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Successfully Leveraging Paid Search as a Top-of-Funnel Tactic

By: Brett DiFranco    February 25, 2020

The common marketer views the funnel as one that includes the following stages: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase (Intent) and Post-Purchase. Most marketers leverage paid search as a tactic to support the lower end of that funnel. That makes sense. Paid search is great for converting lower-funnel traffic into customers. But paid search can also be effective when being leveraged as an upper-funnel channel – if done correctly.

Upper funnel usually refers to the Awareness and Consideration stages. During the Awareness stage, consumers are made aware of a solution to a problem they may not fully understand or have identified yet. During the Consideration stage, consumers are conducting research on problems and potential solutions, and are beginning to narrow down their options of brands or products that would be best suited to assist.

There is a lot of consumer activity that takes place on Google during the Awareness and Consideration stages which creates an opportunity for marketers to step in. Using paid search to target informational and research-based queries to introduce your brand as a resource or solution for their problem is a great way to begin a relationship with potential customers.

It is important to make sure that you aren’t treating your top-of-funnel visitors the same way you would your lower-funnel ones. Since upper-funnel traffic is coming from visitors who have not yet expressed interest in your brand’s products or services, it would be unwise to send them to a landing page that feature the same CTAs as your lower-funnel campaigns. This will likely lead to high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Driving sales/leads typically isn’t the primary goal of your upper-funnel campaigns. Instead, it is important to develop landing pages and CTAs that align with their place early in the buyer’s journey. This will increase your likelihood of generating conversion for actions that will help determine your visitors’ intent, and also can help build audiences that can be used for remarketing efforts or other campaigns.