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The 5 Core Stages Of The Buying Cycle

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Identifying and developing the right content for your campaigns is a challenging task. If you push the wrong content to your viewers at the wrong time, you risk sending the wrong message and missing out on potential sales. We’ve helped hundreds of brands grow with paid ads and have developed a simple, go-to list to identify which content is best for each stage of the buying cycle and turning ad viewers into customers.

Before we dive into the best types of content for each stage of the buying cycle, let’s discuss the cycle itself. 

When running ads, your customer flows through what is called a buying cycle. This buying cycle or customer journey is the process of starting as someone that doesn’t know about your brand or product to become a fan or first-time purchaser. 

Understanding the buyer’s journey improves your ability to push the right content to them at the right time, increasing the likelihood of generating a sale. Below is an overview of the five places we should be targeting our customers with ads to drive sales.

  1. Cold Traffic (no engagement with the brand) 
    • People that have never seen or heard about the product/service
  2. Social Engagement (no website action)
    • Liked social page, commented, follows you but has never been to the website
  3. Website Engagement (no attempt to purchase action)
    • Been to the website but hasn’t attempted to purchase or convert
  4. Attempt To Purchase Action (no checkout)
    • A person has attempted to purchase but did not complete 
  5. Post Purchase (value add)
    • People that have made at least one purchase with you

Finding Winning Content for Each Stage

The 5 stages of the buyer’s journey are the foundation for successful campaigns, providing the roadmap for your ad copy and creatives. 

One of the keys to building winning campaigns is to test everything. Once you’ve found that a creative performs well at one stage of the funnel, don’t be afraid to test it at a different stage to see if it succeeds elsewhere.

Middle of Funnel (MOF) and Bottom of Funnel (BOF) creatives should be a mixture of User Generated Content (videos and images from your customers), trust-building content you have created, and for the Bottom of Funnel, essential creatives to encourage users to return and purchase again.

10 Middle of Funnel Content Types You Should Be Using

1. Unboxing Videos

Show how the product gets delivered, showcase the branding experience, and show and discuss the product.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • For colder audiences, the best performing unboxing content is concise (10-15 seconds). When a customer has a deeper interest and understanding of your brand, longer videos can perform better (30-60 seconds).

2. Reaction Videos

Show people’s reactions to receiving the product themselves or as a gift. Capturing the excitement from these moments is super engaging content.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • Great if you’re able to source quality user-generated content.
  • When creating reaction video ads, we recommend starting with a clear CTA in the first 3 seconds and not letting the full video exceed 30 seconds.

3. Competitor Review Videos

Compare your product to a competitor’s or discuss why your product is superior.

  • BOF winner (sometimes MOF)
  • An opportunity to demonstrate how your product is better and what makes your brand unique.
  • When developing product comparison videos, ensure you showcase your brand personality to be more relatable and keep the viewer’s attention.
  • Videos of this type are best between 30-90 seconds.

4. Product in Use Videos

Show different angles and features of the product in use.

  • Excellent for every stage of the buying cycle
  • Often 15-30 seconds and identify the core customer problem and how your product solves it.

5. Customer Collage Videos

A video that combines all the different elements above into one video, including short videos and photos from customers using a product.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • Similar to reaction videos, mixing short clips of customers using the product adds credibility and trust in your brand. This is because a potential buyer sees other people just like them using your product and enjoying its benefits.
  • These types of videos are great at 15-30 seconds, providing enough depth without being too long.

6. Full Product Experience Videos

These videos are from a customer, showing them receiving the item, discussing the brand experience and why they purchased the product, what made them buy it, how it compares to competitors and what they love about it. They also demonstrate the product’s key features and benefits and how it solves their problem.

  • BOF winner
  • These videos work best when a customer has engaged with the brand multiple times. Given that these videos are much more in-depth than all other kinds of creatives, we need a customer to have a high interest in learning more.
  • Full product experience videos have shown to perform best when between 45-2 minutes long. 

7. Customer review videos

Videos from your customers talking about why they purchased your product, why they love it, and why others should buy it.

  • MOF & BOF WINNER
  • This content is the foundation of user-generated content and consistently provides the final encouragement needed to make a purchase.
  • The best review videos are 20-40 seconds.

8. Testimonial Videos

Videos from customers discussing how the product has helped them or made a difference in their lives and how it could benefit others.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • Testimonial creatives show off your product and add trust in your brand. If your video testimonial is mixed with imagery, this often performs best.

9. Finish Checkout Creatives

Images or videos encouraging users to return to the website and finish checking out.

  • BOF Abandoned Cart winner
  • This is one of the few times being very direct generates a great return. When developing checkout creatives, we’ve found that the more straightforward you are with segmentation, the better it performs. If someone checked out a product but didn’t buy, then call it out and test different creatives to see which converts best.

10. “We miss you” creatives

These videos address in a creative way that we know a user has revisited a website but has not purchased — they encourage the user to return and make a purchase.

  • MOF & BOF winner
  • These creatives focus on the re-engagement of potential customers that have shown a high level of interest but haven’t taken any action in a while. This style of creative works well as an image or 6-10 second video that’s very direct. Since these viewers already understand your brand, you can be direct with creative.

By leveraging our paid advertising insights and strategies in creative development, we aim to provide you with a clear path to creating ads that massively impact your brand. If you’re able to implement a variation of each type of content outlined above, we’re confident that your ad performance will improve.

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