PPC and the Marketing Lifecycle

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Paid Search is often used to bring awareness to your product or service, but don’t overlook its value during each phase of the marketing lifecycle.

Most marketers are familiar with the acronym AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action), which describes the timeline from which a consumer engages with a brand. This tried and true model can be applied to your paid search strategy, but as Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, told SEMPO Director Mike Grehan, a better approach can be stated using three simple terms. See. Think. Do.

See. Think. Do. is a simple framework of which the goal is to reach a qualified, addressable audience with the proper message at any time in the decision-making process. Since the time to shift from “see” to “think” to “do” varies for every consumer, it is necessary to have three distinct yet simultaneous PPC programs to reach the broadest possible audience.

Using Kaushik’s example, digital marketers must think from a consumer’s perspective. During the “see” stage, PPC campaigns should try to reach everyone who is in the discovery consideration stage. This is anyone qualified to be a customer. In general, your keyword strategy should be broad and general in nature but still limited to those who are likely to be interested in your service. Your ad copy and landing page calls to action must align with the consumer’s intent. Calls to action such as “Learn More” or “Contact Us” will help drive consumers from the “see” stage to the “think” stage.

As you build your PPC campaign for those in the “see” stage, the goal is not yet a conversion, so key performance indicators should be based on your goals of driving awareness. Share of impressions and percent of new visits are a few of the KPIs that are relevant to determine if your campaigns are effective.

In the “think” stage, your keywords will become narrower, while your targeting becomes more specific. Instead of driving consumers to a home page or a contact form, you should think about which “micro-conversions” will help drive the consumer to the next phase. These micro-conversions may be driving the consumer to a category page or a video download. During the “think” stage, your goal is to prove to the consumer that your product or service is THE solution to their problem. Your goal as a marketer is to determine your prospect’s intent – based on their measurable action – to move toward the “do” stage. It is during this stage that you’ll begin to focus more on your overall click-through rates, page depth, and percent of assisted conversions. It is also important to measure conversions to your micro-conversions. Those in the “think” stage are closer to making a purchase decision but are still likely not to convert in the traditional sense.

As the consumer moves further down the funnel into the “do” stage, your metric for success can finally be conversion rate. It is at this stage that consumers should be ready to buy. From a PPC perspective, your keywords, ad copy, and most importantly, your landing page must be aligned and optimized for conversion. Your keywords should be very focused and specific toward buying, ad copy should include direct links to shopping cart pages, and landing pages should have clear and definitive calls-to-action. You should, however, look beyond conversion rate. Other metrics to review in the “do” stage are return visitor rate, checkout abandonment rate, and profit. This chart succinctly describes See. Think. Do.

See. Think. Do. should be applied not only to your PPC campaigns but to all your campaigns. It is a simple, yet effective way to measure not only direct response but all your marketing actions.

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