Well-rounded B2B digital advertising programs include campaigns that are geared to demand generation, brand awareness, and lead capture.
Understandably, most programs put the greatest emphasis on lead capture.
But that doesn’t mean B2B advertisers can ignore the foundational work they need to do to get to the lead capture stage, especially when launching a new product or bringing a company brand (or product category) to maturity.
That’s why savvy B2B advertisers are always on the lookout for platforms and campaign types they can use to build awareness and grow a foundation for demand. And they’ll continue to use these platforms to build a foundation even once they start to capture leads—because they know that’s the only way to secure success over the long term.
Recently, Google announced a new type of campaign that is a great addition to the savvy B2B advertisers’ toolkit for growing brand awareness and generating demand: Demand Gen campaigns.
Let’s take a closer look—and I’ll give you a couple of practical use cases as examples.
Social media advertising and demand gen
A popular way to generate demand for new products or brands is to advertise on social media platforms.
An eye-catching visual, whether a still image or video, is a great way to grab the attention of potential customers as they scroll through their feeds. It’s a way to reach customers who don’t know you exist, or that your product exists, and would never think to search for you.
So when you present them with a video demonstrating how your product works, for example, they may decide that your product is the solution to the problem they’re trying to solve.
Prior to the rollout of Google’s new Demand Gen campaigns, advertisers didn’t have a way to offer the same “social media advertising experience” to prospective customers via Google Ads.
Before, the closest thing Google had was Discovery campaigns. These campaigns were popular with B2Bs but didn’t catch on more broadly.
But now, Google has taken Discovery campaigns and added new, useful features—and renamed them Demand Gen campaigns.
Demand Gen campaigns: An alternative to social media advertising
Google is quite open about the fact that the new Demand Gen campaigns are designed to appeal to advertisers who buy advertising on social platforms to create demand.
Demand Gen is a new AI-powered campaign designed to multiply your creativity and drive demand. It’s built to help advertisers who buy on social platforms find and convert consumers with immersive, relevant, and visual creatives that grab attention and spur action in the right moment.
Demand Gen campaigns include video and images, which makes them perfect for grabbing the attention of prospective customers while they’re doing other things online, such as watching videos and checking email.
These campaigns are omnichannel, in that they can impression on Gmail as well as YouTube’s home, search, watch next, shorts, and in-stream!
Demand Gen campaigns are also a step up from Discovery campaigns in their targeting options.
Demand Gen uses audiences and “lookalike” targeting (a term that Google has “stolen” from Facebook advertising). These targeting methods align with how social media platforms find customers.
Ginny Marvin explains more about lookalikes:
How to measure the performance of Demand Gen campaigns
Before you rush to implement Demand Gen as part of your digital advertising program, remember that you can’t measure the success of these campaigns by the same performance metrics by which you would measure a search campaign.
Demand Gen campaigns are unlikely to generate leads. You may get some, but you if do, you should consider them a nice bonus, not the objective.
The real value of these campaigns is in their ability to communicate information (such as what your product actually does) to people who may not know you exist in a way that a text ad or search ad simply can’t.
A use-case example
Let’s consider a couple of practical use cases for Demand Gen campaigns.
For a long time, one of our clients only wanted to use search text ad campaigns. They’d been programmed to think that Google Ads was just for lead capture, and search text ads were the way to do it.
Unfortunately, this client didn’t have enough keyword search volume for search text ad campaigns to succeed. As our client expressed the problem, “Our prospects don’t know this product exists. But once they see it, they’ll realize they need it!”
We used Display and YouTube ad campaigns to build awareness with some success, but the client remained skeptical of this approach.
The client had an “aha” moment when I mentioned that I’d seen their product use video in my LinkedIn feed—and described how it could really help things click into place for prospective clients.
This observation resonated. The client remains unconvinced about YouTube campaigns, but they “get” the idea of Demand Gen campaigns—and we’re now using them as our primary way to drive up demand generation and brand awareness even more.
The Google landscape is changing
Google advertising isn’t just blue text ads on SERPs anymore.
Google continues to innovate at a rapid pace. Today it’s Demand Gen. Tomorrow it will be something else.
And so, we continue to keep an open mind and try everything that Google gives us. Because since the day I founded this agency, over 12 years ago, my motto has been, “If it might benefit our clients, let’s test it.”
And that’s one thing that’s not going to change.