Create a dynamic media mix using a demand funnel

Every time when the task arises to start promoting a new product, the question arises: where to launch advertising in the first place? Looking for a specialist in Yandex.Direct, VKontakte, Instagram and Facebook Ads, or maybe Google Ads or myTarget? Or run ads yourself? Then what type of campaign should you choose in the advertising system? What targeting should you use?

Since answering such questions is my direct responsibility, I spent quite a lot of time trying to match the available advertising tools (advertising systems, campaign types and targeting) with what exactly they can be used to successfully advertise. And that’s what I came to.

What characteristics of the advertised object affect the choice of advertising tools

“Goods” / “Services”

How to understand that we are dealing with “goods”:

  • large assortment (at least several hundred advertising objects),

  • a standardized description using one template for all advertised objects,

  • specific price.

In this case, we will almost certainly use feeds and automate the creation of ad campaigns. To do this, ad systems have the appropriate tools: dynamic remarketing, smart banners, dynamic search ads, directory ads, shopping campaigns, etc.

What I refer to as “services”:

  • small assortment,

  • the description can be anything,

  • There is no exact price, it depends on the client and his needs.

In this case, it makes little sense to use automation.

There is demand / no demand

The second most important question is the presence of a formed demand: do people know about the existence of the advertised object, do they understand why they need it.

If there is demand, it means that people themselves are looking for the advertised object in the search for Yandex or Google. In this case, it makes sense to start with search ads.

If there is no demand, then search advertising is not suitable for us. We will have to persuade to buy the advertised object through a solution to the problem (we advertise not the product itself, but the solution to a specific problem) or an attack on competitors (we advertise as an alternative to an existing and already known product). It is easier to do this through other advertising tools, such as social media.

Local business / not tied to location

The choice of advertising tools for a local business will differ due to the fact that “local” means that it is limited to an audience of those who live or work close to the location of the business.

On the one hand, it is easier – you can use encompassing formats (video, for example), strongly limiting them by geo.

On the other hand, some tools may be less effective. For example, search ads for general queries will be shown too often to inappropriate audiences.

Audience volume (B2B / B2C)

B2B is usually limited to a sample of the audience. But B2C can also work in a narrow niche. Therefore, it is more correct to separate the advertised objects by audience size.

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If our product is not needed by everyone, and we have the opportunity to target only those who need it, we can use almost any advertising tools without fear of losing the budget for shooting a cannon at sparrows.

If not everyone needs our product, but we do not know how to isolate only those who need it, we have a problem. In this case, the most winning tactic might be to target an audience similar to your existing customers. Well, or at least interested visitors, if you do not yet have a large client base to be able to unload 2-3 thousand clients from CRM in the last month.

The possibility of spontaneous purchases

If we understand that a spontaneous purchase of the advertised product is unlikely to be possible, then the call to action “Buy” can only be used in search ads for commercial queries. The coverage will most likely be small, but it is a direct way to those who are as close as possible to making a purchase.

And for successful advertising, for example, in social networks, we need completely different offers: get a free consultation, sign up for a test drive, attend a thematic webinar, study useful content. And if we don’t have such offers right now, then we’d better not go online for now.

Degree of competition

With high competition, the main methods of targeting target audiences will most likely be overheated. There is a high chance that targeting similar audiences or broad targeting with automatic optimization for conversions will work better than “aiming”.

Brand presence (awareness)

With a well-known brand, it’s easier to advertise in search. Even if the user has entered a general request, he is still more likely to be interested in the announcement of a company he knows.

If we work with an unknown brand, then it is better to avoid direct comparison with competitors (the exception is that we are objectively better in many respects). And in this case, first of all, it is worth launching ads on social networks and on YouTube.

Complex topics

It is worth mentioning separately that advertising in many topics is greatly hampered by local legislation and rules of advertising systems. These topics include:

  • medical services and equipment;

  • medicines, sports food and dietary supplements;

  • alcohol, tobacco, hookahs, etc., including establishments and services in this area;

  • intimate goods, strip clubs, escort services, etc .;

  • trading, investment, cryptocurrency, etc .;

And also much more. Review the regulations for your industry, as well as the advertising system reference materials, to find out what requirements and restrictions you may face when running advertising campaigns.


Demand funnel

In my work on systematization, I went even further and eventually formulated such a thing as a “demand funnel”. Please do not confuse this with a sales funnel.

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The demand funnel divides our entire potential audience into four levels: from zero to third.

Level 0. Familiar with us

At this level are those people who have already contacted us in any way, they know something about us. It is worth launching ads on these people first: they are most likely to become our clients.

The only problem is that for a novice advertiser, this audience is simply not large enough for advertising on it to give any noticeable results. But in any case, you need to work with this audience. To do this, we need branded search advertising and remarketing.

It is worth advertising in the search for your own brand in two cases:

  1. You are not ranked # 1 in organic search results for all possible spellings of your brand. This is a common problem with non-unique or, on the contrary, too intricate names.

  2. Some of your competitors are advertising for your brand and are trying to entice customers. Your own advertising will greatly hinder him in this, which is what we need.

Remarketing can be divided into three main subtypes:

  1. Retargeting site visitors – when advertising “catches up” those who left the site without conversion.

  2. Targeting your own social media and YouTube followers – as organic reach declines every year.

  3. Targeting by contacts from a CRM system is for those who have accumulated thousands of contacts during their work. Email addresses and mobile phone numbers are fine.

Level 1. There is a demand for the product

At this level, there are people who know about the existence of the product that you offer, understand why it is needed and are interested in buying it – the dream of any advertiser. To reach such an audience, we can use the following advertising tools:

  • Search advertising in Yandex.Direct and Google Ads, including dynamic ads (in the case when we have a large assortment of advertising objects).

  • Campaigns for the Yandex Advertising Network (YAN) for key phrases corresponding to commercial queries.

  • Contextual targeting myTarget.

  • And targeting specific intent audiences on the Google Ads Display Network (CMN).

If we introduce a new product to the market that is not yet familiar to consumers, then, for obvious reasons, we will have to temporarily skip this level and return to it later – when demand arises.

Level 2. There are signs of a buyer

At this level there are people whose level of interest in buying we do not know, but they have characteristics that are typical for consumers of our product.

An excellent option for promoting new products, as well as situations when the auction in the tools at the first level is so overheated that advertising there no longer pays off for the advertiser.

To reach an audience at this level, you can use:

  • Targeting similar audiences on Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Yandex.Direct.

  • For local businesses – advertising in geoservices and hyperlocal geo-targeting (within a radius of several kilometers around the locations of the business).

  • Parsing of members of VKontakte thematic communities.

  • Advertising in social networks by positions, interests and other characteristics.

  • Targeting thematic videos and YouTube channels.

  • Campaigns under YAN for related key phrases.

  • Audience targeting by interests in the Google Ads Display Area.

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Level 3. Demand creation

If we have already figured out the campaigns at all previous levels, tested them and got unsatisfactory results, then this means that there are no people on the Internet ready to buy our product yet. We will have to create demand for it. For this we will need:

  • In-depth video advertising. First of all, on YouTube, then on social networks and, finally, through Yandex.Direct.

  • Native advertising, work with the media, influencers and celebrities.

  • Reach campaigns, display ads and programmatic.

How to develop your funnel

  1. We always start from the lower levels of the funnel. Ideally, branded advertising and remarketing. If there is not enough audience at the zero level, then we look at what we have in demand. If there is one, then we take the tools from the first level. And so on.

  2. We gradually test the selected tools. Our task is to find at least one working option: to get campaigns that will bring stable results.

  3. If after testing an ad tool we got unsatisfactory CPC results, then we look for ways to optimize campaigns.

  4. If we were able to get satisfactory results immediately or after optimization, then we try to scale them. Our task is to squeeze out of this tool everything that is possible at the moment.

  5. If we received at least one working version, then be sure to check the levels of the funnel below – they could open. For example, if our search advertising has started working on an ongoing basis, then we can now launch retargeting of website visitors.

  6. If at the selected level we could not find a single working option, then we go up the funnel. For example, there is a demand for our product, but advertising tools from the first level (search advertising) turned out to be unprofitable due to high competition, which means that we are moving to the second level (for example, in social networks).

  7. If we have worked out all the instruments from the lower levels, but we need more sales, then in this case we also start moving up the funnel. For example, out-of-the-box video ads (and even more so, media ads) may not generate sales on their own, but with the right approach, it will gradually increase the number of potential customers by introducing more people to your product and its benefits.

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