Performance Awareness – Make Your Branding Ads Deliver

It’s time for brand marketers to stand up and be accountable. There has always been a distinction made between brand marketers and direct marketers.Brand marketers are expected to generate top-of-the-funnel awareness and are often measured by ‘soft’ metrics like reach/frequency, engagements or CPM.

This strategy started with the advent of television advertising and was popularized by companies like P&G – companies that had deep pockets, general interest products and no direct relationship with the customer, meaning no compelling bottom funnel metrics to measure.

Direct marketers are expected to drive conversions that are sales or can predictably lead to sales. These metrics include cost per acquisition, return on ad spend and cost per lead. Because direct marketers have a hard ceiling on the amount they can afford to spend on acquisition, direct marketers’ biggest challenges is getting campaigns to produce at or below target.

With a full funnel approach, brand marketers and direct marketers need to be integrated in the same way that marketing has traditionally driven leads for sales.Awareness at the top of the funnel must generate soft conversions that move the lead down the funnel and nurture them, until they’re ready for direct response to convert them.
By nurturing consumers, and convincing them to participate in an escalating series of commitments, the full funnel approach can drive lower CPAs than direct response alone.
At Abacus we call this Performance Awareness – executing awareness campaigns that drive users down the funnel and warm them up for direct response ads. It is this relationship between awareness marketing and direct response marketing that attracts the focus of a lot of our thinking and experimentation.
It is through performance awareness and full-funnel strategies that will allow you to build always-on acquisition engines that keep the funnel full and convert at a predictable rate.
So the question is, is it possible to measure awareness marketing with performance KPIs, so the funnel can be evaluated as a sum of the funnel stages, resulting in an efficient always-on CPA?
We polled the optimization team at Abacus and came up with 7 ways you can turn your awareness campaigns into Performance Awareness campaigns:

Create Video Viewer Audiences

Instead of just running video ads, create a custom audience of video viewers and use those audiences to retargeted warm customers. Part of the investment in the awareness campaigns will go towards building audience pools, that can be used for future campaigns.
Performance KPIs to track: cost per video view, average video view length, custom audience growth

Launch a Poll

A lot of Facebook and Instagram ad formats allow you to include a Poll. Ask your customers a question and find out what they prefer. You can then use these insights to focus future campaigns and creative.
Performance KPIs to track: Cost per Poll Response

Collect emails

One of the best ways to turn your awareness campaigns into performance campaigns is to collect email addresses. The best way to acquire emails is to offer value in exchange and make it easy to submit.

There are many ways to achieve this goal, but by measuring the number of email addresses acquired and the cost per email, you have another way of attributing value to campaigns and understanding which campaigns are working the best.
You can also use the emails collected to create newly segmented custom audiences.
Performance KPIs to track: emails collected, cost per email address 

Go fishing

There’s a tactic that we use a lot at Abacus that we call fishing. This involved pushing a piece of highly targeted content to a fairly general audience and creating a new marketing pool of people who interact with the content.
That way, you can create targeting audiences that aren’t available to be targeted natively.
The trick is to ensure that the content resonates strongly with the desired audience; otherwise, you can’t depend on the homogeneity of the custom audience.
Performance KPIs to track: Audience segment growth 

Choose Your Own Adventure

You can present a selection of top of the funnel content and let the consumer self-segment themselves into separate custom audiences. Once bucketed, you can retarget each custom audience with more content, based on their selection.
Facebook and Instagram carousel ads are great for this. Load in some good content, add a thumb-stopping image and then create custom curated audiences
Performance KPIs to track: Audience growth

Lead Ads

Lead ads are a key part of performance marketers toolkit. They leverage the personal information already stored on Facebook to create frictionless lead generation, all without leaving the platform.
What most people don’t know is that most ad types can be appended to a lead ad. For example, that video ad you’re running to generate engagements? It could be generating leads if you add it to a lead ad.
Performance KPIs to track: the number of leads generated, cost per lead, lead to conversion ratio, cost per acquisition

High Value Segments

Not every interaction is worth the same, so if you can design processes that tease out the high-value customers, you can market to them separately and lookalike them separately (create lookalike audiences based only on high-value customers)
Once they hit your page, you can use new dwell time metrics to weed out the bouncers. You can also add multiple CTAs, secondary button clicks and intermediate button clicks to figure out the people really interested in the topic. Or you can create custom audiences of people that visit 2 or more pages on your site.
Once you segment, you can personalize.
Performance KPIs to track: segment growth 
By connecting the funnel stages on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can drive sales by tasking your awareness ads with pushing users down the funnel. You can figure out which top and middle funnel campaigns drive the most sales. And most importantly, you can double down on the ideas that are working the best, and jettison the ones that aren’t performing.
How exciting is that? 

It’s time to stop thinking about awareness vs. performance and start thinking about how they work together. It’s time to start holding your awareness marketing accountable to driving traffic down the funnel in meaningful ways. And it’s time to think about nurturing consumers through the funnel and creating a series of conversions with escalating commitment, instead of asking for it all the first time.
Here’s to the full funnel marketers, may they inherit the web!

Abacus Agency
Abacus Agency

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