What the funnel?!

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by Sally Baker, Digital Marketing Manager on Nov 11, 2020 / Perspective

In my world of PPC where I specialize in running Google Ads and Social Ads, I hear the term “funnel” all the time. For those that are beginners in the PPC world or business owners trying to understand more about how to maximize their ads, they hear “funnel” and the immediate reaction is usually…


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Have no fear! Sally May is here! That’s me by the way, not the old student loan company spelled all weird. Anyway, I’m going to break down what a funnel is in the simplest form and then tell you a couple of my favorite funnels. These are probably yours too because I gather your priority for online eCommerce ads are new customers, and not necessarily existing ones.

But first…The PPC Funnel Breakdown!

What is a funnel?

The way I like to explain it is by saying that a funnel is a story. To put it simply, you have a beginning, middle, and end to a story… just like with ppc funnels. If you’re thinking funnels are WAY more than that, then you’re probably more advanced for this article. Remember, this is just breaking down what a funnel is in its simplest form. For beginners!

So, let’s say you want to tell a story to your new customers in 3 steps to maximize purchase. Examples are the best way to describe this so here goes…

Top Funnel

Your top funnel (or first step, or however you want to label your tiers) is your first impression! I want my first ads going to new customers and new only. I want to hit them with my branding and hopefully get the sale here. Some will purchase, but some won’t. So what happens to those who don’t purchase here in the top funnel? Well, they’re sent to the next step!

Middle Funnel

So, your new customers didn’t purchase in the top funnel. This is the part where we target them with a different set of ads. This time, we want to give them another reason to purchase. Let’s say you sell meal subscriptions online. Your top funnel ads were all about your brand and your bundles. Now that we’re in the middle funnel, we want to give them another reason why they should purchase from you. Not only do you sell meal subscriptions, but they’re a great way to save time in busy lives with meal prep!

Bottom Funnel

Here we are at the bottom funnel. Presuming the people you hit in the first funnel didn’t purchase, they were hit with the middle funnel ads and still didn’t purchase, so now they have arrived here. The final step! This is what I like to call… the incentive!

This is the perfect place to grab any customers who like you, but are on the fence about purchasing. So, here we offer an incentive. 10% off? $15 off? This incentive is specifically for the people that are in the bottom funnel so if anyone is on the fence, this is the time they would be most likely to purchase.

I know what you’re thinking. This all sounds great, but how exactly do you even do this?! Don’t worry, I got you!

How do I actually build a funnel?

In Facebook, you do this through audiences. I’ll jump right into the explanation here with this example:

Top Funnel – Include interests and lookalike audiences. Exclude website visitors, purchasers, and page engagers.

Middle Funnel – Include website visitors and product viewers. Exclude added to cart, initiate checkout, and purchasers.

Bottom Funnel – Include cart abandoners, initiated checkout, and customers.

In Google, it’s a bit different but fairly simple. Instead of building audiences, you build a remarketing campaign. There is so much you can do within Google Remarketing, from standard remarketing, dynamic, lists, video, and more.


There you have it! A simple, friendly, completely non-scary explanation of what a ppc funnel is and how to actually build one. I hope this helped, but if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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