How to Use Intent Marketing to Choose Your Digital Ad Strategy

July 19, 2023

This one question about intent marketing will help you determine the best digital ad strategy for your business.

Most of us have a cursory knowledge of the different types of digital ads. That’s because we live with them everyday. Whether it’s on a TV, phone, or computer—if you’re looking at a screen right now, you’ll soon be scrolling past or clicking out of an ad. The silver lining to a life abundant with ads is that it has unknowingly fashioned us experts. With little effort, we can identify which ad is going to annoy the heck out of a customer and which ad is going to reel them in. 

The problem is when it’s decision time. Which ads to run where and for how long and for how much! To help, we came up with a simple question to point you in the right direction. 

Does your target audience have the intention to make a purchase? The answer to this question will determine which intent-based marketing approach should be used. 

Intent vs. Interruption Marketing

  • Intent marketing- You go for a run and you realize your shoes have a hole in them. You now need new running shoes. You look online at new shoes and are ready to make a purchase. This is where intent marketing tactics like search and display ads come into play. 
  • Examples - Cardboard boxes. Lawyers. Plumbers. Wheelchairs. Marketing agencies.
  • Interruption marketing- You were scrolling on your phone when a sponsored post for a new running shoe brand showed up on your feed. You weren’t looking for running shoes, but now that you see them, you’re interested. This is referred to as interruptive marketing. You don’t need the product, but now that you know it exists, you want to learn more. 
  • Examples - Peanut butter-flavored Oreos. A cordless kitchen mop-vac. A floating waterproof bluetooth speaker.
Intent marketing | Baylii

The best ads for intent marketing:  

Search ads - Search engine page results for local services and shopping

  • Target keywords customers use to search for your product
  • Show up right next to competitors

Display ads - interactive ads posted on third-party websites and apps

  • These ads tend to be in-your-face but if you know exactly where your audience spends time online, it may be worth looking into display ads on a specific website

Not so much… 

Retargeted display ads  

  • While this can serve as a reminder to someone who already visited your website, these ads can feel creepy on top of feeling annoying 
Interruption marketing | Baylii

The best ads for interruption marketing:

Targeted social media ads - Tiktok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube

  • Expose your product or service to a captive audience
  • Target your audience based on interests and demographics
  • Experiment with video and images
  • Platforms usually optimize for you

Native ads - aka sponsored content

  • These are like the opposite of display ads where they’re designed to blend in with the platform or website

Baylii Biscuit's Marketing Tips | Baylii Branding | Mount Vernon, WA
If the product or service (or your product/service category) you’re selling is something your customers are likely to type into the search bar on Google, run Google ads. If your product or service isn’t something people generally search for but they get interested once they hear about it, run social media ads.

Bonus Round:

How much should I spend on digital ads?

For starters, it’s worth pointing out that if you’re not setting up your own ads, there’s usually a management fee that is separate from your actual ads budget. Digital ads can quickly become expensive… Plus, there’s just no guarantee that they’ll pay off. Digital ads really come down to making educated guesses and then experimenting. 

How long should I run digital ads?

The general rule of thumb is at least three months. It gives platforms like Google or Facebook time to optimize performance which is essentially making small adjustments to who they’re shown to and when in order to maximize conversions. However, you can almost always set a daily budget or a “lifetime” budget that spends until it runs out. 

Why aren’t my ads performing well?

It could be a number of things and it also depends on how you’re evaluating performance. For example, let’s say you’re running a Facebook ad that’s getting tons of clicks but nobody seems to be following through on making a purchase. That may be because the ad was misleading, or, perhaps the web page the ad links to has lackluster content. 

Baylii Biscuit's Marketing Tips | Baylii Branding | Mount Vernon, WA
Another possible reason your ads could be underperforming is due to inaccurate targeting. For example, if you chose a broad audience, they may not know enough about your brand to be interested. Don't be afraid to get specific! And if you’re selling dog treats, be sure to include me in your targeting! 

When it comes to choosing which types of ads to run for your business, it’s important to understand customer intent. Framing it from the audience’s perspective as an intentional or unintentional purchase, you can zero in on how best to advertise your business. 

If you’re still having trouble deciding and need some additional expertise, get in touch with us and we’ll help you come up with the best advertising strategy for your business! 

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