Why Customer Journey advertising has become essential for ecommerce sales

customer journey advertising

Since 2010, digital ad spending has been growing at a rate 5X faster than non-internet-based media buying. Why is that? Because 1. all businesses need customers 2. customers can only buy what they know exists, and 3. everyone who is anyone now lives their entire life on the internet. 

We’re currently experiencing a total digital advertising boom, with yearly online ad spending projected to grow to $298.1 billion by the end of 2020. To keep pace, many e-commerce businesses have focused their budgets towards pumping Instagram and Facebook full of as many sparkling product images as possible, adopting an “If we show it, they will buy,” approach. But as you could probably tell from the formulaic tone of this intro… I am about to tell you that’s not the best strategy.

It’s no longer enough to just show off your products. Now more than ever your first touch with customers needs to:

  • 1. Demonstrate Value
  • 2. Establish Credibility

Let me explain why and how with some nicely organized paragraphs and headers so you can easily navigate my reasoning. 

Why are Value and Credibility so important?

The truth is, there is a lot of competition on Facebook and Instagram these days, but it’s definitely not all of equal quality. Many e-commerce ads are run with short-sighted ad strategies, impossibly tight margins, and minimal thought towards building a brand. 

This means they’re also probably not providing adequate customer support, product quality, a respectful return policy… the list goes on. What this is that after one or two bad experiences with low-quality e-commerce brands, online audiences are more skeptical than ever.    

Your potential customers see ads every day and they are experts at assessing the value and relevance of each offer. Because of the growing skepticism of digital audiences, your ads not only have to outshine the competition but also effectively differentiate you from the e-commerce stores selling empty promises. Which means making a sale after showing up once in someone’s feed with nothing but a product photo, has become darn near impossible. There simply doesn’t exist an ad that can do all that work in one go.

How does the “Customer Journey” play into this?

Don’t worry, I am not about to pretend like “Customer Journeys” are a new concept. It’s become like the pledge of allegiance for marketers/advertisers everywhere and I am sure you are familiar with the basics. It’s a framework for understanding the different stages customers pass through as they are funneled towards making a purchase. 

The stages are often called different things but represent similar ideas: DISCOVERING, LEARNING/LIKING/TRUSTING, and BUYING. 

But even though many are aware of the importance of the Customer Journey, advertising is often thought of as “the first step”. Ads are often used in the DISCOVERY phase, while LEARN, LIKE, TRUST, and BUY are thought of as jobs for content marketing and the website experience. 

The reality is, advertising can play a much more active role. Building a Customer Journey-based ad strategy can transform a brand’s advertising into the driving force behind every step. By changing the way you think about your advertising strategy its possible to serve ads that adapt to each phase of your customer journey and deliver the right message at the right time, based on individual user behavior. 

Customer Journey advertising
The E-commerce Customer Journey

The result is your ads are able to more effectively demonstrate your brand’s value and establish your credibility through a series of personalized communication. Your digital experience will better reflect the quality of your end products and blow the competition’s “out of context single product image” ads out of the water. 

So what does a Customer Journey-optimized advertising strategy look like?

First of all, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. You’re going to need to make three campaigns and configure slightly different settings for each segment. 

Top of the funnel:

Building the campaign for your customer’s discovery phase is essentially creating a prospecting campaign. Because this ad will be your first touch, you’ll want to avoid the temptation to promote a specific product listing. Your goal here is to drive inexpensive traffic to your store. You’ll want to demonstrate the larger value of your brand by showcasing a lifestyle, the big-picture goal, or even some interesting content. 

Example: you sell blinged-out office supplies? Don’t show a top-selling mouse pad, show an incredible office space with people having the time of their lives.

Middle of the funnel:

The ads for the LEARNING, LIKING, and TRUSTING stages will be retargeting ads sent to the prospects who converted in your Discovery campaign. With the right configurations, you can set up your Facebook Business Manager account to track the page views of your website visitors and show them ads based on their visits to specific pages

This segment of traffic has already “discovered” you, which means they’re “warm”. You can gauge their level of interest by segmenting the traffic further based on the page they visit. Did they view the home page? A product category? Or did they make it all the way to viewing a specific product page? With each step the visitor gets closer to becoming a customer and can potentially receive ads to redirect their attention, should they leave before making their purchase.

This is when your Facebook Pixel really comes into play. You can personalize the ads sent to each segment. Pay attention to your retargeting settings to make sure you cap the number of ads sent per user to avoid wasting your budget and annoying the heck out of people. 

Bottom of the funnel:

The bottom of the funnel is also a retargeting campaign. This campaign should be configured to target the users that have passed to the next phase of their Customer Journey. The ads are also personalized based on the user’s behavior. They can dynamically remind users of products they may have left in their cart or reach out with an offer like free shipping or a small discount to help encourage them to complete the checkout process. 

Brainity’s approach: Automated Prospecting & Retargeting

Customer Journey advertising is the core of our automation platform, Brainity. We built the platform to help e-commerce stores easily create professional campaign structures on Facebook and Instagram, without the worry of possible configuration errors. It’s a powerful solution for anyone interested in Customer Journey advertising and consequently a great option for improving the advertising strategy of your business.

What do Brainity campaigns do?

  • Configure your Customer Journey and campaign structure.

    The right structure eliminates silos and puts each campaign to work optimally together to grow your sales.

  • Define your perfect audience.

    Brainity helps you define the optimal interest-based audience for your brand and creates lookalike audiences based on your store’s events like Purchases and Add to carts. By utilizing lookalike and interest-based audience, every conversion event helps to optimize your campaigns’ targeting towards the people most likely to become your future customers and lower your overall campaign costs.

  • Retarget your traffic with dynamic ads.

    The platform serves smart ads that auto-sync with your store’s products to show personalized, in-stock items, the appropriate number of times to maximize conversions and eliminate wasteful spending.

  • Continuously optimize your campaigns.

    Brainity intelligently allocates your monthly budget between each campaign based on your real-time traffic and website performance. The platform automatically selects and update the best optimization event for each campaign and continuously refines audience targeting and curation.

Start your free 14-day trial and try the platform out for yourself.  

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