Digital Media & the Purchase Funnel

What to use when

When we think about digital media, there are a few specific classifications that come to mind that really have a defined place within the marketing mix: Paid Search, Display, and so on. On the contrary, there are also certain placements that are more ambiguous and may play a variety of roles. Ultimately, what marketers need to ask themselves as they evaluate which media strategy is best for their brand, is ‘What am I looking to achieve for my brand?’ and ‘How can I align my goals with the available media opportunities out there?’

Sales Funnel

The traditional purchase funnel is fairly straight forward; Awareness at the top, then Consideration, Evaluation, and finally Purchase (this has changed over time but for simplicities sake, let's just go with it). Below we’ll take a look at which digital media strategies best align with each phase of the funnel.

AWARENESS

At the very top of the funnel is the idea of awareness: you want to get the word out there about your brand, your service, your product.  This is, ultimately, a game of reach and determining where you can get the widest audience possible. A good fit for an awareness driven campaign, traditionally, tends to be Display Advertising or Social Advertising.

CONSIDERATION/EVALUATION

Moving down the funnel, when you think about consideration and evaluation, the goal is to become part of the ‘standard set’ of brands that users consider when determining where they’re going to make their final purchase of a given item or service

Consideration tends to be a little more directional in nature, so some of the media options that do a really good job of putting you in that consideration funnel are Paid Search and Remarketing.

As mentioned, there are also media tactics that are more likely to fall under several phases of the purchase funnel. As such, there could be a play here for Display as well, especially when you start getting into really specific and robust targeting.

PURCHASE

Continuing on down to the bottom, you reach the purchase or conversion phase of the funnel. Often times, the end-all be-all goal of a specific campaign is total conversions. As marketers, we’re all very familiar with these types of goals. In fact, the majority of companies I've worked with focus primarily on direct response or conversion oriented metrics.  When considering which digital media tactics to implement to drive direct response, typically Paid Search, Remarketing, and Email Marketing, when looking at paid media as a whole, are likely going to be the opportunities that perform the best. Especially when it comes to the DR Model.

LOYALTY               

Not included in the above funnel, but definitely worth mentioning, is Loyalty. These days, it’s not uncommon to have marketing goals and objectives around consumer loyalty. So how do you get people to continue to engage with your brand?  How do you get people to continue to purchase from you again and again? How do you make sure that if past consumers are in the market for a similar service or product again, that they come to you first?

This is where Remarketing comes into play. Remarketing campaigns are a great way to target and speak specifically to users that you know have purchased online from you previously, and allow you to remain top-of-mind when they are ready to make another purchase. In addition to Remarketing, Email Marketing and Social Media are also great ways to get in front of people and encourage loyalty.

So hopefully I’ve shed a little light on the classifications of paid media and what to use at each phase of the purchase funnel from Awareness to Conversion.  Certainly, these are not hard and fast rules, but in my experience, these tend to be how the categories of media perform the best, when focusing on specific marketing objectives.