A funnel is better full

There was a time when mass marketing prevailed, when economies of scale ruled, and wastage was acceptable. Instead of a generic, all-encompassing approach, brands can now deploy activities and messages best suited to individuals’ needs and position in the purchase funnel. Today, brands can speak to consumers one on one, so why are we still seeing one-size-fits-all campaigns with catch-all messages?

The three levels in the funnel (awareness, consideration and conversion) reflect the path a consumer takes to go from ignorance about a given product to its purchase. To begin with, marketers must generate awareness and educate people to induce consideration and get them to think about their brand over the competition. Once consumers are evaluating their purchase, the focus is on converting this interest into an action, like a sale, landing page form completion, footfall or another action.

One step at a time

Each stage requires a different strategy and execution. They also require a different target audience, a subset of the overall audience, but how do you know who goes into each level of the funnel? It’s important to consider always-on activity as it allows for system learning. The more you mine your audience data, the more efficient and effective you become.

It starts with building awareness, ensuring the brand is portrayed in a way that is appealing to its target audience. The focus at the awareness stage is to draw attention from potential customers through engaging, educational and easy-to-discover content that caters to their needs. Tactics like online display, pre-roll video and content marketing are great for generating awareness and keeping brands top of mind. However, with simple metrics like impressions, reach or clicks, this is merely a beginning.

Measure and analyse with BLS

To gain audience insights into the actual impact of their digital campaigns and establish their full funnel strategies, marketing teams are turning to brand lift studies (BLS).  With a brand lift study, marketers can measure how an advertising campaign has shifted consumer perceptions based on key purchase funnel metrics. The study unlocks insights about their interactions by asking specific questions of consumers who have interacted with campaigns. These include how likely a consumer is to purchase the product, the perception a consumer has about the brand after seeing the ad or what brand comes to mind when a consumer thinks about that product.

A BLS measures a campaign’s impact on consumer perceptions and behavior. Interactive ad creatives can serve as a tool for gathering feedback from users. Survey ads capture audience responses by presenting questions. Through buttons, a checklist or a dropdown menu, there are countless insights an advertiser can gain through a survey ad. These insights inform future campaigns, notably by facilitating the creation audience subsets we can retarget based on their previous engagement or answers to the BLS.  Surveys run on high-traffic sites that can serve to massive volumes of people, while tracking pixels in the survey ads easily differentiate which respondents have seen the product ad and which haven’t.

Logic and vision

Crucially, they allow marketers to identify at what level of the funnel their exposed individuals are. This becomes particularly sharp with an always on approach, which adds precision with every interaction. These sub-segments are then saved, activated for retargeting and expansion with the identification of lookalikes, and updated with each consumer action.

A full-funnel marketing strategy involves tailoring marketing messages to the particular stage of purchase a customer is currently at. Rather than focusing only on just awareness or sales, it considers the entire 360-degree customer journey and attempts to nurture relationships and build better brand experiences.

By allocating budgets to areas with higher returns and using test-and-learn optimization, brands can experience a 15 to 20 percent lift in marketing ROI. Blending brand building and performance in a campaign also delivers a greater overall return on ad spend than with performance channels alone.

Using BLS to engineer a full funnel strategy has not only helped brands to increase their media impact and scale awareness, it has also resulted in delivering improvements in overall business outcomes like incremental revenue, customer lifetime value (CLV) and profitable lead conversion.