You want to promote your website or your products, but you don’t know where to start. In this article we will take a look at the most used platforms in paid digital marketing and what kind of advertising you can do.
In digital marketing, we often make a distinction between paid and unpaid (earned & owned media) digital marketing. We will focus on paid media.
Table of Contents
1. The conversion funnel
To view the buyer’s journey in a simplified view, the conversion funnel is often used with four key steps: See, Think, Do, care
At each step of the conversion funnel you have at your disposal several platforms to promote your products/services.
2. The most used platforms at the moment are
It is obvious that Google and Facebook currently dominate the digital advertising market, so you will be led to use one of the platforms of these two companies to promote your products / services.
To explain when you will need one platform or another, let’s start with an example: You just created an online store to sell lighting fixtures. And the question is: which platform should I use to sell my products?
If we follow the conversion funnel
At this level no one knows your products, but you are convinced that people who buy lighting fixtures are often people who just moved in or in the midst of a renovation. So your concern is to increase the awareness of your products among this audience. In paid digital marketing, in order to increase awareness, we opt for banner or video formats to grab the attention of a potential customer when he browses on the net. I’m sure that you already noticed ads on YouTube or Instagram for example.
3.1 The video
In the case of YouTube, the tool that manages these ads is called Google Ads (formerly Adwords). So you can increase the awareness of your fixtures through videos. However, other platforms offer video such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or Pinterest. Both Facebook platforms are managed by the same tool which is Facebook Ad Manager, while Snap and Pinterest have their own platforms.
3.2 The banners
Often the production cost of video is high, especially if you just started a small project. As a result, people prefer to start with banners to create exposure for their products. In addition, it gives them flexibility since you can change the formats or the message more quickly if you realise that it doesn’t work. It should also be noted that for small projects or entrepreneurs, it is becoming much easier to produce banners with tools such as Canva.
In relation to platforms, to promote your lights as for videos you can use Facebook (including instagram), Google Ads (which includes the Google network and YouTube), Pinterest, the Microsoft network and Snapchat.To create awareness for the sale of the fixtures, you have opted for banners by targeting people who have an interest in the fixtures. For example, on the Google network or on Pinterest for people consulting the lighting section.
It is still important to point out that the platform selection does not only depend on the format (video, banners…) and the step in the conversion funnel. There are other parameters that come into play such as the platform cost, the targeted audiences, the strategy you want to implement, the campaign objective or the campaign message. But in the context of this article we will not address these themes, as the purpose is to show the scope of the possible and in a concern of simplification for a better understanding.
For your information there are platforms that I have not named because they are not relevant to my example. But it is common for digital media agencies to use platforms such as Display & Video 360 or Appnexus, to name a few, which allow them to target more qualitative audiences (but are of course more expensive).
In order to increase the awareness of your fixtures you made a display campaign on the Google Display Network (Google) by targeting people who have an interest in the fixtures. Now you want to target people who are in the process of buying, this can be people who are in the process of moving for example since we know that this audience is more inclined to buy new fixtures.
In terms of platforms you can use the same platforms as in the awareness stage. What changes in consideration is not the format of the ads, but the targeted audiences. In the awareness stage we usually target the interests, while in the consideration stage we will use recent behaviour what we call “in-market” or key moments of a life “life-events”. For example, in Google’s tools the distinction between interests and in-market is made on the time spent on an activity; if I’ve been a lighting enthusiast for years, I will be classified in interest = lighting, whereas if I’m actively looking for lighting and I go on several sites comparing lighting in a very short period of time I will be classified in in-market = lighting.
Thanks to your consideration and awareness campaigns you have brought a lot of potential customers to the site, but you realize that a good percentage of them don’t necessarily buy your fixtures and you wonder what else you can do.
On one hand, you can use ads in search engines like Google or Bing. Those are ads that you see at the top of the search engine as soon as you make a query. In the case of sale of lighting fixtures, in the two mentioned platforms you can target all people using the queries “buy lighting fixtures” for example. By using this type of “search ads” you are sure that you will appear above the Organic (non-paying) results.
On the other hand, you can target people who have already been on the site via all formats in the awareness phase, consideration and even the “search campaigns” we just mentioned before. With regard to the type of format you can use banners or “search ads”. This campaign approach is called Remarketing.
Note that in the example of luminaires I took an approach that starts from the top of the conversion funnel. But, it is common in the business to also start from the search (Conversion level) to move up in the funnel as the business expands. This is the case when you start with a small budget and want to focus first on people who are closer to conversion (in terms of their behavior on the net). Then, as soon as the activity expands, activate consideration and awareness. In anyway, be aware that by starting from the top of the funnel, the conversion rate increases as you go down and vice versa.
These campaigns consist of targeting your customers by, for example, selling them other branded products or creating an identity around the brand so that the community shares the information in its network. As regards paid platforms you can use the platforms mentioned for the remarketing approach (Google ads, Facebook, …). In this part of the funnel there are other automation tools that are used like Mailchimp for email campaigns, but this is slightly out of the scope of our article.
In conclusion, in order to make a paid digital campaign, before choosing the platform you need to know people you want to target. Then, do we want to directly target people at the bottom of the conversion funnel? Then, progressively move up in the conversion funnel? Or do we want to work first on brand awareness and then on consideration? By already deciding on these first two elements (audience & level in the funnel) you can get an idea of the platforms you can use. As well as the right formats to reach your target audience.
In the article I didn’t put all the technical (like tags, pixels) and tactical (campaign objectives, optimisation techniques) aspects that accompany the implementation of the campaigns, because the goal of this article was to fly over the platforms to show which platforms and when you can use them. Nevertheless, if you have any specific questions please feel free to comment or contact me directly.