Exploring the Frontier of Demand Generation in Digital Advertising: A Case Study

Exploring the Frontier of Demand Generation in Digital Advertising: A Case Study

It's no secret that the marketing world is filled with buzzwords - and "Demand Generation" is one of them that's attracting attention of late. It's a new campaign by Google that's got the marketing world talking - and for good reason.

But what exactly is it - and more importantly, why should you care?

Simply put, Demand Generation is a campaign type that's all about creating a need for your products or services. It's a holistic campaign that combines the best of marketing and sales strategies to help you attract prospects, nurture leads, and ultimately, drive revenue.

In this post, we’re taking a closer look at Demand Gen. Launched in January, these campaigns in Google Ads specifically focus on leveraging look-alike (LAL) audiences to maximize reach and engagement. 

To give you a better idea of how the campaign works and some best practices, we'll share insights based on a case study we conducted with a client to test out this novel campaign. Here's what we did, and what we discovered.

Demand Generation: Definition and Significance

Demand Generation, as we mentioned earlier, is far from just another fancy term in the marketing world - it's a game changer in the world of digital advertising. 

Unlike traditional Google Ads campaigns that cast a wide net, Demand Generation campaigns are laser-focused. They aim to identify and engage highly specific groups of potential customers. They're designed to create awareness and interest in your products and services. 

These campaign types typically operate at the top of the sales funnel, focusing on attracting potential customers who may not yet be aware of your brand. Here’s how they function:

  • Inventory: Demand Generation campaigns appear across various digital platforms, providing the maximum reach.
  • Objective: The primary goal is to generate high-quality leads by engaging users with valuable content and compelling calls to action.
  • Strategy: They aim to fill the remarketing pools lower in the funnel with rich, qualified individuals who are more likely to convert as they engage with subsequent marketing efforts.

In our case study, the goal of the campaign was to target accredited investors, introduce them to an exciting investment opportunity, and encourage them to sign up.

Demand Generation is a comprehensive campaign type that goes beyond mere lead generation. It involves creating awareness, piquing interest, and nurturing prospects until they are ready to convert. 

It's especially significant for businesses looking to build long-term relationships with their audience, rather than just making quick sales, as was the situation with the client we're covering in this case study.

Our Campaign Analysis: What Was the Plan?

This campaign's primary objective was to engage with accredited investors and encourage them to sign up. Unlike performance max campaigns, which rely on general signals of traffic acquisition, a Demand Generation campaign uses look-alike audiences curated by the Kinetic319 team. 

The goal in our specific experiment was to foster familiarity and drive high-quality, more efficient traffic. 

Traditional Google Ads campaigns tend to focus on broad keywords and general audience targeting. While that has its merits, it wasn't what we aimed for with this campaign. 

Our Demand Generation campaign had one very specific goal: to reach a niche audience of accredited investors. This highly targeted nature set it apart from more generalized advertising efforts, and that's why, compared to other options in Google Ads, Demand Gen was the best campaign type for us to choose in this case.

What Strategies Did We Use?

To maximize our conversions, our campaign leveraged look-alike audiences based on a customer list and a pool of accredited investors previously identified and vetted. 

The campaign was set up to "Maximize Conversions," making sure that every impression and click was aimed at driving meaningful engagement.

Audience Targeting Precision

The cornerstone of this campaign's success was in its utilization of those LAL audiences. We wanted to make sure each impression and click resonated with the people who were most likely to convert, thereby optimizing the overall conversion rate. 

Again, Demand Generation was a great choice for this.

Remember, look-alike audiences are a powerful tool in digital advertising because they allow you to target individuals who share characteristics with your existing customers, thereby increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

They're created by analyzing your existing customer base and identifying common traits. Google Ads then finds similar users who are likely to be interested in your offerings. 

Demand Generation is so valuable as the campaign type of choice because it helps you reach a broader yet relevant audience without starting from scratch.

Tailored Messaging and Creatives

Again, we wanted to create compelling ad copy and creative elements to help capture the attention of the target audience. 

We wanted to make sure our message resonated with the audience while also accentuating the unique value proposition of the offering - effectively driving home the brand's distinct advantages.

How We Measured Success

Despite some initial challenges, our experience with the Demand Generation campaign yielded favorable results, demonstrating the effectiveness of our targeting strategy. Here's our take on the outcomes:

  • Efficient Traffic Acquisition: The low CPC of $0.06 highlights that the campaign was successful in driving high-quality traffic at a cost-effective rate.
  • Remarkable CPM Performance: With a CPM of $1.20, the campaign outperformed our YouTube efforts, showcasing greater cost-efficiency in reaching our target audience.
  • Specific Audience Engagement: The lower CTR, approximately 23% less than our other campaigns, was anticipated due to the more focused targeting. However, this specificity ensured that the traffic acquired was highly relevant and likely to convert further down the funnel.

While click rates and CPMs provide a glimpse into the campaign's reach and efficiency, it’s the conversion data that truly underscores its success. 

Notably, it achieved an impressive engagement rate, generating a significant number of conversions - far exceeding our initial expectations. This highlights its efficiency from an engagement perspective and its capability to drive meaningful actions from the audience.

The Benefits and Challenges of Demand Generation Campaigns

When it comes to Demand Generation campaigns, using targeted look-alike audiences can be immensely beneficial. However, you also need to understand that there are some inherent challenges involved with effectively optimizing your strategy. 

Here are some benefits and challenges of Demand Gen.


First, the good. 

One of the most significant advantages of using look-alike audiences is the high level of relevance it offers. 

This is something that was lost to us as marketers for a while. Look-a-like targeting was a huge success back in the day - you could say it was all the rage. However, Google ultimately removed the ability to use look-a-like audiences in all campaigns for privacy purposes. 

Though an understandable shift, the reality is that look-alikes were, and are, incredibly effective. By targeting individuals who share similar characteristics with your best customers, you increase the likelihood of engagement. 

These audiences are more likely to resonate with your messaging, resulting in higher interaction rates. This high relevance also translates to more meaningful engagements, which can drive better results throughout your sales funnel. 

When look-alikes were removed, marketers took a huge hit - but now that they're back as part of Demand Generation campaigns, we can breathe a big sigh of relief. 

Another key benefit is cost efficiency. Traditional advertising methods often involve a lot of guesswork, which can lead to wasted spend on "non targeted" audiences. 

By comparison, look-alike audiences allow for more focused advertising efforts, making sure your budget is spent on actually reaching the people who are more likely to be interested in your products or services. This more targeted approach offered by Demand Generation minimizes waste and maximizes return on investment.

Scalability is yet another advantage of using look-alike audiences. Once you identify a successful audience segment, you can easily expand your reach to include new but relevant audiences. This scalability means that your campaigns can grow alongside your business, allowing you to reach a broader demographic without sacrificing relevance or engagement.


Like anything in life, there are also some trade-offs.

One of the primary challenges of Demand Generation is the size of the audience. The pool of look-alike users can be somewhat limited, especially if you are operating in a niche market. This limitation can restrict the scale of your campaigns, making it difficult to achieve broad reach.

Because of this, you need to manage your expectations and understand that while look-alike audiences can be highly effective, they may not always offer the extensive reach you desire. You're looking at depth - not necessarily breadth - here.

It's all about quality, too. Just like you wouldn't expect a dinner recipe to turn out amazing when you use sub-par ingredients, you shouldn't rely on poor data to produce awesome results for you, either. Poor quality data can result in subpar audience matches, significantly diminishing the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Therefore, investing in high-quality data collection and management practices is key. The better your initial data, the more accurate and effective your look-alike audiences will be.

And remember, maintaining the effectiveness of your look-alike audiences requires continuous refreshing. The digital landscape is ever-changing, and what worked yesterday might not work today. Be willing to regularly update your audience and switch up your approach as needed. Demand Generation, like most good things in life, requires flexibility!

Lessons Learned from Our Experience With Demand Generation

Running Demand Generation campaigns using look-alike audiences has provided us with several valuable insights, which we'll share with you to help you get more out of your next campaign.

Expanding the Audience

One of the key insights we gained is the importance of leveraging signals from other campaigns to identify potential areas for audience expansion. 

By analyzing data from various sources, you can uncover new opportunities for growth. This cross-campaign analysis helps in identifying untapped segments that share similarities with your current audience, thereby expanding your reach.

Continuous Refreshing

As previously mentioned, keeping look-alike audiences up-to-date is important for maintaining campaign effectiveness with Demand Gen. Regularly refreshing your data makes sure that you're always targeting the most relevant and engaged audiences. This practice helps in staying ahead of market trends and consumer behavior changes, making your campaigns more resilient.

Targeted Approach

Despite the challenges, adopting a focused and targeted approach can yield efficient, high-quality traffic that's likely to convert further down the funnel. 

A well-targeted campaign not only drives immediate engagement but also sets the stage for long-term customer relationships. Demand Generation emphasizes the importance of quality over quantity for marketing efforts that are both effective and efficient.

Best Practices in Demand Generation

Here are some best practices that we can carry forward into the future of Demand Generation:

Start with Clear Campaign Objectives

This is important always, of course, but especially with Demand Generation campaigns. Google will allow you to set objectives that align with your goals, whether it's brand awareness, consideration, or conversions, so pay attention to what you want to accomplish with this campaign type.

Choosing Bidding Strategies and Ad Formats 

Google has a number of bidding options depending on your campaign goals. You can choose from target CPA (Cost Per Acquisition), target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) or maximize clicks to optimize your bidding. 

Demand Gen campaigns in Google Ads allow for the combination of graphic ads with video ads so you can showcase your creatives in a visually appealing and engaging manner, and perhaps get a better chance of capturing the attention of your audiences. You'll need to provide high-quality assets and ad content to enhance the performance of your campaign, but there's a great deal of freedom to choose here.

Invest in Quality Data and Audience Targeting

The foundation of any successful look-alike audience campaign is high-quality data. Investing in robust data collection and management practices will help your look-alike audiences be more accurate and effective. 

The better your initial data set, the more precise your targeting will be, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates.

Google's advanced targeting options will help you reach the most relevant audience for your products or services. You'll be able to target specific behaviors, interests, demographics and more to make sure your ads are seen by the right people.

Monitor and Adjust

Continuously monitor and optimize your Demand Generation campaigns based on performance data. Test different ad variations, adjust targeting parameters, and refine your bidding strategy to improve your campaign effectiveness over time.

Leverage Cross-Channel Signals

Using data from other marketing channels can help refine your audience targeting. Cross-channel signals provide a more holistic view of your audience's behavior, enabling you to create more accurate and effective look-alike audiences. 

By taking a more integrated approach, you're more likely to be successful.

Stay Updated on Trends

You're probably well-aware of the fact that the digital advertising landscape is ever-changing. As such, staying current is a must for maintaining the effectiveness of your strategies. 

By regularly updating your knowledge and staying abreast of industry trends, you can make sure that your campaigns are always at the cutting edge. You've got to be proactive here!

You Don't Need to Go it Alone

Demand Generation is a powerful tool that once again allows marketers to create look-alike audiences yet again, but also provides other benefits - a considerable amount of conversions, in our case. We'd recommend giving this campaign type a try, especially considering that it's so incredibly cost-efficient. 

As you explore the frontier of Demand Generation in digital advertising, know that you don't need to make the trek alone. Strategic partnerships with agencies who have been there, done that is key to unlocking success in this competitive environment.

Kinetic319 is here to help you propel your efforts to new heights. As demonstrated in this case study, we have a proven track record of driving results, backed by a  team who's just as dedicated to your success as you are. 

Reach out today - and enjoy this new world with Kinetic319 by your side.

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