August 6, 2020
Google Quality Score: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Improve It
Each customer follows a well-mapped journey down the buying funnel, going through different stages of awareness and consideration before ending on a decision or purchase. At each level of the funnel, there are actions that you can take to make the most of your Google Ads campaigns.
Since the different categories of the funnel require different marketing strategies, setting up your Google Ads account to nurture people through this process is pivotal to success. During the decision stage, consumers have already made up their minds and are ready to convert. The consideration stage is an opportunity to separate yourself from your competition and establish expertise. Consideration and decision tend to be the main drivers of direct conversions, but the top of the funnel – awareness – is arguably the most important stage in the purchase process.
During the awareness stage, potential customers are conducting heavy research on a question they have or a problem they need solved. Regardless of the scenario, this stage is heavily focused on educating your audience. Without capitalizing on this stage in the funnel, user acquisition can run low, and it can become difficult to continue growing past your existing customer base. Efforts such as Google Display prospecting and non-branded, research-related search campaigns are strong methods to acquire additional customers.
Display campaigns take content, either image or text, and push it in front of internet users. Without proper constraints in place, these ads can technically reach anyone in the world, making proper audience targeting especially important. For example, by layering Google Display Network audiences, topics, contextual keywords, and other features, you can ensure you only serve ads to people who would be interested in a product that you offer.
In addition to selecting the correct targeting, directing people to the appropriate landing pages on your site is crucial – and possibly even more important – to success. For example, people who have clicked on a display ad might not necessarily be ready to purchase just yet, and taking them to a specific product or sales-focused page can make the process feel forced, thus driving away potential customers. People who are still are unaware of possible solutions would most benefit from high-level landing pages, such as a home page, an about page, or any other informational section that can teach them more and nurture them to the next step in the funnel. The same concept applies to the messaging you use for your display ads.
Non-branded, research-related search targeting, a tactic further down the funnel than display, is another important Google Ads campaign type for driving awareness. Based on what keywords people are searching, you know that they have expressed interest in specific topics. From here, you can target new customers knowing that they are interested in something that you offer. To reach people in the research stage, you can also make sure to target more general, short-tail keywords that introduce your product as a possible solution.
Since people searching for non-brand research terms have already expressed some intent, they will be willing to learn more about your product’s importance and are ready to gather more information to address their specific needs. Landing pages for these Google Ads campaigns should focus on showing slightly more specified content that aligns with their interests and introduces why your product is the best option. This, in turn, teaches them about your company and gets them closer to making an eventual decision.
Because the goal of these top-of-funnel efforts is to drive qualified new traffic into your sales funnel, you should not evaluate them with the same metrics you use to evaluate brand and remarketing campaigns. These higher-funnel campaigns are monumentally important to getting you in front of new customers. Without investing in top-of-funnel efforts, progress can plateau, and growth can turn from a tangible reality into a fleeting hope as you play catch-up to rapidly expanding competitors. Capture your audience early, and your brand will gain hard-earned recognition and validity while you increase your chances of driving more conversion-related actions on your site.
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