Roadmap to Decisions: The Stages of the Online Purchase Journey

Most advertisers only focus on search advertising and SEO when targeting audiences through digital marketing strategies. While it isn’t a wrong approach in the slightest, they are actively diminishing their ad campaign potential. It is essential to show your ad during every possible touchpoint of the consumer journey. 

Your potential customers browse through social media, watch videos on YouTube, read online reviews and articles. Considering what your customers do online (and offline), what influences them when deciding on purchasing something and what steps they follow to get there is crucial as a digital marketer.

How do customers make the decisions they do today? Where do they start, and what channels do they use?

Stages of the online purchase journey

To put it as simply as possible, the online purchase journey can be divided into four stages:

Awareness: When the consumers first become aware of or had a desire for a product.

Consideration: When they conduct product research online or offline, but also whether they’ll make the purchase. (Note: customers use their phones to do research even when they are in a shop, so it is important to have information readily available at all times)

Conversion: When they decide where and when to buy the product.

Evaluation: Experience and feedback after the product has been purchased.

It is important to note that customers move back and forth between these stages and that these steps are still parts of an ever-evolving process. 

Customers no longer rely on one source of information to make decisions as they go through various channels to do their research. Brands need to be present across all the user’s touch-points and on the micro-moments that matter.

Make use of the great variety of targeting options available!

Ad marketing should be a more holistic approach. Targeting beyond search engines is incredibly valuable, and there are many options for companies to choose from. Let’s go over a few:

Target by keyword bids: Get in front of particular interests that allow you to speak to a relevant target audience. Give them what they are actively or subconsciously looking for.

Target by demographics: Target by location, gender, placement, age, income, language, etc. Offer them something that is catered to their needs.

Target by purchase intent and relevant topics: Approach people who are actively browsing and engaging with content or products relevant to you. This way, you can apply inbound marketing strategies more effectively by creating ad experiences tailored to them instead of interrupting them with content they don’t always want.

Key Takeaway: Go beyond search targeting

The customer roadmap is a fair way to understand what customers go through when deciding on a purchase. It is essential to consider that steps from said roadmap constantly change as new technologies and trends emerge. Keeping up with them is crucial for success.

Brands also need to be available at any step of the process as well as other customer touch points. Whether they are actively searching for what you offer or not, you need to use the vast range of targeting options available to form the connections they are looking for and solve problems they already have.

Want to learn more about how to better engage with your potential customers and target them through every step of the process of their consumer journey? Contact Mrkt360 today! 

We don’t only care about search advertising- we care that you are there for your customers in the moments that matter.

Alex Zertuche

Alex is a copywriter from Monterrey, México. He graduated from the Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey with a degree in Communications in Digital Media, specializing in Project Management for Creative Industries and Digital Media Production. He is passionate about entertainment, creative writing and generating engaging content through his work.

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