Awareness Vs. Conversion Campaigns. What Are The Different Advertising Campaign Options?

The digital marketing world can be confusing to those that are not familiar with all the terms and lingos. When it comes to digital marketing, there are generally two approaches: an awareness campaign, and a conversion campaign. There are many different strategies and tactics you can use with these styles of digital marketing campaigns. In this blog, we will be explaining the differences between conversion and awareness campaigns, how they both work and how they both have their specialized applications. 

Conversion Campaigns

A shopping cart mobile app icon being held in some ones hand

Conversion campaigns is the style of campaign that most business owners probably think of when they hear “advertising.” If you’ve never heard of it then you may be wondering “Where do these campaigns take place?” Generally, the most used platform for conversion campaigns is Google Ads which is good for goods and services. However, this category also includes social media ads which a lot of goods-based companies, like apparel or lifestyle companies, choose to use their ad spend. Although there are still other credible platforms for conversion-based campaigns out there, like Amazon and Bing, Google owns a 93% market share when it comes to search-engine-based platforms.

So how do conversion campaigns work? Well, using one of the platforms stated above, you attach keywords to your campaign that you would like people to associate with your business. This is so that when they type in those keywords, your brand pops up on top of Google for it. This is beneficial because you have lots of control over how your brand is found, and the types of words that you want someone to associate with your brand. So since you can have much more control over conversion campaigns over awareness campaigns, you pay “per-click” on every time someone clicks on one of your ads. 

Depending on your field of business and competition in the area, it can cause your cost-per-click (CPC) to skyrocket. If you want to pop up for a particular keyword in your area, chances are that your competition does too. The way we can help combat this is by doing research on our end to find keywords that still are relevant to your business while being less competitive, so they cost less. 

The downside? I have seen some companies have as low as a $0.25 CPC, and some with as high as a $20 CPC. It all depends on your field of work, and how competitive your area is. As previously mentioned, there are ways to combat this like keyword research. But there are also other ways, other than increasing your budget, to help synergize CPC campaigns and organic traffic so that you are still on top of the search results amongst your competition at all times. One of these strategies is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is basically adding more content and information to your site that someone interested in what you offer would find helpful. This helps drive down CPC while also establishing authority and ranking placement since Google recognizes you as a credible source of information for that field of business. 

Since conversion campaigns are created to get more sales, they are often the type of campaign that clients choose. There are many applicable strategies that companies can use conversion campaigns for. Do you want to try to expand your services and stake a claim in the town over? Google ads are very good for that since you can control what areas your ads serve. You can even control how much of the budget goes to each area, and when they see your ads. How about expanding your product across the state or country? Google Ads also lets you target broader areas and will give you detailed information about what areas your products are doing well in, along with who it is that’s interested. However, since this is the type of campaign that many companies focus on, it can be expensive and competitive depending on what field of business you are in. It can also be challenging to drive conversions if your field of business is competitive, and any potential clients seeing your ads have never had an opportunity to experience your brand. This brings me to my next form of a digital marketing campaign.

Awareness Campaigns

Birds eye view of a small suburb neighborhood.

Awareness campaigns are built for the purpose of exposing your brand to as many people as possible. Many times don’t seem appealing to business owners at first, because it doesn’t always translate directly into sales. However, there are many other Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that a company should pay attention to, like the number of impressions, traffic sent directly to your website, and much more. Awareness campaigns are generally provided using a special form of advertising called “programmatic advertising.” Now the term “programmatic” may sound scary to some, but all that it means is that the platform you choose to use automatically determines where your ad is able to be shown on a user’s phone at any given time. There are many different programmatic advertising platforms that you can choose from to run an awareness campaign, but they all are pretty similar in how they function with only small differences.

So how does programmatic advertising work exactly? Well, it starts by identifying multiple areas that you think your target audience might be interested in. We then set up a geofence around those areas, so anyone that crosses it can be served your ad. A geofence is an invisible barrier set up around an area of interest. An example of this could be a Nutrition company targeting gyms in a specific desired radius since generally people in the gym are health conscious. 

You’re probably wondering, “So how can an awareness campaign be beneficial for my business?” Well, it can be beneficial in many ways. Since programmatic ads are less competitive and rely more on research and knowledge about your target audience, you can get exposure to much more people. It only costs $3.50 to expose your business to 1,000 people, regardless of how many people click! Awareness campaigns generally have fewer things you have control over, but getting more people to click largely relies on the creative images you use, to entice users to click and learn more. Awareness campaigns are great because even if it is a user’s first time seeing your brand, they can go directly to your website and see what your business offers for a fraction of the cost that it would’ve been to get that same exposure through a conversion campaign.

I have heard many stories of business owners trying to expand their business to a new location with no previous experience in that particular area. Most of the time, they end up putting a large marketing budget into a conversion campaign for the area, and it ends up costing them more to run the ads than they get out of them. Many times a business owner might assume that they are not spending enough, but that is not usually the case. If people don’t recognize or trust your brand, they most likely are not going to buy one of your goods or services the first time they see it. Most people would rather go with the safe option that they recognize and are familiar with, even if it is slightly more expensive. This is why programmatic ads are great because you can retarget the same audience multiple times to develop brand recognition and trust at a very low cost.


Various reports from advertising campaigns.

Data is a huge part of digital marketing, but it is only as good as the reporting that you get from it. You need data in order to make needed adjustments to your advertising strategy, and you could even get some priceless information on other aspects of your company. An example could be if you get a bunch of users to your site from a campaign, but they all leave within 10 seconds of landing on it, you need to know why. It’s possible the creative they saw in the ad didn’t match what the website showed. It could be too long of a load time, or you might possibly not be targeting the right audience. These are all examples of why it is important to be able to track your data from your ads and have a specialist who can make interpretations from that data. 

Another key component of tracking all this data is that it is yours to own (First Party Data). First Party Data is crucial to analyze since it is the results of your specific campaign and business. All the tools and Third Party Data in the world from someone else can’t tell us why your particular campaign may not be getting the desired results. It is fine to throw a line out to see what bites at first, but you have to make adjustments based on your results in order to achieve the desired effect.

All in all, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to the digital marketing world. Knowing whether you need a conversion-based campaign or an awareness-based campaign is a good first step, that Apex Communications would be glad to help you with in order to make the right decision and fit for your business.

Meet The Author

Logan Syrios, Digital Marketing Specialist

Logan Syrios

Logan Syrios is a digital marketing specialist for Apex Communications Network. As a digital marketing specialist, Logan manages all paid advertising efforts for Apex Communications Network clients, as well as all Squarespace website design and development. Logan is constantly pouring over analytics to ensure businesses are reaching their ideal audiences at the right time, in the right place, to drive action. As a web-designer, he incorporates our core principles of usability, readability, and accessibility into every website he designs and develops for Apex Communications Network customers.