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Marketing funnel: touch-tell-sell, see-think-do or awareness-consideration-conversion. Every marketer knows them, the different phases of the funnel, but perhaps the most important phase is often skipped: the consideration phase.
There are many variations of the funnel, sometimes with more than three phases, but these mentioned are the most commonly used. It starts with building reach within the target audience, then considering why your product or service is essential to persuading your target audience, and lastly delivering a performance-based message that inspires action.
Every marketer knows the marketing funnel, and many probably divide marketing activities according to it. However, despite the fact that marketers know that all phases follow one another and all of these phases are important, the middle of the funnel is often forgotten. Strange, considering that this is the unifying and therefore crucial phase between reaching and convincing the target audience. But how is it possible that this crucial phase is so often forgotten?
I have already mentioned above the different phases of the funnel, which originally comes from the sales world, in different variations. What follows is a brief overview of the ACC funnel, referring to the first letter of the phase.
Note: Care/loyalty is not part of the funnel.
Looking at the three different phases and the corresponding KPI’s in the first phase, you quickly get to reach. Without reach, you can’t drive the target audience through the marketing funnel. Reach is therefore crucial to achieve sufficient visibility within the ideal target audience at the top of the funnel. The bottom of the marketing funnel is also quite simple: it’s all about conversion. This can be any type of conversion. Think lead generation, app downloads, or a sale. But what is the KPI in the middle phase? What ensures that potential customers ultimately buy a product? And what is the reason they choose your product instead of the competitor’s?
The outreach has been built, now it’s time to tell the target audience about your product or service. This is the opportunity to tell your story. To show that your brand is better than the competitors and to make it clear what your USPs are. Make sure people choose you when they stand in front of the shelf. As a brand, the only way to do this is through attention. Attention ensures that the potential customer considers your brand and hopefully creates a preference for it. But what exactly is attention? Where can you create attention? When do you have attention? And more importantly, how do you make it a measurable KPI?
”What is the measurable KPI of attention?”
We see that in the middle phase of the marketing funnel, video and YouTube play an increasing role. YouTube is not only an entertainment platform, but also the place where people go for mass orientation and inspiration. They extensively compare different alternatives to make a better buying decision. In the process, visitors look for answers. For example, they seek answers to questions they experience in everyday life, such as “How should I clean my sink?” or “What’s the best photo camera for beginners?” Ideal moments to be present and generate awareness for your brand.
90% of users say they discover new brands on YouTube (source: Thinkwithgoogle, 2019). More than half of today’s shoppers also say that online videos have helped determine which particular brand or product they buy. This is a great opportunity to convince your target audience to buy your brand.
There’s no better place to effectively generate awareness with video than on YouTube. The largest video platform in the world is where people come specifically to consume video. It’s no surprise, then, that the number of views increases significantly every year (both organic and paid).
And if you want to pinpoint attention within a video, the most logical answer is watch time. Google describes watch time as “how long a viewer watched a video.” This way, you can better determine which videos users are actually watching and not just clicking on and then clicking away, because that’s what happens with most skippable InStream ads on YouTube. It’s all about getting the target audience to engage with your brand, consciously or subconsciously.
As with reach and conversion, the KPI is often expressed in terms of height. It is therefore obvious to express attention in number of hours: CPH (cost per hour). Of course, seconds or minutes are also possible, but this quickly becomes a large and difficult number to interpret.
The main reason mid-stage advertisers often forget to engage with prospects is that there are no clear targets. Brands generally have only two focus KPIs: reach and conversion. The KPI they miss is attention.
”Brands generally have only two focus KPIs: reach and conversion. The KPI they are missing is attention.”
Virtually no marketer is judged by how much attention he or she realizes. They are judged by the reach they achieve or the number of conversion conversions they receive. Not a single marketer informs the media agency about the KPI: Watchtime. If a brand is active in the middle phase, it is often charged another CPV (cost per view) or website traffic. Website traffic is also a form of attention where the target audience consciously engages with the brand. CPV, on the other hand, is a very crooked KPI to use in the brand view phase. After all, what is a view worth?
Below is a brief explanation of how Facebook and YouTube value a view:
Three seconds, ten seconds or even 30 seconds is too short in almost all cases to convince potential customers in the consideration phase. As a brand, you really need more time to do that. A view just doesn’t say that much. Attention, on the other hand, does. Especially when you express it in the KPI I mentioned earlier: cost per hour of attention, or CPH.
Despite the fact that the middle stage is often forgotten, there are certainly advertisers and brands that have this under control. Below are three examples of brands with attention.
GAMMA is a brand that tries hard to get attention. If you look at GAMMA’s YouTube marketing strategy over the past year, you can clearly see that video content is becoming increasingly important. They score high on specific help content: Content that responds to the challenges people face every day.
For optimal results, this content is based on data research (read: what people search for on Google/YouTube) rather than gut instinct. Following the successful 2019 Insulation and Gardening Help Series, GAMMA launched its newest series in July 2020: paint. With these do-it-yourself videos, GAMMA explains step-by-step how to use a paint sprayer, how to paint an interior door solid, or when to use which paint roller. By addressing and answering the daily questions of Dutch society, GAMMA creates an enormous amount of attention. Attention that does not go to the competition.
Coolblue is also very responsive to the needs of (potential) buyers by creating help content. This is different from tips & tricks, videos about products, reviews or the so-called unboxing videos, where products are taken out of the packaging and shown. These are all topics designed to help customers gain more insight and information about Coolblue’s products. This results in thousands of hours of attention in the form of Watchtime.
The Samsung & You YouTube channel (until recently known as: Android & You) is full of video content that helps users use the features of Samsung phones. Some examples of the help content you can find on the YouTube channel are: Help with taking screenshots, cleaning up the phone or finding the right camera mode. A typical channel that generates attention by responding to the challenges that users face on a daily basis.
So the answer to why marketers so often neglect the middle phase and go straight to ROI is simple: there is no clear KPI in this phase. No marketer pays attention as a factor in a successful marketing campaign. Amazing, especially when you consider that attention and especially the amount of attention determines the final conversion.
Therefore, the advice is as follows: Invest in the phase that almost everyone forgets about and generate attention and watchtime. Conduct data research on the needs of the target audience, identify the challenges and create specific help content to solve them. Help your customer and, in turn, your brand. The longer the viewer is engaged with your brand, the greater the chance they’ll actually choose your brand when they’re on the shelf. Become the hero of your target group!