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Paid media people focus heavily on audiences, in fact more than a few agencies in pitches start by saying they’re ‘Audience First’. It’s common practice to build pools of users who have reached your site and not converted, and to then show them remarketing ads, or to build pools of users that have converted and use them to find lookalikes. We’ve all been followed around the internet by products we’ve been looking at or brands we’ve been investigating. The more advanced campaigns bid based on recency and how engaged someone was with the website, and the product/service viewed. However, how many paid media teams are building audiences off the back of PR campaigns?

Emotion is the number 1 factor in whether we remember campaigns or not. We all remember Skittle’s ‘Taste The Rainbow’ campaign, or the Budweiser ‘Wassup’ campaign because they made us have an emotional reaction. Dollar Shaves’ entire business was built off the back of a brilliant and entertaining ad and the Go Compare opera singer was brought back from the dead because he was so annoying people recalled the Go Compare brand when it came to renewing their car insurance. This methodology is valid whether you’re distributing paid ads or PR content, but so often paid campaigns don’t leverage people introduced to the brand via PR campaigns. They capture users that visit the site but not necessarily visitors to specific PR content that is often housed on the blog rather than the main site.

We know that people who are introduced to a brand via interesting PR content that they have chosen to read, such as the best US state to retire in or why most babies are born on the 26th September (Boxing Day babies), are more likely to engage with the ads from those brands. The humorous or informative content creates the initial connection, which leads to higher ad engagement rates and lower CPAs (by up to 20%), and higher ROAS (up to 50%) than starting the journey purely through sales ads.

So what can you do to maximise the reach and effectiveness of your PR and reduce your CPAs in paid media?

  1. Get your paid and PR teams to start talking  before projects and plans kick off
  2. Build audience lists in Google Analytics from PR pages and share these to adwords.
  3. Start directing sales ads via adwords to this audience (GDN and RLSA) and then follow push them down the sales funnel with standard remarketing tactics.

Audiences are a vital consideration now in joining the dots between all marketing and sales channels and they will continue to be in 2022 when Chrome kills all cookies.  As marketers we will just have to learn to how to best adapt our strategies to capture and activate them.