Many marketers manage brand and performance campaigns separately. However, an integrated approach can yield better overall results.
Brand building lays the foundation for performance marketing. In turn, performance campaigns reinforce branding efforts. By linking these initiatives, you can maximize their combined impact.
This guide explains how to develop unified Google Ads strategies that align brand and performance goals.
Setting Your Campaign Objective Mix
The first step in an integrated Google Ads strategy is deciding the right mix of brand and performance campaign types, including Google Smart Campaigns.
Consider factors like:
- Product/service complexity
- Typical research time before conversion
- Overall length of a sales funnel
As a rule, the more established the brand, the more budget should be spent on brand marketing. It can start at 35% for new businesses, all the way to 72% for industry-leading brands.
Map out your objectives and approximate investment allocations based on these factors:
|– Raise Awareness
|– Drive Conversions
|– Increase Favorability
|– Reduce CPA
|– Educate on Benefits
|– Accelerate Sales
The best practice is to maintain separate campaign types based on their strengths while coordinating cross-channel strategy.
Ensure brand targeting feeds consideration audiences into performance campaigns for seamless handoffs. Budget may shift more to performance over time.
Brand Campaign Best Practices
When you set your brand goals and approximate budget, the next big step is figuring out how you’ll actually make those campaigns happen.
Start by thinking about what “success” really means for your brand, beyond just how many people see your ads or are aware of you (though those still matter!). Consider these other important points too:
- How often do people see my ads and then eventually buy something? That’s your view-through rate.
- Am I improving how potential customers think about and perceive my brand? That’s a consideration lift.
- Am I raising positive associations people have with my company or products? That’s a favorability boost.
Consideration and favorability look at deeper brand goals, not just surface-level traffic or awareness.
Here are some key things to focus your creative and messaging on:
- Brand keyword research to see what people associate with your company.
- Analyze consumer sentiment to avoid stereotypes or assumptions.
- Check out what your competitors advertise and message—what can you do differently or better?
Optimizing for these deeper branding metrics, even if they don’t drive an instant sale, will pay off over time as perception and sentiment around your brand improves.
You can also leverage Google Smart bidding to automatically optimize bids to branding objectives. This complements manual optimization over time.
Performance Campaign Optimization
In addition to brand building efforts, performance campaigns focus on directly driving pipeline and getting sales or leads – but they can still support your broader brand goals too.
Obviously you’ll optimize for metrics like:
- Click-through-rate on ads
- Number of conversions
These help inform media buying decisions and platforms like ECPC bidding.
But also track “view-through” performance – people who see ads and then eventually convert, even if they don’t click. This shows the subtle branding impact of convincing visitors over time.
Similarly, move from only last-click attribution towards multi-touch attribution models. This means giving credit to earlier touchpoints that shape decisions leading up to a transaction.
Building out this more well-rounded reporting brings together both direct response AND branding. Even performance campaigns can nurture positive perception while still driving response in the moment.
The key is fully connecting the dots on everything influencing conversions over time, not just the final click. Think holistically and optimize for the full impact!
To make branding and performance work together, you need shared budgets and pacing so that efforts build instead of operating separately.
Set blended investment across objectives based on business priorities as we talked about. But also map budgets to how buyers interact with you over time.
For example, spend more on brand awareness campaigns during new product launches to get on people’s radar. Once consideration lifts, shift budget to performance so you can capitalize on interest and drive conversions.
Build cyclical models to sustain outcomes across quarters or years. Don’t go all-in on demand generation immediately or only brand forever. Balance where needs and opportunities shift.
- Invest more in branding when introducing something new.
- Ramp up performance spends during busy sales cycles.
- Maintain parity for established products already in-market.
No perfect blend exists across the board. Look at business context, your sales cycles, and how efforts impact each other over time. Channels have to fluidly interact so analyze what needs fuel when.
You need seamless processes so branding and performance teams can focus on their expertise while collaborating behind the scenes.
But leadership still needs to guide the strategic guardrails so these siloed groups maximize outcomes together.
Some common high-level guardrails:
- Brand owns trademark keywords; performance handles transactional search terms.
- Brand drives early awareness; further down funnel, performance retargets.
- Brand builds affinity with broad match; performance converts exactly.
- Brand isolates sensitive perception terms; performance enables all results.
These rules keep objectives clearly divided when executing tactics but feed impact between groups – balancing and building both channels.
For example, brand secures trademarks while performance promotes to commercial buyers. This attracts and converts together.
Without clear guardrails, you risk confusing platforms on campaign goals. Lock the framework first so groups complement versus compete.
To track total performance across branding and response, unify data and reporting to connect the dots.
- Export all campaign analytics into one warehouse for flexible analysis. Break down those silos!
- Build custom attribution to fully credit influence across buyer journeys – not just last-click.
- Join CRM data downstream to match branding lift to long-term sales impact.
Blending metrics this way shows how brand and response work together to drive transactions and loyalty. Keep reporting simple – don’t isolate efforts. Bring campaign data together for the full picture.
Optimized Ad Copy for Audience Stage
To pull everything together, creative and messaging have to sync up across branding and response based on where someone is in their journey.
Brand campaigns target early awareness by educating. Hook interest with key benefit headlines and visuals that make people curious to learn more. Keep it short and intriguing.
Meanwhile performance campaigns speak to informed considerers ready to buy. Focus on product details, credibility signals, and promotions in crisp calls-to-action. Add urgency.
Brand copy asks:
- Are you aware of how we can help you?
- Learn how we improve lives.
Performance copy asks:
- Ready to get started today?
- Enroll now and save.
Ensuring creative strategies map distinctly to brand pull and performance push avoids confusing objectives. Tighten relevance to each stage. Let messaging flow with the targeted buyer journey.
In the end, brand and performance Google Ads work better together than isolated efforts.
By unifying campaign structures, measurement, budget pacing, and messaging you can target from early awareness through conversion seamlessly.
Blending data and metrics reveals the full synergistic impact on loyalty and sales over time. Cross-functional collaboration outperforms detached silos and disjointed efforts.
Custom combinations that reach across the buyer journey compound outcomes and momentum so much more than a single-minded focus on either branding or direct response alone. Take an integrated approach.