If you keep up to date with the latest trends in inbound marketing and PPC marketing, you might have heard of the term “Journey-Based Advertising”.
Journey-based advertising is the key to a better user experience and optimizes ads for performance. If you want to stand out in a saturated online space or get more ROI from your ads, you should focus on buyer needs through journey-based advertising.
Today, I’ll explore more about this concept. Hopefully, it’ll help supercharge your inbound marketing and PPC marketing efforts!
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What Is Journey-Based Advertising (JBA)?
Journey-Based Advertising (JBA) combines paid advertising with the Inbound methodology. In short, JBA is a digital advertising strategy where you tailor your ad targeting and ad creation to align with the buyer’s journey.
JBA is powerful precisely because it adapts your advertising strategy to the buyer’s journey. By meeting prospects in the right place, at the right time, JBA turns paid ads from a disruption into a helping hand.
The buyer’s journey describes a buyer’s path to purchase. There are 3 stages in the buyer’s journey
- Awareness: The buyer becomes aware that they have a problem
- Consideration: The buyer defines their problem and considers options to solve it
- Decision: The buyer evaluates and decides on the right provider to administer the solution
To harness the power of JBA, it’s recommended to create a campaign for each stage of the buyer’s journey. Here are some content offer ideas
- Awareness: blog post, webinar, brand awareness video
- Consideration: product/service video, how-to guide, testimonials, case studies
- Decision: consultation, free quote or trial
Benefits Of JBA
Meet Prospects Where They Are In The Buying Decision
As described in the buyer’s journey, people go through a process to become aware of, consider and decide to purchase a new product or service. They don’t buy on a whim, especially for products and services with higher price tag. For instance, you’ll take a longer time to research and buy a laptop than a pen.
With JBA, it ensures that you’re meeting prospects at the stage where they are.
You can even take this a step further with remarketing campaigns. For example, you might serve consideration ads only to people who saw your awareness ads. Simply tap into the retargeting options that Google, Facebook and LinkedIn ads offer. They allow retargeting to website visitors, people who viewed your lead forms, people who watched your videos etc.
Serve The Right Message At The Right Time
Imagine that your date proposed to you during the first date. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
Likewise, you want to ensure that the message in your ads aligns with where your prospects are in the buyer’s journey.
In this stage, prospects are experiencing pain, researching the problem they’re facing and giving a name to this problem.
Your ads should thus be educational. Your goal should be building trust. In addition to attracting their attention, you should position yourself as an industry expert.
In this stage, prospects have already defined their problem and are researching ways to solve this. They’re looking for potential solutions to their problem.
Your ads should thus introduce your products and services as well as explain how you can solve their problem.
In this stage, prospects evaluate and decide on the right solution. They’re choosing from their shortlisted solutions.
Your ads should thus focus on sealing the deal. They should alleviate fears and assure prospects that your solution is right for them. Try to remove doubt, anxiety and any obstacle that stops prospects from choosing you. This could be as simple as letting them know that they can cancel anytime or no contract is required. Likewise, give them a little push with persuasive triggers like free shipping or fuss-free sign up.
Guide Your Media & Budget Planning
Another benefit of JBA is that it can help guide your media and budget planning.
You can view the buyer’s journey as a funnel. Many people would be at the awareness stage. Fewer people would be at the consideration stage. Lastly, people at the decision stage might only be a handful.
Hence, it makes more sense to allocate more budget into awareness campaign, followed by consideration campaign and lastly, decision campaign.
Some PPC channels are also more suited for certain stages. PPC stands for pay-per-click. It’s where you pay a fee each time your ad is clicked. There are many PPC channels such as Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
With JBA, you can narrow down the PPC channels for each stage. For example, you might choose to run a Google Display or YouTube awareness campaign due to their massive reach and Google Search campaign due to its high search intent. Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn lead ads can be used for both consideration and decision campaigns. Note that this isn’t a fixed guideline. You should always take into account the channel and ad format before deciding which is more suitable.
JBA In Action
Here’s an example of how I would run a JBA.
Let’s say that I work as a marketing manager at NCW university and my goal is to recruit 100 potential students for a digital marketing bachelor’s degree before the application deadline in March.
I would allocate 50% of the marketing budget to awareness campaigns. The Google Smart Display campaigns will direct traffic to a blog post of how the bachelor’s degree accelerates a person’s career and a free webinar about why digital marketing is highly in demand. The YouTube campaign, on the other hand, will feature the brand story (and perhaps, a glimpse of vibrant student life and the campus). The purpose of the video is to build brand awareness and simply let people be aware of NCW university.
I would then allocate 30% of the marketing budget to consideration campaigns. Firstly, I would target website visitors or people who watched the YouTube video. Lead ads will be the only ad format I’ll run. This way, I can collect the contact details of prospective students. If the bachelor’s degree is aimed at young people, I would run Facebook and Instagram lead ad campaigns. If the bachelor’s degree has specific admission requirements, I would run LinkedIn lead ad campaigns. LinkedIn provides professional ad targeting where I can target people with X years of experience, people in senior or manager roles or people in marketing functions. The content offer here could be a masterclass or the program brochure.
Lastly, I would allocate the remaining 20% of the marketing budget to decision campaigns. The Google Search campaign would only target brand keywords to ensure that my ads appear to people who search NCW university or the digital marketing bachelor’s degree. This also protects my brand space. Of course, I’ll word the copy differently. In this case, I’ll mention the application deadline to add a sense of urgency. This will encourage potential students to apply earlier and secure a spot.
Bonus Tip: Multi-Channel Attribution
I also strongly recommend that you use a web analytics tool like Google Analytics or customer relationship management software to track leads and attribute your marketing efforts. With this tool, you’ll have a better grasp of multi-channel attribution and it’ll become easier to identify the campaigns that have the most impact on conversions and revenue.
For instance, Google Analytics has top conversion paths and assisted conversions reports. These reports allow you to find out how campaigns interact along your conversion paths and identify valuable campaigns that assist conversions.
Bonus Tip: Extend JBA Beyond PPC
JBA can also extend beyond PPC. You could set up a drip or nurturing email automation. For example, I could enroll leads that downloaded the program brochure into a workflow that sends them a series of automated emails.
- Introduction to NCW University: school ranking, campus location
- FAQ about the Digital Marketing Bachelor’s Degree: Note that it isn’t an introduction to the course because these prospective students already downloaded the program brochure
- Testimonials from current students & alumni
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you implemented journey-based advertising in your marketing strategy? How were the results?
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