Awareness Advertising: Adding some broccoli to the sugar highs of Performance Marketing


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Awareness advertising is like a dirty word to a performance marketer, don’t even mention the word ‘branding’ either!  ‘Why spend on that which you can’t measure’ they’ll say after slamming an energy drink for the third time that day.

Interestingly enough, an energy drink is a great way to consider performance marketing – it’s a great short term burst but the long term effects, well, it might not be so beneficial.  I’m suggesting a little awareness marketing to be a little like a piece of broccoli with your energy drink.  Actually I called it something far more boring – like taking an investment strategy approach to your budgeting.

If you’ve not read that article or don’t want to click on the link – that’s fine – I’ll sum it up here.  Every business should plan on spending a small portion of their marketing budget on an awareness approach.  The idea is that the return will come back in the future, probably not tomorrow – but soon.

To get started the biggest thing you want to consider is… What should you say?  With awareness marketing you’re going to hit a lot of people with one key message – so what is that going to be? Just what are you going to say in your ads that are getting a silly low cost per impression or view?

Start by thinking ‘elevator pitch’ – what do you actually tell real live people when they ask you ‘what do you do?’.  In 11 seconds or less can you cover one or all of the points below?

  • Brand Identity
    • What makes your brand stand out?  (otherwise known as ‘unique value proposition”)  What sort of language and style do you communicate in?  What does your brand stand for
  • Alignment with audience
    • Can you identify your target audience in a way that shows who they are, that you walk along side them and that you can help with their pain points?  Or Who does your brand stand for?  All in your brand identity? So without explicitly saying “Women 18-35”
  • Evidence that supports the brand
    • You might think testimonials or reviews here – but what about influencers or people that fit the brand like a glove?  Have you got  an award or stats that further reinforce the brand identity or audience alignment?

If you can fit all of the above into a video that flows – you’ve nailed it.  But it is so much easier read  than done.

And when you’re creating your ad – be careful with your call to action.  If you’re truly creating an awareness piece – the call to action needs to fit with the content.  It could be a more subdued piece, like a learn more with a website or a follow with a social handle.  The call to action doesn’t have to be a shouty ‘ACT NOW’ with this type of content.

Once you’ve got your awareness content ready to go – remember that messaging needs to be in more places than just your social media or google ads.

These ads will be shown to 100’s of thousands of people and they won’t make it to your site that instant.  So you’ve got to make sure your messaging is repeated on your site, in your store, in your welcome email sequence  etc.  The more people bump into your brand messaging online, the more likely they are to jump to your site.  If your site doesn’t repeat or reinforce or remind the person of that message, then you’ve trashed the effectiveness of your awareness marketing.

If you don’t have consistency in messaging on your site and on your socials and elsewhere –  you’ve created a seed of doubt in the people that saw the awareness campaign.  That seed of doubt could easily grow into the tree of mistrust.  There can be confusion, and where there’s confusion and a pause – there’s less likely to be conversion.

I’ll repeat it again – Don’t neglect your website when you’ve got an awareness campaign running!

Plan your message, Plan your touchpoints and Plan to measure appropriately.  Those are the key elements of adding awareness elements to your performance ad campaigns.

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