Competing for clicks across the digital advertising landscape is a never-ending battle. Some clicks are more equal than others, especially now as companies are increasing spend on digital ads with growing consumer confidence and more COVID-19 vaccinations by the day.
Despite the increased spend, brands must recognize the purchase intention of online users and where they place ads. The spray and pray approach to digital advertising has long been outdated with the introduction of precise targeting capabilities and the availability of consumer purchase data. But even with the sophisticated targeting, are brands considering all the factors that go into a profitable digital advertising campaign?
Why purchase intent plays a role
On Google Search and Amazon, user search queries indicate the user’s current interest at that moment in time. These queries tell the networks and digital advertisers what ads to show.
But consider the other most common paid advertising platforms — Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Instagram Ads, TikTok, Pinterest, etc. People aren’t actively looking for products and services on these platforms. Their mindset is to be social, not to find a solution to their pain point. Facebook and Instagram are mostly about friend posts and community engagement. LinkedIn is commonly used for company announcements, business networking, and job seeking. TikTok is widely known for videos that go viral. Pinterest has historically been known for people to get creative inspiration. Advertising on these platforms requires careful consideration of the user’s mindset, but also where they are in their purchase journey, which brings us to the marketing funnel.
Purchase intent and the marketing funnel
Where a person is in the marketing funnel matters. At the top, they’re in research mode so someone searching “marketing automation benefits” is just beginning to explore the category of technology and not ready to invest. In the middle, they’ve narrowed down their options and are in comparison mode, like someone searching “Marketo vs. HubSpot.” Here, the user knows what marketing automation is and its benefits, and is evaluating the vendors but still not to the point of purchase. At the bottom, they’re in the final stages of their purchase journey. Compare the previous scenarios to another person searching “marketing automation free consultation” and they’re closer to demoing products and purchasing a solution for their team.
Advertising data across industries
As people progress through the funnel, they often start their research with Google. This method is probably the best indicator of a user’s interest and purchase intention because their search queries tell brands exactly what a user is trying to solve. Of course, brands have to get the click first, then worry about the conversion. Even though advertisers can target users based on keyword searches, demographics, device type, income level, etc., click-through data isn’t all that encouraging, let alone conversion data. The average CTR on Google Search is only 5.06%, and much lower for the Google Display Network (0.50%) where retargeting campaigns and cross-channel advertising comes into play.
The conversion rate is even lower with an average CVR of 4.40% and 0.57%, respectively.
Similar story with Facebook metrics, where CTR sits at 0.90% but a higher CVR at 9.21%. So, on average, even though Facebook users may be on the platform to check out their friends’ and family’s status updates, browse pictures, and post videos — when they do see an ad or product they like — they convert more than on Google.
Why such low numbers across the board? With purchase intent data on social media platforms as low as it is, it makes sense that conversion rates are low, too. Online users have become numb to advertising so they’re more prone to tune out ads and “sponsored” links, which also contributes to low CTR and CVR.
What to do instead
Run more awareness campaigns on social media advertising platforms, like benchmark reports and eBooks instead of trials. Experiment with demos and consultations on Google Search and Display because you have a baseline idea of their intent or previous interaction with your brand via retargeting display ads. That said, your advertising conversion data will help you identify what’s performing well and what’s not. Fighting for clicks is already an uphill battle, but if you’re attempting to convert users with irrelevant offers, winning the battle becomes nearly insurmountable.
Cross-channel digital campaign performance data made easy
Curating and exporting all your digital advertising data, synthesizing it, and drawing conclusions from these massive data sets isn’t only time-consuming, it’s overwhelming. Digital advertising moves fast; teams must have the ability to iterate in real time, which isn’t possible if they’re relying on collecting all the purchase intent data manually.
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