For just a moment, imagine you’ve recently created a brand selling smartphones — competition is fierce, and few (if any) people have heard of you. Your potential customers are currently iPhone or Android users, but in order for you to gain market share, you must convince them to switch. It won’t be easy, and it might even take multiple attempts — after all, humans are creatures of habit, and we don’t like to veer from comfort until we’re confident in our decisions.
Okay, you might be asking, “What does selling smartphones have to do with paid ads?”
Well, similar to paid ads, in order to convince someone to switch from their preferred product or brand, you might take a multi-step approach.
The first thing you’d need to do is let them know you exist — to educate them about your brand, what it is that you offer, and that they have another option. Then, you might show them how other people use your brand’s smartphone to achieve their goals: whether for work, art, or play. Lastly, you might demonstrate how your phones are better than iPhone or Android (really, your products are extraordinary).
This tiered strategy is how we approach paid advertising, and it starts with the Top of Funnel.
Top Of Funnel
Your Top of Funnel (TOF) is cold traffic — this audience has never engaged with your brand and they have never seen or heard about your product or service. We usually spend 60-70% of ad budgets capturing qualified TOF traffic, as the long-term success of the next funnel stages rely on delivering relevant content to this audience.
Since cold traffic still requires education about your product, your paid ads should reflect this.
Educate your audience about your brand, product and service. While the goal of any ad campaign is to drive sales, your cold traffic is the least likely to convert — at this stage of the funnel, your focus should be on brand education.
Pique your audience’s interest enough to send them to a landing or product page, where you can discuss your offer more in depth. This will set your retargeting campaigns, the next stages of the funnel, for success.
To learn more about determining audiences for Top of Funnel, we’ve outlined some strategies to help you get started.
Middle Of Funnel
Your Middle of Funnel (MOF) traffic has not attempted to make a purchase, but they may have liked your social page, commented, or followed you. They have not necessarily been to your website — we think of this as a social re-engagement opportunity.
Middle of Funnel and Bottom of Funnel (BOF) creatives should be a mixture of User Generated Content (videos and images from your customers) and trust-building content you have created.
MOF copy should be product-focused, addressing how your product or service can address a person’s need or problem. Testimonials or reviews perform well at this stage.
While there are a variety of content types to use for Middle of Funnel, the objective should always be to re-engage TOF traffic.
Bottom Of Funnel
BOF, or hot traffic, are your most qualified leads — those closest to making a purchase (some may even be returning customers). Your BOF has engaged with your website, though they haven’t necessarily attempted to make a purchase.
This is your best retargeting opportunity.
These campaigns should include essential creatives to encourage users to return and purchase. Ad copy can be more direct about your product, and your language can reflect that a person understands your brand.
Showing your product in use or discussing why it is superior to competitors is more effective at this stage than with cold traffic, as your audience should now be educated about your brand.
How the Stages Work Together to Achieve Success
Creating content for each stage enables brands to speak to their audience in ways that are relevant to their current experience and level of knowledge. By taking this 3-tiered approach, you are assuring your campaigns have the best chance for long-term, sustainable growth.
By following this process, you will create more qualified leads, more efficiently spend your ad budget, and provide consumers with a better user experience and more relevant content to make more educated purchases.