Full-Funnel Best Practices for Audience Targeting
Those who call Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday may be happy to read consumers are expected to spend over $27.4 billion on Valentine gifts this year, up 32% from last year. If you’re a retailer, you may be strategizing how to turn products in your inventory into the next best gift for a loved one.
But are you thinking about your audience? Spending on significant others is down 61% from a decade ago, so the engagement ring ads likely won’t cut it. If your holiday strategy isn’t considering audience data throughout your media mix and throughout the funnel, you’re leaving money on the table.
Supported by Rise’s award-winning IIM approach, our cross-channel strategy for audience targeting includes using consumer data to encourage them down the funnel. Read on to learn channel-specific best practices for targeting your consumers at every stage.
Let’s say you’re looking to push your new line of watches as the perfect gift for a Valentine this year. Your top of funnel campaigns need to introduce your target audience to your brand and the product. Like a first date, you’ll want to make the best impression here, and that won’t happen if your audience doesn’t find your ads relevant. Make sure your campaigns are targeted enough that you reach the customers with whom you’re most compatible. Consider these programmatic best practices from Molly Murphy (Client Delivery Lead for Programmatic at Rise) when targeting your top of funnel audience:
- Match personas to targetable audience segments and contextual categories.
- Consider the cost and methodology of audiences prior to launching media.
- Make testing a core component of your brand’s execution strategy in order to find new segments and determine which tactics work best.
- Optimize in real-time using a robust measurement framework and secondary data points to ensure campaign is successful.
Nurturing your audience toward conversion can be a difficult strategy to master. Continuing with the scenario of a new line of watches - once you’ve made your audience aware of the product, your middle of funnel campaigns should be educating your audience on the selling points, tailored to their needs. This is a great time to use a channel like Paid Social, where you can design customized creative to display your product and use complex behavioral targeting to test and redeploy for optimal success. These best practices on Social, from Todd Meadow (Director of Social & Media Operations at Rise), will be helpful in making the most of every impression:
- Segment audiences based on propensity towards conversion to identify the audience segments to focus on and determine where certain audiences need an extra push.
- Establish goals specific to the middle of the funnel, whether its time on site, engagement with ads, video views, etc. Defining a specific goal for this area of the funnel is essential. Optimizing towards conversions has merit too, but comparing middle of funnel tactics with bottom of funnel tactics will not prove or disprove the value of reaching this audience.
- Ensure creative and ad unit usage aligns with the audience being reached and is relevant and captivating. Repurposing bottom of the funnel creatives for use against mid-funnel audiences will not prove as beneficial as having relevant messaging.
- Ensure an exclusion strategy is in place between middle of funnel audiences and top and bottom of the funnel users. Reaching too wide into and across other audiences will only decrease the efficiency of campaigns, driving CPMs up, and not allowing the platforms to learn against individual segments.
Once the new line of watches is launched and the audience is primed with information about its details, you can begin to use all relevant data to create a dynamite bottom of funnel campaign on Paid Search. For example, you can take advantage of all the traffic coming from your Social campaigns (and others) by creating a remarketing list. This will capture users who have already shown interest in the watch and ensure you’re bidding high enough to appear at the top of a SERP when they search for it. Rise clients can take this even further by using our proprietary marketing technology Connex®, where cross-channel integrations can show you performance results by product, creative, network, and more side-by-side. Here are more best practices on Paid Search for bottom of funnel, from Donny Nordmann (Associate Director of PPC at Rise):
- Set up observation audience segments across campaigns to better understand affinities and past engagements searchers have completed.
- Focus on capturing users who are approaching the end of their conversion cycle, such as shopping cart abandoners or someone who has landed on a form page but has yet to complete. These audiences should be applied across all campaigns with an aggressive bid modifier applied to ensure that your ads are appearing at the top of the page when these users are searching online.
- Depending on the brand’s industry and their path to complete a conversion, make sure to also consider applying audience lists as account negatives. For example, products with a high purchase price, such as a new car or an LED TV, will presumably not have customers immediately return to make a second purchase of that same product. Due to this, it is recommended to create audience lists such as “Last 30 Day Converters” and negate that list against all relevant campaigns.
- Develop a cross-channel remarketing strategy to take advantage of audience lists already in place in upper- and middle-funnel tactics. This approach connects the different levels of the marketing funnel and continues to push users down the path to an eventual purchase/conversion.
- Experiment with messaging customized to particular audience groups to help fill these searchers’ unique needs and drive higher CTR engagement.