The problem with this is getting past being an unknown brand and becoming the go-to. So how can you do it? Brand advertising.
Businesses tend to get so wrapped up in shooting straight for the conversion with product-based advertising that they forget about the consumer journey.
How likely is it that you would purchase a product from a brand that you have never seen or heard of before? The answer is of course, unlikely. Although you might stumble across a brand that specialises in a product you’re looking for, chances are you won’t purchase from them until you’ve at least done a little research first.
As such, your marketing needs a two-pronged approach. The first, build brand awareness to potential customers who have never heard of your brand and to those who may have heard of you but know very little about you. The second, target those new and existing consumers with relevant advertising based on their needs.
Brand awareness is simply how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how quick they are to think of you when thinking of a particular product or niche. Brand awareness is somewhat of a vague concept. But just because it doesn’t have set metrics for reporting doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable.
So how do you grow brand awareness through paid-for advertising?
There are a number of routes you can pick and choose from based on your budget, content and business type.
Partnering with influencers is a great way to grow brand awareness as you can directly target your key audience based on your target demographics.
This content path works particularly well for FMCG businesses as there is a low commitment from consumers to make a purchase. There are a number of ways you can grow brand awareness with influencers:
The best way to grow brand awareness using influencer social channels is to highlight key influencers that are relevant to your product and target audience and have them be brand ambassadors for your business and your products.
This is the most costly way to promote your business through influencer content, but has the best ROI as it is the most genuine promotion of a product or brand. Having a long-term relationship establishes your brand with their audience so that they have greater brand affinity. Even better, you could collaborate with them to create their own product – a trend growing among high-profile influencers.
Ideally, you should be seeking out users who are already shouting about your products and activate them to work as your influencers. There’s nothing better than a genuine recommendation but if you’re still relatively unknown in your niche, paid collaboration is a great option for increased brand awareness.
A one-off post is a relatively cheap way to get brand awareness via an influencers social channels. Of course, you can gift the product and hope that they post about it if they try it and like it.
View this post on Instagram
[contains gifted items] Was repping my gal @esteelalonde goddess jewellery collection with @daisy_jewellery yesterday. Lot’s of you ask me what jewellery I wear on a regular basis and Estee’s goddess collection is definitely up there with some of my favourite pieces. She’s added lot’s of new bits recently and I’m just obsessed. Just wanted to share the jewellery & girl-boss love 🧡🧡
However, the best way to ensure your product makes the cut, is to pay for a sponsored post.
This will usually be quite obvious that it is a paid-for post but given the surge in influencers and their collaboration with brands, social audiences are less opposed to seeing branded content.
Work with your influencer to define the content for the post – but be sure to give them creative freedom. This is the best way to ensure that your ad doesn’t look so much like an ad, and more like a genuine recommendation.
View this post on Instagram
When traveling, shopping and efficiency meet, this is what it looks like @starlingbank. I had the best time in the Maldives (did you guys pree my stories), which was made even better by having this little beauty with me. Maximize the coins with fee-free spending from Starling and live exchange rates while on holiday! I'm a simple girl with simple pleasures. #FeelGoodAboutMoney #TravelWithTeal AD
Of course, this is a product post so it’s a product endorsement rather than a brand endorsement, but this is still a great start.
One way to grow brand awareness with influencers is to host a social competition directly on their channels. Giveaways are simple. All you need to do is provide your chosen influencer with the key messaging that must be included in the post and leave the rest to them.
This is a great way to get your products seen by relevant audiences. It also gets your product out there in a way that isn’t salesy or out of context. By hosting a giveaway on an influencer’s page, this subliminally suggests the influencer already has an affinity for your product and so raises intrigue to their audience.
Display advertising is a great way to build brand awareness as you can feature your brand in trusted and relevant parts of the internet that your consumer may use. This method of advertising allows you to use rich visuals, animated banners and videos in front of the exact type of audience you choose.
There are two options of targeting you can choose for when using display advertising:
The display network ad technology can read and understand the type of content where the ad is being served and also know the users interests based on previous clicks, browsing history etc.
So for, example, if you want to sell nappies and reach mothers with toddlers, your keywords will enable your ads to be served across mother and baby blogs, or children’s videos on YouTube.
This is a great way to use AI to grow your network and reach relevant audiences across a variety of channels and sites.
If you don’t have set demographics such as age, gender or location to use, you can instead choose specific ad placements that you know will appeal to your target audience.
For example, if you’re selling suitcases and your target audience is globetrotting business people, then you could elect to choose to run your display ads on sites like lonelyplanet.com or relevant business news pages.
You can also create campaigns with both placement and contextual targeting options running, meaning you can target people on both fronts. Of course, this is dependent on your product and what best suits your target audience.
Pay per click is very much a performance-based channel with companies tending to focus their attention on the results of paid search campaigns, and not focusing on brand awareness.
Campaign goals around branding are much higher up in the funnel than conversion campaigns as they’re not there to drive sales. As such, these should ideally take precedence because as we know, consumers won’t buy from a brand they don’t know.
Search intent is a great way to capitalise and grow your brand awareness. If a potential consumer is searching, it means they are looking for an answer to their query.
Build PPC ads on strong, targeted keywords that are specific to what your company does and what it sells. Use these to grow brand affinity for that searching user so that they grow to associate your brand with the product they’re searching for. Of course, you want your product-based adverts, but try something a little more light-touch.
Think about your user. If your business is selling sturdy suitcases, think about the first stage of your consumer’s journey and what they’re searching for. Chances are, they’re going to be looking for things like “best travel suitcase” or “highly rated suitcase”. Use informative content, like blogs, in your PPC campaigns to get to your user at this point of their search. Give them the answers to their questions so that when they’re ready to buy, you’re front of mind.
Paid social is a never-ending gift for increasing brand awareness. Whether you’re using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest or one of the many other social channels, there’s plenty you can do with even a small budget on social.
Always, always, invest in brand content. Strong brand content is about your business, not about your products. Make sure it’s tailored to each channel you’re sharing it on. There’s nothing worse than seeing content on a channel that doesn’t quite fit.
Facebook and Instagram
The paid ad opportunities on Facebook are pretty much endless. One great way to grow your brand awareness is by creating lookalike audiences. You can tailor this to look like your current Facebook followers, or if you have a Pixel (a tool to track web visitors and retarget to them), you can tailor it to create an audience that is similar to your website users.
With differing percentages for how similar you want these audiences to be, you can end up reaching millions of potential new customers by targeting similarities between your current and prospective consumers.
Use strong organic content to your benefit too. Where you can, boost well-performing content on channels to help you reach new audiences. Chances are, if your post is being well-received by your organic following, it could help drive increased following to a paid audience.
There are plenty of advertising options on YouTube, but for brand awareness, we would recommend bumper ads.
Bumper ads are six seconds which feature before or during a video. Short-form videos such as these are a great way to give a glimpse into your brand, and even better, they’re not skippable unlike the traditional TrueView video adverts on YouTube.
With YouTube, not only can you segment your advert by demographics like age, gender and geographic location, but you can also target videos by topic, category and keywords.
This means that if you’re a hiking-based company, you can promote your brand video in front of hiking-based videos, meaning the people watching your ad will be much more interested in your company. With YouTube being the second biggest search engine, this is great way to grow your brand to key target audiences using relevant searches and content to drive awareness.
Paid-for awareness campaigns on Twitter area great way of getting more people to see your Tweet. If you have a relatively low social following, then this is a great way to get discovered.
These paid-for tweets can be served in a number of locations including:
You can also promote a trend, which means that your selected trend will be featured in the ‘Explore’ section of twitter to audiences. This is quite high-impact for a brand awareness campaign but as it’s viewable to all users, it’s not targeted.
Honestly, this is dependent on your business and the products or services you sell. However, a mixture of all of the above is a great way to test and refine what content works and what doesn’t.
You need to be mindful of your consumer journey and ensure you have the relevant content at each level. Paid-for brand advertising is an extra kick. Use it to push more people into the top of your funnel. It should never be used as a substitute for any part of the funnel.
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