Engagement Marketing in the Purchase Journey

Ali Ridge
April 1, 2021
Consumers are bombarded by over 4,000 ads each day, so how should a brand break through the static? By reaching out in the middle of the funnel and utilizing interactive ads to connect with their core audience. Read more below.

Engagement Marketing in the Purchase Journey

Engagment marketing in the consumer journey

Regardless of the product or service, the consumer purchase journey almost always begins the same way: consumers are introduced to a brand and begin researching the ins and outs of it. But the savviest marketers know that there are ways to get ahead of the competition, bringing the answers to the audience before they begin comparison shopping on a competitor’s website. Enter engagement marketing. Nestled squarely after the brand introduction and right before the conversion. 

If you’re running a media campaign, you’re likely already focused on two main things: building awareness with tactics like video and driving conversions with direct response tactics like paid search. But what happens on the consumer’s journey between that introduction and conversion? What exists in the middle of the funnel to fuel the connection between your brand and its audience? Consumers at that stage of the journey have questions that most likely require some education. This is where consumer engagement comes in, where the business presents an opportunity to interact and the consumer willingly engages.

What is consumer engagement?

“Consumer engagement” has become one of those buzz words of the industry, like “attribution” or “omnichannel,” but what does it really mean? Paul Greenberg from HubSpot sums it up the best, defining it as “the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.” The key word here is “chosen.” The consumer is voluntarily engaging with your brand, generating a lasting brand impact that is geared toward increasing brand recall.

In the digital era, consumer engagement goes far beyond event-based marketing, forcing brands to reach out through interactive ads. Not only is this wanted by consumers, but it’s expected. As more companies invest in digital engagement drivers, studies show that consumers expect brands to step up and do the same. This trend has been spurred by the pandemic with 88% of people expecting companies to now accelerate digital initiatives. So, businesses must bring ongoing interactive opportunities to their core audience. In turn, this keeps the brand top of mind throughout the purchase journey while also providing valuable information to the consumer.

Consumer engagement tactics in action

When it comes to ads focused on consumer engagement, the customizations and opportunities are almost endless. To name a few:

  • Carousels of imagery and information
  • Quizzes
  • Interactive games
  • Multiple videos within ad units
Client example:

At Collective Measures, we use interactive ads (or “rich media”) frequently for clients, customizing the plan around the brand’s objective and the story they want to tell. Recently, we executed a campaign for a home improvement brand, utilizing a “value-exchange” ad that offered the option to interact with the ad in exchange for ad-free episode streaming. This customizable unit began with a 15-second video showcasing a before and after of a home, followed by a quiz unit, and concluding with an end card to call or click. This unit provided the client with valuable intel on what type of product the core audience was looking for while also helping to educate consumers on what they’ll need to know in this high-consideration purchase journey. The answers acquired from the quiz unit also influenced customized ad messaging moving forward, which evolved to more directly speak to what the audience proved to be interested in.

On top of the valuable insights gathered, performance from the interactive units was impressive. On average, the audience spent 47 seconds with the unit, well beyond the 30-second industry average. It also outperformed the 21-second average spent with pre-roll video. And not only did consumers stay within the quiz for an extended time, they were also engaged; the unit drove 3.9 interactions per user, meaning they were interested and engaging with the content provided.

What marketers need to know

Consumers are bombarded by around 4,000 – 10,000 ads each day, making it more important than ever to create a brand voice that isn’t static and instead stands out. Consumers’ attention spans are continually growing shorter, proving it to be more important than ever to step outside the one-dimensional media plan and engage your audience.

Marketers need to begin capitalizing on consumers who are in the middle of the funnel in a way that helps them go beyond the passive intake of static ads and welcomes them to engage with the brand. Engagement-focused ads give space for audience-driven creative customization, helping to guide consumers through their journey, enhance brand recall, and maximize the success of the campaign as a whole.

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