewed, and exclude users who have already reached objective of campaign.
Purchase (Hooray! A user’s made a purchase or intends on making one. Now what?):
To start, having a search campaign is important to this third step as it allows for users to find you if they happen to not remember your site address. Additionally, conversion tracking is key here because we can use the data provided to eliminate keywords which are not resulting in sales/leads or focus on the path leading to the highest conversion levels.
It’s my hope these suggestions will help refocus your advertising efforts on sales and leads especially with summer sale season being here. I’d love to hear how everyone uses Google advertising to complement the steps of the purchasing cycle. As always, feel free to share some of your personal best practices with the community; we’d love to hear from you and see how you tackle each step alongside AdWords.
Over and out,
Re: AdWords and the Purchasing Cycle
There are some very creative ways to use remarketing which can leverage the buying cycle.
For example, I have an auto insurance client. People looking for insurance typically buy quite quickly (either from you or a competitor) and are then gone from the game.
Until, of course, they warm up again as their renewal date approaches. We run some heavy remarketing in the days immediately after the initial visit - we believe that most people will commit to a policy in a 10-15 day window.
But - they also get added to two other lists - one with a cookie duration of 13 months - the other with a duration of 11 months. Using a combination list with all of the former and none of the latter we can target people around the time they are looking to renew their insurance and we can draw them back to our site to compare prices.
This approach lends itself to all kinds of possibilities.
Re: AdWords and the Purchasing Cycle