Why performance marketing needs a three-month funnel

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By Tom Flower, Compass’ Performance Marketing Manager.

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As Facebook’s algorithm and Apple’s privacy settings change, we performance marketers must adapt and learn, but only with the proper foundations can we succeed.

Over the years, we have gained valuable insights into the crucial foundation’s performance marketing needs to deliver exceptional results month on month with our tried and tested experience. One learning that has been crucial to the success of our past, present and future clients is the three-month minimum campaign structure. This period is where the growth of audiences, interest targeting, and learning is achieved. This growth is refined, optimised and allows our templated funnel strategies to be tailored and moulded to each client’s industry, business and target market.

Creation and Testing of all variables possible

Firstly, we break down each month based on the main objective; let’s take a product strategy, for example. The end goal is to sell as many units of a specific product or a range of products for the lowest cost per purchase. Running a straight conversion campaign would drive the cost per purchase too high due to the ads being served to a broader, lower intent audience resulting in inefficiencies.

We find optimal efficiency and effectiveness in creating a broad conversion funnel in the first month of onboarding and setting up – this includes a brand awareness campaign, engagement campaign, and conversion campaign. We focus heavily on brand awareness and engagement to create a sense of hype for the company. This growth in retargeting audiences becomes much more valuable once its foundations have been appropriately set.

This first month is the “testing” month, where we test all possible audiences, interest categories, copy, creative, and the overall strategy of the campaign build. Within a few days of it running, we can see which audiences are not performing and which creative and copy resonate the most with the best performing audience. Also, how well the structure of our campaign is performing and if we need to split campaigns into more targeted segments or combine them to put more weight on Facebook’s algorithm to use its AI to distribute budget based on its internal processing.

Refinements and growth based on initial learnings

Secondly, once these initial tests have been run, we refine and optimise audience builds, ad placements, creative and copy, and points where the strategy is missing the mark. The first month will have illustrated and delivered valuable learnings of which direction should be taken moving forward. Coupled with this, we now have an entire month of “hype and growth” in the retargeting audiences; these users are not retargeted solely due to the problems we faced since Apple’s iOS 14 update. So, to counteract these effects, we build a lookalike audience (LLA). These are comparable to a snowball effect; once you create the initial snowball (first month of brand awareness and engagement), you then refine and optimise this audience to remove all those lower intent users and only retarget those who have passed every objective. These LLA’s are now used within the most crucial part of the funnel, the conversion campaign.

The more you use LLAs within this stage, the more Facebook will find better lookalikes of the users that are completing all objectives, such as 10-second video viewers, post engagers, page likers, purchasers, existing customers, etc. The more you use these audiences, the more data Facebook has at its disposal to search and target those users that are the most identical to those who have completed the desired objective you seek to grow.

Therefore, the snowball effect is created by building the initial hype and brand awareness, retargeting not only those who have completed the campaign objective but also the LLA’s you’ve made. These audiences and campaigns will refine and improve month on month as more and more users complete your desired objective, such as purchases.

Setting KPI’s to manage success in digital marketing

Thirdly, after three month’s of testing, optimising, refining and building on the performance that up to this point will have already delivered, you create your first set of KPI’s for the next three months. This is to track and remain accountable for your campaigns’ performance and benchmark ourselves to see where improvements need to be made. Every three months KPI’s are redone to make them both achievable, measurable but also fair.

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