For this week's Weekly Wisdom video, I will explain how to choose the right PPC channel to reach internet users who are of the right state of mind for what you are selling. A common mistake that people make when distinguishing between the different forms of pay per click advertising is to distinguish by platform. Another common mistake is to assume that one platform is better than another. I am often asked, what is better for driving sales, Google or Facebook ads? And really, the answer is that it depends. It depends on what it is, and the state of mind of the people who want to buy it.
Before I begin, let me introduce myself. My name is Joel Bondorowsky, I am SEMrush's PPC academy professor and also founder of PPC Designs, a boutique ad agency that specializes in large mass market performance based paper click advertising campaigns.
The Four Steps of the Decision Making Funnel
So let me begin by explaining what I mean by the state of mind of your users. There are several steps that a person takes in their mind before they make a purchase. These steps can be illustrated by the decision making funnel. Most of us are familiar with the concept of a sales funnel, an example of a sales funnel could be one where users enter a landing page, view a shopping cart, proceed to checkout, and finally make a purchase. Funnels are shaped like a cone because as users progress down it, their numbers decrease, just as how the volume in a funnel decreases towards the bottom. Sales funnels illustrate the steps that one must take in order to complete a purchase. The decision making funnel, on the other hand, illustrates the steps and one's mind that one must take before they decide that they want to take action and buy something. The decision making funnel is comprised of four steps. These are awareness, interest, desire, and action.
Each of these steps represents a different state of mind that a user is in. The clicks that you drive to your website are made by people. These people must first be aware of your product before they can have interested in it. They also must desire it before they can take action and purchase. The decision making funnel is also shaped like a cone because there are way few users at the bottom of it ready to take action than those at the top who are not yet even aware of what it is that you offer.
So now let me get into where the different PPC channels fit in with all of this; I will start with search advertising. Now when I say search, I am not only speaking of Google search. I am speaking of any type of search advertising where you can display an ad in response to a search query that a person makes; this search query expresses very well the state of mind that the user is in.
A person searching for information about a problem that they are having is at the top of the decision making funnel; they are not yet aware that there is a solution. If a person is searching for a solution, they have already been made aware but do not yet desire the product that you are selling. If a person is searching for a particular product or service, they are expressing desire but not in a way that shows they are ready to take action and buy. Finally, if a user searches for a product by its brand name or with the word best or cheapest near, they are expressing intent to buy.
When Search Advertising Works
Now, search advertising works when you can show the most relevant ad for what the user is looking for. If you are bidding on keywords that are towards the top of the decision making funnel, it will be very difficult for you to produce ads that are relevant enough to have a high enough quality score to run effectively.
For example, let's say you are selling vacation packages to the Caribbean and you are bidding on a keyword like "ways to relax". A person looking for ways to relax is going to be unlikely to want to engage in your ad. It is because of this lack of relevance that you will have trouble getting served at all.
Search advertising works best when you are targeting users that are towards the bottom of the decision making funnel. These are people searching for words like Caribbean travel or even Caribbean vacation packages; this traffic can be the most expensive, but it is also the most actionable. These people are looking for you; they are looking for what you sell, they are looking for your product. However, they are also way fewer of these people, which is why running successful campaigns to people who are actively looking for your products is a great way to increase your market share, but you will be limited only to those people who know to look for it.
On the other hand, showing ads to people who aren't yet aware, or interested in a particular product doesn't just increase your market share, but it can potentially increase the size of your market; this is huge. Advertising platforms that have tools to reach the right type of person are capable of doing this. The Google Display Network, Facebook Ads, Tubular and Outbrain to name a few, give you the ability to reach audiences based on who they are, not what they want.
The role of these ads isn't to sell; instead, it has more to entice a person to click. It is then up to the landing page, and it's sales copy to get them to buy. These users are towards the top of the decision making funnel, and they are much, much more plentiful, and their traffic is cheaper. Their conversion rates will always be lower than if someone is searching for an exact product, which is why it is then up to you to produce sales copy that takes them from the awareness stage and brings them all the way down to the action stage and purchase.
Because the Google Display Network also lets you target people not just by who they are, but the content that they are consuming, it can also be a tool to reach people that are lower on the decision making funnel. For example, people reading an article about things to do on a Caribbean vacation are of the state of mind to take a Caribbean vacation. Therefore, if a related website is on the Google Display Network, placing an ad there would be a way to reach people who are more actionable. Advertising with Google Shopping or PLA ads as well as Amazon, or pretty much any other marketplace that lets you show ads after a search is a good way to reach users on the very, very bottom of the decision making funnel.
These people are expressing intent like search, except their intent is solely based on the product. If not, the product wouldn't be displayed. So if you are selling an actual product itself, running PPC on market places might be right for you. So I hope you found this information useful. It is very, very important to choose the PPC channel that you run based on the intent of your users as well as the product you sell. If anyone has any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask below; I will answer. Thank you very much for watching, and I look forward to doing this again.