How Google Campaigns Fit into the Customer Journey

October 16, 2018 Ross Bucholc

Many people consider Google, including paid search and other pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, to be exclusively direct response, focused on driving the last click prior to an inquiry. While Google campaigns can be fantastic at closing sales, Google is also a proven opener. Even paid search campaigns can support the entire customer journey, with prospective customers searching first on non-branded terms and then returning for branded searches.

Attribution tracking and analysis performed by Digital Media Solutions (DMS) suggest paid search and PPC campaigns are intricate parts of the full customer journey. The cross-channel attribution dashboard within Sparkroom, the performance marketing technology used by DMS Digital Agency and a long list of performance marketers, displays paid search in almost all of the top conversion paths.

multi-channel attribution dashboard paid search user journey

During the Initial Research Stage of the Customer Journey: Google Boosts Brand Awareness

Prospective clients often enter the funnel with non-branded Google searches. Performing early research, the search terms can be broad. Especially when partnered with PPC Google Display Network campaigns, paid search can build general brand awareness and support the initial research stage of the customer journey.

Paid Search During the Consideration Stage of the Customer Journey: Google Drives Inquiry Volume

During the Consideration Stage of the Customer Journey: Google Drives Inquiry Volume

Paid search is ultimately designed to capture intent, with a prospective customer clicking on an ad and filling out a form or placing an inbound call. The top user paths are the simplest, but we see many complicated, multi-touch paths that include various forms of paid search and other Google campaigns. In some instances, consumers see retargeting ads ten times or more and then conduct keyword searches before inquiring. The combination of paid search, display and retargeting can have a profound impact on the customer journey, because the compounded effect is what moves the needle.

During the Post-Inquiry Stage of the Customer Journey: Google Supports Nurturing Efforts

After prospective customers inquire, marketers can continue to reach these individuals by creating audience segments and targeting based on email addresses to keep a brand, product or service top of mind. Google Display Network and YouTube (owned by Google) have proven to be effective nurturers. With messaging based on the customer journey stage, Facebook can also be a strong nurturing platform. Efficiently targeted and properly personalized nurturing campaigns, reaching people who previously inquired but have yet to convert, can boost yield, increase conversion rates and lower the average cost per sale.

The best closing channels may also be supporting earlier stages in the customer journey, and the only way to understand the marketing impact is to track the performance. Tracking form fills and conversions is a great start, but cross-channel attribution from impression through conversion is needed to really see what is happening.

Do You Need Help Tracking Your Google Performance Across the Full Customer Journey?

Click here to contact Digital Media Solutions. With Google, tracking and analytics experts on our team, we can help you see how your campaigns are currently performing and set you up for future success.

Click here to request a demo of Sparkroom performance marketing technology and view the cross-channel attribution dashboard.

About the Author

Ross Bucholc

Ross Bucholc is the Director of Paid Media at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), an industry leader in providing end-to-end customer acquisition solutions that help clients grow their businesses and realize their marketing goals. In this role, Ross oversees search, display, social, programmatic, mobile and affiliate programs servicing DMS clients across industries. The DMS Paid Media team focuses on customer-centric, real-time marketing using robust data from multiple sources to understand each customer’s journey and optimize campaign performance. Since its inception, DMS has evolved into a full-service performance marketing company that services firms within highly complex and competitive industries including mortgage, education, insurance, consumer brands, automotive, jobs and careers. DMS has achieved incredible year-over-year growth, which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

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