Creating a Digital Narrative Across the Marketing Funnel

Today’s digital ad landscape is a competitive one, that’s clear. Gone are the days when a flashy, interactive ad would ensure attention from a consumer. The reality is that brands can have the most exciting digital advertising in the world, and it won’t mean anything to consumers if there isn’t a greater context, a narrative that resonates.

Today’s consumers expect, almost demand, relevancy in advertising. They’ve raised their voices over the years to call out advertising for being extraneous or annoying. But now, to break through the noise, they need more. They need storytelling, even in the simplest digital ad formats whose roots are in product retargeting. Incorporating a narrative framework around ads gives them more meaning and weight in the eyes of the consumer. As the customer moves along the marketing funnel, that narrative must also change – moving from general ads that provide brand background to direct response ads that showcase popular inventory or previously viewed products.

One of the best places to embark on this process is via social platforms like Facebook that already have tools in place for brands to begin making their digital narrative a reality.

Top of the Funnel Narrative

Top of the funnel digital advertising is where the story begins, and where the narrative – even for performance-driven campaigns – should be most focused on branding. Unless you’re a category leader or a famous brand, you’ll need to evoke trust before moving onto a harder sell.

Advertisers can leverage a variety of creative formats like animated GIFs, branded content, Carousel ads, cinemagraphs, and video to showcase and bring awareness to what is unique about their brand. Consumers are hungry for information and brands can cater to this need by inspiring, educating, or revealing behind-the-scenes content about their service or offering.

User-generated or influencer-produced content is ideal for top of the funnel campaigns as they help unlock new audiences. Authentic reviews, tutorials or aspirational product placements can help brands feel authentic and trustworthy when done right.

Middle of the Funnel Narrative

Once the audience is familiar with the brand it’s time to introduce the product. Facebook ad formats like Collection and Canvas are great not only for combining branding with product discovery but for being mobile-first. Instructional videos on how to use a product or step-by-step narratives on product benefits are great ways to capture interest and drive engagement.

There are many ways to tell a product’s story on these formats and provide consumers with more context than they could ever hope to get from a blatant product image advertisement. The upside of combining branding with discovery is that consumers are already close to the conversion point and can shop instantly if they wish.

Bottom of the Funnel Narrative

This where marketers should focus on driving conversions. Typically, the bottom of the funnel consists of product feed-based advertising which can either mean retargeting previously viewed products or showing best-selling ones. Multiple Facebook ad formats including Carousel and Canvas ads lend themselves to dynamic advertising; Canvas for one opens into a full-screen mobile experience, doubling as a digital storefront that displays products based on user behavior.

It’s important for brands to understand that their digital campaigns need to follow a storyline. Every brand has a story to tell, and putting the time into crafting that narrative has an enormous impact on performance. More than anything, consumers want to understand the brands they buy from – by taking time to flesh out that story, marketers are more likely to see success in the long term.

Tuomo Riekki

CTO & Co-Founder at Smartly.io

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