Talking tech since 2003

So you’ve decided to add PPC (pay-per-click) advertising campaigns to your marketing mix. Most likely, you’ve engaged several firms and received a few elaborate proposals, all offering competing strategies.

I’ll bet there are firms telling you awareness and engagement are your goals. Their campaigns will get you in front of people’s eyes and build your brand. They say awareness and engagement are less expensive than lead generation and can enhance your other marketing and sales efforts. It takes five to seven touches (times a person comes into contact with your brand) to close a deal.

I’ll bet there’s another set of proposals that tell you lead generation is the only way to go. Focus on the buyers with their wallets out, and get as many of them as possible. They say awareness is expensive and a waste of money.

Both proposals make perfect sense.

And both are incomplete.

In reality, engagement campaigns and lead generation campaigns WORK TOGETHER to deliver the best ROI. Many media buyers miss a critical step: They fail to understand the process your prospects go through to become buyers.

The Key to PPC Success – Understanding Your Buyers

Any buyer of any product goes through a process. They start with a feeling of need or want and move to making a purchase. In the marketing world, we refer to that as the marketing funnel. Here’s what it looks like:

Let’s use a new vehicle purchase as an example. If you’re ready to replace that clunker with a sleek, new sports car, you’re probably going to the web to start your search. What kinds of cars are available? What features do they have? What do they cost? Who sells these cars in your area? How reputable are the dealers? Which dealers have the car you want? How do you set up a test-drive?

You’re starting to catch my drift: Buyers follow a process of discovery and learning before finally making a buying decision.

If you jump to the end of the process and try to sell a product to someone with whom you haven’t first established a relationship, it’s like asking them to marry you on the first date.

The odds of success aren’t good.

Using the car analogy, here’s how the marketing funnel stages play out:

  • Awareness – You’re shown image ads on car-research sites like You see promoted blog posts on Facebook that describe options for similar cars. Social media posts
  • Interest – You’re shown promoted events, like end-of-month sales and family events at the dealership. You research specific details about your potential car, like MPG and horsepower.
  • Decision – You take a test-drive and get an e-price. You actually buy the car.
  • Action – You leave a reviews and refer friends to the resources and dealership you used to make your decision.

Engagement campaigns target Awareness and Interest. Lead-generation campaigns target Decision and Action.

By coupling engagement and lead generation, you have the best chance for success.

Now let’s dive into how these two goals work within your PPC campaigns.

Examples of Engagement Campaigns and Their Metrics

Engagement PPC campaigns have one primary goal: driving interested people to your content. They’re usually ran on display networks, such as YouTube and Google Display Network, or on social platforms, like Facebook and Pinterest. Since these platforms show advertisements to prospects viewing other websites, rich image and video ads that stand out tend to perform very well.

The success of an engagement campaign is usually measured with these metrics:

Average Session Duration: How long did the user stay on your website?

Pages Per Session: How many different pages did the user look at during their visit?

Bounce Rate: What was the percentage of users that left after visiting only one page?

Click Thru Rate: What percentage of people saw your ad vs. clicked on it?

Views: For video, how many people actually watched it?

Comments: For video and social campaigns, how any people left comments?

Shares: For video and social campaigns, how many people shared with their friends?

These criteria reflect the interest of your audience in your ads and how effectively you’re getting prospects to experience your brand.

If you need more people to know who you are and what you do, engagement campaigns can be an essential tool.

What Is a Lead-Generation Campaign?

Lead-generation campaigns typically target users who are ready to buy, and therefore convert. Most search-based ads (the ones you see when you type keywords into search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo) are part of lead-generation campaigns. Display ads CAN be used for generating leads, but the targeting has to be very good.

Many platforms, such as Google, have an interest target called “In-Market.” This is a collection of Google users deemed “in-the-market” for a particular product or service. You can target people looking to buy homes, cars (down to make and model), jewelry, travel, and your product or service.

The goal of a lead-generation campaign is conversions, AKA the name and email address and/or phone number of someone who wants something from you, like to set up an appointment or have more information sent to them. These are people you can have your sales force engage with. With engagement campaigns, your prospects are still anonymous.

The Secret Weapon of Top of the Funnel Advertising – Remarketing

By targeting people at the top of the funnel with image ads, video ads, and even ads on social media, you can identify prospects that are likely to want what you’re selling. But most engagement campaigns only get views of your content, not the names and email addresses your sales team needs to close sales.

That’s where the beauty of remarketing comes in.

Ever been to Amazon, looking a particular item, and then see an ad for that item on a website you’re browsing, enticing you to come back to buy it? That’s remarketing.

Remarketing is a type of advertising campaign that tags each viewer of your website with a browser cookie. That cookie stores basic information such as the page they viewed on your website and the date and timestamp of the last time they visited.

Remarketing ads show ads again to visitors to your website, and those ads can display or discuss exactly what the user was originally interested in.

Why is this good for your bottom line? Remarketing allows you to focus your ad dollars on an audience that’s already interested in your products and already knows who you are. It’s an extremely effective way to get leads or online sales at a fantastic ROI.

True PPC Success = Engagement + Lead Generation

By creating campaigns to funnel interested prospects into highly motivated buyers using a multi-campaign strategy, you can achieve massive efficiencies with your PPC marketing spend.

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