There’s a belief that branding campaigns, with their difficult-to-quantify, top-of-funnel outcomes like awareness and engagement, are scoffed at by the performance and direct response teams at Fortune 500 brands and the best media agencies in the world.
Why? Because those teams are accustomed to hard-and-fast KPIs like volume of qualified leads, app installs, offline sales lift and direct e-commerce purchases. When they run a campaign, they are held closely accountable to those quantifiable outcomes, and if they don’t meet the client’s acquisition goals, they’ve failed. If they do, they’ve succeeded.
It’s that black and white.
But while the two groups might seem completely different, operating on opposite ends of the funnel, with two sets of outcomes and KPIs with which to measure them, they are more closely related than you think. Specifically, they are more closely reliant on each other, and the work of one team adds an incredible amount of value to the other. Here’s how.
Performance campaigns rely on branding to “close” the sale
Ever hear the term, “standing on the shoulders of giants?” It means discovering or achieving something thanks to the foundational work that someone else did before you. In this case, you as a brand are standing on the shoulder of a giant, but that giant is you.
Those “brand awareness” campaigns you’ve run for years with lots of “engagement” but no trackable conversions – they are your foundation. All that work served to create a name and a brand that has a level of trust with your customer.
In other words, when you hit this point — which for many brands can take decades, not to mention a significant cash investment — one might say you are done with the “advertising” portion of the program. Now you can focus more on conversion: closing the deal, capturing the lead, driving the sale.
While the aggressive, strategic optimization that your performance partner executes to get these conversions at the lowest cost possible is certainly a core part of your success, there’s another reason you’ll reach that outcome: the brand. All that awareness and trust means that when you now hit up the customer with your offer — for example, download our app and every fifth coffee will be free — it’s a no-brainer. They know you. They’ll act.
You’ve sown the seeds. Now reap the harvest.
Brand campaigns benefit from performance advertising
While the path above from branding and awareness to capture and conversion seems obvious, it’s less clear how it works the other way around. How do high-funnel campaigns benefit from low-funnel ones? Isn’t the funnel supposed to only work from top to bottom?
Performance teams are often held back by restrictions or other KPIs that brands are accustomed to, such as frequency capping, IAS monitoring or viewability standards. They are held back from achieving their acquisition goal because they must then optimize toward multiple KPIs, not just their single outcome.
But when you lift those limitations and allow for a broader scope and scale of audience, oftentimes unexpected things occur. A demographic that you never expected to convert, does. Mobile sites and apps in verticals that you never served ads in before are driving high-quality leads.
What’s happening? You’re learning new things about your audience and your brand, too.
The experts in mobile performance are providing you with the value that you partnered with them for, because you’re paying them to achieve a measurable goal at a certain cost, and they’re doing everything they can to hit that goal.
But somewhere along the way, they’ll stumble across something you never knew about your brand and audience — and that’s your learning to take home, for the next branding and awareness campaign you run.