Intent vs Awareness Advertising

Adwords or Facebook, What’s Most Effective?

As a followup to a previous post, I’d like to expound on a topic popular with business owners. How should I best use my advertising budget?  Facebook, Google Adwords, LinkedIn, Youtube?

Let’s answer this once & for all. To begin, the question should be ‘Am I looking to advertise to people with a specific intent for my products or services?’ or ‘Am I looking to create awareness and influence potential customers into my product or services?’

Demand Driven vs Demand Driving.

Intent Advertising

Let’s take, for example, a tow truck operator. Reverse engineer it, and their customer base can solely be defined as ‘People in need of a tow’ and 9 times outta 10, IMMEDIATELY! Occasionally someone might have a 2nd car, or the ability to take public transportation or catch a ride so the tow isn’t needed asap, but generally speaking it isn’t something one would browse for unless they needed one soon. To fix a problem, the problem being their car doesn’t work. A typically workflow for a customer in this niche would be to google search something along the lines of “Tow truck” and click one of the top links Google returns.

In this industry, its a classic case of intent based advertising strategies being best suited for the business. PPC rates for this industry are very competitive, so using effective ad copy can help influence users decisions to click, subjecting you to a high CTR, all the while lowering your PPC. However, a cost per lead can be high, especially for a tow working with a mechanic who does the fixing, costs can easily be offset. Other intent based categories can include:

  • Eye Doctor
  • Dentist
  • Hair Salon
  • Wedding Vendors
  • Auto Mechanics/Auto Body
  • Contractors/Roofers/Hardwood Flooring

Awareness Advertising

The alternative to ‘intent based’ is different. Let’s say a new restaurant opens in town, and has money set aside to run a small ad campaign. It wouldn’t exactly be prudent to await people to simply Google search for ‘Restaurants’. Nor is it all that common. Secondly however, people are so much more casual within their restaurant decision making. They can be loyal to their current options, and unaware of any new openings in their area. To a greater extent, new TV shows find it necessary to advertise using awareness based delivery. Which is why The Big N tends to flood my Facebook wall with video ads for a new original show, that I’ve never searched for or watched, and may or may not be interested in.

In Summary

I heard where Abe Lincoln was asked if he had 8 hours to cut down a cherry tree, how would he go about it? He paused, considered, and responded “Well, I’d spend the first 6 hours sharpening the saw.”

Now, I don’t know if that’s true, but what we can learn from this is that if you’re business is going to spend money on online advertising, you’ll want to align yourself with someone with the experience who views it as such. It’s not the old days of running expensive ads on TV or radio, waiting a couple weeks, and hoping it works by viewing your business income for the month, it’s a careful planning of goals and objectives, followed by best practices and methods of reaching your target base.