How to Use Facebook Ads to Target Your Audience at Each Stage of the Consumer Decision Journey

June 5, 2019

When it comes to social media marketing, one of the key benefits behind the technologies available to us in today’s industry is the ability to identify specific audience segments.

Through an individual’s online activity, we’re able to utilize numerous data points to gather insights on what interests an online user may have, and more importantly, where they fall within the consumer decision journey for the product we’re advertising. The Consumer Decision Journey (or CDJ) is the buying path a person takes when researching, shopping for, and ultimately purchasing a product or service.

The Consumer Decision Journey and How It’s Used

At the top of the funnel, users are just beginning to demonstrate their interest in a particular product without knowing exactly what brand they want to shop for. This stage is identified as the Awareness stage.

As users become more interested in the product and move further along the path to conversion, they begin to fall into the Consideration stage. Here, they begin to conduct more online research of the product and start shopping for or comparing different brands.

Finally, once users have decided they want to purchase and are only choosing between specific details of a brand’s product offering, they then fall into the Purchase stage. Through our digital marketing efforts, we look to achieve a full-funnel targeting approach by messaging the user differently as they move through the Consumer Decision Journey. The goal here is to build the brand affinity early on, further inform the user as they research the product and ultimately secure the purchase.

Using Facebook To Reach New Customers

Facebook provides the unique ability to adjust our targeting tactics and messaging based on where a user falls within the Consumer Decision Journey. The platform provides different campaign objectives which cater to a user’s purchasing intent. This allows for an improved user experience, and a more holistic approach to our social campaigns.

At the Awareness stage, we utilize the “awareness” objective, which focuses on driving ad recall lift and reaching users who will remember seeing our ad, effectively building the framework for brand affinity. At the Consideration stage, we leverage the “website conversion” objective geared towards reaching users who will complete an online conversion (based on a client’s KPIs). Lastly, at the Purchase stage, we can run dynamic remarketing campaigns featuring product carousels, showcasing relevant products or abandoned shopping cart items for an e-commerce shopper, and drive them straight to purchase.

Alternatively, we can run “lead generation” campaigns, which integrate native lead forms into our social ads, allowing users to share their contact information directly with a company. Lead generation campaigns enable us to quickly funnel leads to our clients’ sales teams, who are ready to assist in the purchase process.

Messaging and the User Experience

To further improve user experience, ads within each of these objectives are manipulated to share messaging that best aligns with the purchasing intent of a user. To illustrate this point, I’ll use an existing client in the real estate vertical. For this account, we leverage Evergreen type ads within our Awareness campaigns that provide information about available communities and homes, including the types of amenities each brand offers. Further down the funnel, as the user looks to find more information online, we add more detailed pricing, home sizes and location information to our copy to aid in the Consideration stage research. Then, at the high-intent Purchase stage, we utilize dynamic ads to retarget users who are pre-qualified by previously visiting our client’s site. These ads in the lead generation campaign dynamically populate to reach a user with messaging about exact homes they previously visited, or homes that are similar to what they’ve browsed in the past.

By following this approach, we can leverage Facebook’s technologies to best target a user as they move through the Consumer Decision Journey, effectively hitting our client’s goals and securing our expertise in the digital marketing industry. How are you using Facebook’s ad options to target users as they move along the path to conversion? Share your experience in a comment below!

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