When running performance marketing campaigns it’s often hard to decide where to start. One way I like to look at this challenge is to use what I call the “cost / intent” matrix.

The lower cost channels usually drive lower intent based audiences, meaning you can drive a lot of volume but it’s less likely you’ll get a lot of direct deal flow from the efforts.

The opposite is true as you move to high intent – these are usually much higher cost per click and action when tuned well, but enable you to target really effectively.

Two examples come to mind:

  1. Low intent: You spend $500 on 5000 clicks and generate 50 actions at a $0.10 CPC and a $10 CPA.
  2. High intent: You spend $500 on 100 clicks and generate 20 actions at a $25 CPA.

At first glance your low intent audience is exciting to watch as it’s driving volume. But as you move to your next step in activation from these audiences things will likely be quite different.

  1. Low intent: You get 2 subscriptions at a $250 CAC.
  2. High intent: You get 10 subscriptions at a $50 CAC.

If you captured emails for your low intent actions, you may be able to convert some additional users over time, but you’ll probably never catch up to the high intent audience.

What you do in various channels obviously depends a lot on what your goals are. Sometimes driving pure volume is what you are looking to do. Maybe you are remarketing to folks after that to move them down funnel. But if you aren’t bringing your A game in activation, then you may be better off focusing on higher cost, higher intent channels.

How do you think about cost vs intent? Drop me a line on twitter or linkedin and I’ll feature your input in the next edition of my newsletter.

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