Google ads are a major part of any content marketing strategy.
Unlike other forms of digital marketing, ads can be extremely targeted to a particular type of audience, and delivered directly to them.
But like any part of your marketing, you need a framework to figure out what kind of content to use, and to understand how you’ll measure your success.
A typical marketing framework is based on the buyer journey.
The buyer journey is usually broken down into three stages:
- Awareness – The customer knows they have a problem to solve and is looking for a solution
- Consideration – They’ve pinpointed the thing they need to solve the problem
- Decision – They decide which provider to go with
Another way this marketing framework is broken down is:
- See – This is biggest audience section you can reach with your ad
- Think – These people are thinking about buying a product like yours
- Do – This customer segment is ready to the take the desired action (like buy something from you)
By understanding each of these stages, and developing the right KPIs around them, you can create a Google ad structure that drives continued success at every stage of the buyer decision making process.
At this stage, your buyers have no commercial intent whatsoever.
If you’re selling trainers, they might be people looking at social accounts or reading fashion blogs to see how different people style these products, or what they wear them with to get an understanding of the latest trends.
At this point, because they have no intention to make a purchase, there’d be no point targeting them with ads like “Buy Now” promotions.
Instead, ads would be structured around much broader, high level content that would give them tips and advice.
These customers have some commercial intent, but not much.
They’ve had a look at resources and online guides, and are now in the first stages of thinking about buying something.
There’s no firm decision yet, and they definitely haven’t chosen a supplier.
They might be interested in one-off deals or promotions.
If you can target them with ads pointing them towards sign up to receive offers, then they’d be likely to respond.
While they aren’t ready to buy, you could get their contact information (by sending them to a landing page with a form) so you can nurture them further down the buyer journey.
At this point, your customers are ready to buy, they’re just looking for the best place to spend their money.
At this point they’re trying to choose a supplier so ads sending them to content like reviews, testimonials, case studies or free samples would work well.
How to structure your Google ad campaigns around these stages
The key to a successful Google ads or digital marketing campaign is engaging your audience, at each stage of their buyer journey, and moving them onto the next stage, with your company front of mind.
By the time they get to a spending decision, your company is the obvious choice.
But too many campaigns flood customers with BUY NOW! Messages, before they’re ready to buy.
The campaigns flop, and companies lose faith in the process.
You might think that Google ads are only good for pushing products, but they can be a key part of your wider digital marketing campaign.
Let’s say you sell health products and are looking to engage your audience using ads at different stages of the See, Think, Do marketing framework.
See – This is your biggest possible audience. They’re health conscious people who are active and consume content around health, fitness and nutrition. But they’re not looking to buy anything. You’d target this group with awareness type content that doesn’t push them towards a purchase, but gets your company in front of them.
Think – This group is the same as above, but they’re starting to look for nutrition products. They’re looking for specific information, and could be tempted by certain products sent to them at the right time.
Do – Now they’re actively searching for a product. They’re looking for top recommendations, comparisons of different products, and would be tempted by free offers or samples.
As you can see from this, if you only target your audience at the “Do” stage, this could be the first time they’ve heard of you.
Given that people are more likely to buy something from a company or brand they recognise, this is too late in the buyer journey to get in front of them.
Similarly, if you only target your audience during the “See” stage, you might drive a lot of traffic to your top level content, and possibly pick up a few organic purchases
But without nudging your audience down the buyer journey with your content, you’ll not get the commercial results you’re hoping for.
Setting KPIs to measure success
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential for any Google ads or marketing campaign.
Without measuring your performance, you’ll never understand what went right, or what went wrong.
But your KPIs shouldn’t just be based on one stage of the buyer journey.
You need to have a complete picture coming in to understand how your entire campaign is working.
Let’s say your main KPI is revenue growth (which it should be).
Only measuring revenue won’t give you a full idea of what’s gone right or wrong.
Here’s how you should set KPIs for each stage we’ve been through so far.
See – At this stage we’re looking to increase our brand awareness with as much of our audience as possible. This is sometimes referred to as share of voice. Essentially, it’s how much awareness you have with your customers, compared to your competitors.
Think – How much of your audience is now searching for you? You could measure this through web visits or enquiries. These people are often targeted through remarketing. They’ve been on your website, they know who you are, and you’re trying to keep them interested.
Do – This is the extra revenue you’re bringing in from your marketing campaigns. You could also add in repeat business with existing customers, or break that off into its own KPI.
By understanding each of these stages and setting KPIs against them, you can start to get a view of how each bit of content you’re creating is performing.
More importantly, you can understand where in the process you’re losing potential customers, and make adjustments to your Google ad or digital marketing campaigns.
Want to get started with Google advertising for your business or want more information about the benefits of PPC to your content marketing?
You can also request a free digital marketing assessment here.