Ads funnel: a quick guide to improve your campaign ads and increase conversions

Rita Amaral
October 20, 2021

How to get more online sales? How to turn content into conversions? The solution you have been looking for could be: creating ad funnels.

Many online marketing guides tell you to create content, be on social media and engage with your audience. All of this is true: you need to create content to establish your online presence. Customers will then like the content, recognise you as an expert and be more inclined to buy from you.

Of course, you need to sell; however, you should not be aggressive. Just because you have an Instagram profile doesn’t mean the content should only be about your services and products.

This is because most users aren’t ready to buy something with just one post or one ad.

This is common. People go on the internet all the time and process thousands of messages every day. Don’t expect to create a perfect post and make people fall in love with your brand right away. It is more like a process where you will need to interact with the customer many times.

Most users aren’t going to convert due to your core offer after just meeting you.

That means that when they first see you, they are just being introduced to you. Sometimes they don’t know what they want to buy, other times they are just looking for information. Even if they were ready to buy, they have just met you, and they may not trust you enough to buy right away.

Don’t go straight for a sale

You should establish a connection with the user. You should warm the user to your brand, engage with them, build trust, show how your product may solve their problems.

Understanding your customer journey first will make you identify the user’s touchpoints from meeting you to buying from you. When you have this knowledge, your ad strategy and campaign goals will be much clearer.

Therefore, most conversions and higher purchases happen after the user has interacted with you on different occasions.

Ad funnels deal with this issue: they are a great add-on to your online ad strategy, as they guide the user to becoming a customer.

What is an Ads Funnel?

A funnel (like an ice-cream cone) is a symbolic illustration of users’ paths during your customer journey. The first step is the introduction, the second is consideration, and the last is conversion. The goal is to drive people from the top of the funnel (when they meet you) to the bottom (when they confidently purchase from you).

A funnel has a unique configuration: the top is wider than the bottom. This means you will have more users that will get to know you, but only a few of them will buy from you. Driving people through the funnel stages does not guarantee that they will purchase at the end. Along the way, they might find another option, solve the problem elsewhere, or realise they still haven’t found what they are looking for. And that’s okay: your customer will be at the end of the funnel.

There are 3 main stages of the funnel:

  • At the top, we have the awareness level
  • In the middle, the consideration level
  • At the bottom, the conversion level (also called decision level)

In digital marketing slang, sometimes we abbreviate these stages as Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU).

an icecream cone resembles ads funnel

Do ad funnels help me sell more?

Funnels allow you to engage with today’s consumers. As said above, people don’t buy during their first interaction with you because they don’t know you, don’t trust you or know whether what they will be getting from you will help with their needs.

Before buying, people usually look for recommendations and search out a lot more information before deciding. If you push them, you will seem all “Buy me! Buy me!” and lose a potential client.

A funnel will help you understand the customer journey and identify critical touchpoints where users drop out of the funnel altogether and don’t complete the conversion.

Using this data, you can think about why this happens and test ideas to improve, by, for example, changing call-to-actions, creating shorter forms or considering special offers.

In an ad funnel, you can see how the audience responds to your ads when they leave the journey or complete the conversion goal.

Also, if it brings great results, you have lean and somewhat predictable processes to acquire customers consistently over time, allowing your business to grow sustainably. Now, let’s check out the 3 stages of the ad funnel:

1 — Top Of The Funnel (TOFU): when people are aware of your business

This is the seduction stage, we would say. You show off your best qualities to attract attention from people. You want to catch their eye while they are scrolling.

In this stage, you can get creative with fun and informative content. Why does it get attention? Because it is different, provocative and disrupts the infinite scroll activity.

Here you will need an ad that will be interesting and attractive to the chosen audience. You can use some marketing materials to support your ad:

  • Engaging videos
  • How-to articles and List-like articles
  • Blog posts about what people are doing wrong (and how to avoid it)
  • A cannot-miss e-book about a trendy topic

This content must be on your website and social media to reach a broader audience. You can then use online ads to boost this content and get more traffic.

Now that people have clicked and are aware of you, how should they be guided to the next stage?

2 — Middle of the Funnel (MOFU): education and consideration

In this stage, the “flirting” begins — better yet, it’s when the nurturing starts. This is where you build a relationship with that user to get to know their problems, see how you can help, and build trust.

This is an add-on from the previous stage, and you can use different channels to reach the user directly.

Imagine you have an offer to download a free e-book. To sign up, the user gave you their e-mail. They are now on your contact list and can receive your newsletter, which provides more information about your services and special offers.

Your ads will also be different. The user already knows who you are and accepted your first offer (they signed up for your e-book). For the consideration stage, a middle of the funnel ad should provide more information and details to inform the now customer about your business.

To help you, use technical reviews, product comparisons or guides about strategy, for example. Your ad will be less seductive and more directed at a single problem you know a particular audience has. At this stage, you will target the ad copy more precisely because you know this audience showed some interest and took previous action.

3 — The Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU): it’s conversion time!

If the user has reached this stage, they are showing high consideration for you and your company.

They know who you are, received and opened the newsletter, downloaded and read the e-book. The have a better understanding about your service and the expectations you can meet.

They have seen other ads from you and know what you have to offer. An audience that has warmed up to you and your business is closer to being ready for a sale. They are now much more specific in their keyword search and click only on specific ads, like Shopping ads, which show a particular product.

They are more prepared to take the first step: they send an email, call you, they create an account, for example. While running your ad campaign, set up your site’s landing page with your offer’s full specifics. This facilitates a purchase and eradicates larger obstacles to that purchase.

During this stage, the marketing and sales departments work closely. The sales team guides customers that have seen the landing page offer but have a few questions left.

Good content to close the sale may include free trials, demos, promotional offers, bundle offers, and so on.

marketing team doing strategy regarding ads funnel

How to apply an Ad funnel to your marketing strategy

Now that you know how an ad funnel can help attract different audiences to purchase from you, follow these 3 aspects to enhance your marketing efforts.

1 — First, design your customer journey

As mentioned, a customer journey is essential to create an ad funnel. Without it, you cannot map out and create improved campaigns.

For your customer journey, answer questions like:

  • What are the milestones in the prospect journey?
  • What offers you can pair with those milestones?
  • What metrics will you use? (website traffic, conversion link, signup forms)
  • How long does it take?
  • In which stage do people most often leave?

Having those touchpoints will make it easier to create ads to guide the prospect from one stage to the other.

2 — Have multiple campaigns

We recommend you have a campaign for each funnel stage, at least. This is because users will have different expectations at each stage, and you can target them better.

So, you could have Campaign 1 directed at the top of the funnel, campaign 2 at the middle, and campaign 3 at the bottom of the funnel.

For each of these, you can create ad sets (1, 2, 3, 4 — as many as you want) and show them to different audiences. Each ad set can have a specific offer.

For example, in campaign 1, top of the funnel, you can create an ad set with offer 1 for a targeted audience defined as audience 1. Each ad set can have 3–4 offers. Following this logic, you can compare which ad set performs better in their particular stage and get better results.

Apply this strategy to the middle and bottom of the funnel. Of course, you will end up with plenty of ads, but it is the best way to test what you’re creating.

In the advertio app, you can follow this structure to further optimise results.

Why have multiple campaigns?

Putting all your funnel into one campaign will ruin your marketing strategy. This is because you would be dedicating all your efforts to just one campaign and wouldn’t be able to pinpoint what needs to change.

Having different ads for different funnel stages gives you more flexibility to change them or your strategy if something doesn’t work as expected.

3 — Set goals

With everything set up, create goals for each campaign considering your customer journey and the characteristics of each funnel stage.

With the advertio app, you can choose the campaign goals accordingly. These are our recommendations:

  • For top of the funnel: look for brand awareness and reach goals;
  • For the middle of the funnel: use traffic, video views, lead generation, get messages or engagement;
  • For the bottom of the funnel: focus on conversions, visits and sales.

Start using ad funnels in the advertio app

When creating your campaigns in the advertio app, follow this path.

Research the journey the user goes on to get to know you and acquire your service or product. Create an ad funnel strategy with content to compliment your ads. Set up your campaigns and ad sets in the advertio app and create goals. Choose the best keywords for each audience and run your campaigns.

This strategy will significantly improve your online ad efforts and bring your business better results. Shall we start?

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