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May 21, 2021 - By Barron Rosborough

Looking to Boost Your Brand Awareness? Use these Ad Formats

On the surface, brand awareness is a simple concept — before customers will buy from you, they need to know you exist and have some idea of what you offer. As awareness evolves into brand recognition, they will begin to distinguish your brand from the competition, to trust what you have to offer, and to bond with your company’s vision or style.

On a more practical level, brand awareness campaigns have unique challenges compared to other ad campaigns. Because you’re promoting your brand, rather than selling a specific product or service, your choice in ad formats will often be different. You’ll also need to ensure that you develop a sales funnel with clear goals throughout the process so you can measure the success of your brand awareness ads, fill your retargeting funnel, and, ultimately, achieve a positive return on your investment.  

Brand Awareness Ads in a Nutshell

Generally speaking, Facebook ads (which run across Facebook and Instagram) featuring compelling images are your best first choice for creating brand awareness, particularly if you’re just starting out and have a limited budget. Ensure that your logo is prominent, as well as your brand name. Your images should be memorable and should definitely stand out from the noise of other ads around them. 

However, if you are a B2B company looking to target professionals, Facebook may not be the most effective channel to run your ads on. This illustrates why it is so important to consider your target audience, goals and budget when deciding which channels to prioritize for brand awareness campaigns. 

Here are a few of the most popular channels for brand awareness campaigns:

  • Facebook: You can run designated Brand Awareness campaigns designed to serve your ads to people within your target audience that are most likely to remember them within a two-day window. Alternating image ads with short videos also works well, particularly when your brand is best demonstrated with action. 
  • Search Engine Marketing: You can run paid search ads for your products, as well as bid against keywords related to your industry to introduce your brand to new audiences.
  • Pinterest: Similar to Facebook, this platform offers a variety of image ads, sometimes mixed with videos. This works particularly well if your market is middle-aged women. 
  • YouTube: Instructional and entertaining videos, or sponsoring content created by influencers, is an effective mode to build brand awareness on this platform.  If you can demonstrate features of a product while someone is using it, choose video. If you can offer the same message through an image, video isn’t usually worth the expense, unless you can bid cheaply for the ads. 
  • TikTok and Snapchat: If you’re looking to reach Gen Z, TikTok and Snapchat can’t be overlooked. These short, snappy video ads particularly resonate with young target markets.

Brand Awareness on Facebook: Likes Are Good, Shareability Is Even Better

If you’re just starting out on Facebook, you’ll want to get a few thousand “Likes” on your brand’s Facebook page and/or followers on your brand’s Instagram page to build its credibility. The great thing about Facebook “Like” campaigns is that they are incredibly inexpensive and serve to introduce your brand to new people. Run different types of ads for a week or two at a minimum budget so you can get acquainted with what works and what doesn’t.  

Focus on ads that will engage viewers enough to make them shareable. For example, if you’re advertising on Facebook before Father’s Day, a well-composed image celebrating fathers everywhere with a message of gratitude or love could get you thousands of shares, promoting your message and your brand at no cost.

Search Engine Marketing: The Power of Responsive Ads

In addition to any other ads you may be running on Google or Bing, invest in Responsive Search Ads that could target your company name, product name and any slogans you have been using in your ads. These ads include a headline, a brief description and a website link. Ideally, they will appear above the search results. 

The great thing about pay per click (PPC) ads in search engines is that you don’t have to pay to have your ad there until someone clicks it. Even if someone doesn’t click your ad today, there’s a great chance they saw your brand and may remember it tomorrow.

Prioritizing Channels

It’s always important to engage your prospects where they’re most likely to be found. If you have a limited budget, focus your marketing on the channel that gives you the best results in your sales campaigns. As your revenue grows, you can begin diversifying into other channels. 

Again, if you’re just starting out and don’t yet know which channel works the best for you, try Facebook first. Install Facebook Pixel on your website. This will do two things for you — it will leverage Facebook’s algorithms to attract the best prospects for your brand, and it will coordinate your marketing efforts on Google and YouTube later on to get your ads in front of the most likely prospects. 

Learn More: Is Facebook or Google More Effective for Customer Acquisition?

Organic Marketing: The Ultimate Brand Awareness Tool

In addition to running the ads discussed above, two of the most powerful ways to build brand awareness are using articles, videos, and social content that appeal to your target market. 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Anyone who uses SEO for sales generation is doing it wrong. With rare exceptions, sales landing pages won’t perform well in search engines. If you enter a product name into a search engine, you’ll find the page is littered with ads. In fact, there are so many ads that organic search results don’t even appear above the fold — you have to scroll down to find them. The organic entries that do get to the first page belong to heavy hitters — like Walmart, Amazon, and Home Depot. 

Getting articles to the top of search engine results is much easier and cost-effective than trying to get landing pages or product description pages ranked. This content-first strategy is also a great way to build brand awareness in a way that generates a deep sense of trust and provides immediate value to new audiences. Use in-text links in your articles to those sales pages, or to entice your audience to sign up for your newsletter.

Furthermore, having a strong organic search presence can actually help boost your SEM efforts by gaining better visibility and richer data. You can learn more about why in our blog about the relationship between SEO & PPC.

Organic Social Media

Just like SEO marketing, creating an engaging social media presence through posting videos on social and high-value interactive content to channels like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok to build authentic brand awareness.

Having a thriving social media presence can also work hand-in-hand with any ad campaigns you may be running on that platform. As mentioned above, you can set Likes/followers as a goal for your Facebook ad campaign, which is a great micro-conversion as you move new customers down the sales funnel. 

Setting Goals and Measuring Success

Before embarking on any ad campaign, it’s vital that you set goals and specific KPIs so that you can measure the success of your efforts and spend your budget where it is most effective. Because you’re promoting your brand and not a specific product, sales shouldn’t be your first goal (although they are the end goal). It can take weeks or months to see long-term sales results, so this won’t help you in measuring how your ad campaigns are performing today. 

To measure your brand awareness campaign, determine a call to action for your prospects. There are several to choose from, almost all of which involve getting people to your website. These include the following strategies:

  • Website clicks
  • Likes/followers 
  • Email subscriber list sign-ups
  • Requests for more information
  • Requests for free samples

If you run your first campaign and get 20 email subscribers at a cost of $20, you now have a benchmark to measure against your second campaign. Mix up your ads and test variations by using A/B testing. Drop the ads that perform poorly and, while you test new ones, prioritize your budget on the campaign that is currently doing the best. 

Examples of Brand Awareness Campaigns in Action

Frasier Sterling Jewelry: Facebook Is Just the Start

Frasier Sterling Jewelry’s brand awareness campaign serves as a perfect example of how to use online marketing effectively. With the help of Hawke Media, they began with targeted Facebook ads to create an initial awareness, and then retargeted their growing following with Google Ads and Google Shopping listings. 

The third wave of their strategy used email marketing campaigns and fresh editorial content on their website to cultivate interest in their brand into a passionate following. The end result was a percent direct-to-consumer sales ratio that soared from nothing at all to 95% of total sales. 

Check out the full case study! 

Passion Planner: Timing Is Everything

Passion Planner, the “paper life coach” has made their brand instantly recognizable with over 1 million #PashFam fans worldwide. They began their brand awareness campaigns with Google search, display, video and shopping ads. 

At the same time, they began grooming a following on Facebook by targeting interests and lookalike audiences. For retargeting, they used Facebook again, carefully testing and retesting the best time intervals after prospects went to their website. The result of this ingenious series of campaigns resulted in a 424% ROI within three months and a 2,337% return on those retargeting ads.

Check out the full case study! 

Turning Brand Awareness into a Thriving Business 

Measuring the success or weaknesses of your brand awareness campaigns always comes down to the conversion funnel. Both short-term campaigns, like affiliate marketing and influencer marketing, should be coordinated with your sales campaigns, as well as your long-term strategies, like SEO and email marketing. 

At Hawke Media, we are dedicated to helping clients just like you integrate brand awareness campaigns into their other marketing endeavors, ensuring that your time and money are focused exactly where they need to be. Contact us for a free consultation with one of our digital marketing strategists to better understand how to take your brand awareness campaigns to the next level.