Adapting Journey Based Advertising for Social and Search

Journey Based Advertising: Chapter Two

In a previous chapter, we dove into Journey Based Advertising and what it would look like to align your ad strategy with your inbound marketing buyer’s journey.

Journey based advertising is a digital advertising strategy where you tailor your ad targeting and ad creative to align with the buyer’s journey.

In this article, we are going to go a little further and discuss how to adapt journey-based advertising to your paid social and search (PPC) strategies.

Adapting Journey Based Advertising to Social and Search

Generally speaking, social and search are the two main advertising platforms used today. The key to adapting JBA is to focus on the intent a user has on each platform- social and search are used in a completely different way.

For Search, people are doing research or looking for a quick answer to a specific question. What is inbound marketing? This means search is more to do with keywords.


For social, people are on social to connect with friends, explore their interests, share events, or look for entertaining content. Demographics are key here to how you should target.

Let’s take a look at the differences.

Social Ad Strategy

Your primary focus is on audiences.

  1. Awareness: Using what you know about your buyer’s persona, target informational content at demographic and lookalike audiences
  2. Consideration: Content at this stage should be more specific and branded. Users should acknowledge that they have a need. You want to get more specific on who is receiving this type of content so target at website audiences and list-based audiences.

  3. Decision: Content that is aimed at those ready to make a decision - promos, demos, sales - should target list-based audiences and exclusion audiences to pave the path to purchase.

Search Ad Strategy

Instead of audiences, your primary focus shifts to keywords.

  1. Awareness: Likely going to use broad, unbranded keywords as people are searching exploratory questions. Searches may look like: ‘How can I lose 15 kg quickly?’

  2. Consideration: Now the answers you are giving and the keywords you are targeting should get a little more specific to your business. These should align with your SEO strategy and the keywords/phrases you want to be associated with. Users have identified a need and are comparing their options. Searches may look like: ‘Different types of fitness classes.’

  3. Decision: Now you would start to use branded keywords to differentiate your brand from your competitors. ‘ExtraDigital Gym rates’ or ‘ExtraDigital Gym Pass’. Keywords you target here should be what someone would search when they are ready to make the decision.

As long as you keep your buyer’s personas top of mind, you can implement journey-based advertising on Social and Search. How you solve for the unique stage they are in, and what that ad will look like, will change depending on what platform you are using, search or social.

 Next Chapter: 03 - How Organic and Paid Advertising Work Together

Thursday 23rd April 2020

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