How to Use Paid Ads to Attract Customers at Different Funnel Stages

This article will demonstrate the best practices of your customer acquisition funnel for your Shopify store to drive more revenue.

Ruta Rudokaite
March 1, 2021

"Yeah, I tried paid ads. It doesn't work." 

As marketers, we have heard this so many times. Small businesses that can benefit from the correct paid advertising campaign often avoid it. Why? Many of them think it is only a long-term benefit, and they should focus on it later. 

Meanwhile, those who put even small budgets on paid advertising are already generating their leads. So, the problem lies in poor analytics or irrelevant tools, not in the advertising model itself. Yet, when it comes to efficiency, it depends on various factors. There's no one-stop solution, but successful campaigns always have a pattern.


Marketing challenges graph



First and foremost, you should dive into the essentials and best practices of the customer acquisition funnel for your Shopify store. After examining this approach, you will see how to drive revenue one stage at a time. Our next step will be learning how to make the most of your paid advertising campaigns, again, aligning them with your funnel. In other words, you won't miss out on anything important and ensure you did your best.


Paid Ads: Connect Strategy With Funnel

Let's start with good news: you don't need to try all the tools. Many SMBs (like Shopify merchants or small e-commerce startups) leverage the Pareto principle. It means 20% of their effort will gain 80% of the result without blowing the marketing budget.

The first pillar of efficiency is your strategy. It makes you able to systematize campaigns and establish a consistent process that will grow your customer base week by week.

Simply put, the strategy is an answer to "how I will achieve my goal." It is important to keep in mind that strategy doesn't guarantee the achievement of your specific goal. But it helps you move your business in the right direction, whether your goal is to drive sales, increase brand awareness or increase website traffic.

A good strategy is impossible without an accurate funnel. There are many users in it who may be interested in your product, but their number will decrease after each stage. To minimize the percentage of "not interested" leads, you should tailor your messaging to each funnel stage.

From Theory to Practice

When your paid advertising strategy is keyed to your funnel, you will be able to:

  • understand your customers’ behavior
  • segment campaigns by user intent
  • evaluate the marketing performance more accurately
  • identify risks and gaps in your sales cycle
  • predict the cost of attracting a new buyer

Your main goal will be to align advertising content with customer intent for each funnel stage in practice. Let's take a look at real-life applications of channels, tools, and metrics that will help you on each funnel level of the AIDA model.

What Is the AIDA Model?

AIDA (derives from A – Awareness, I – Interest, D – Desire, – A – Actions) is a well-known marketing model used to address specific problems of any audience type. Invented more than 100 years ago, it still works because it is keyed to human behavior and psychology patterns.



The logic behind this approach is simple: you set a cognitive trigger for each stage of your AIDA funnel and adjust them based on your statistics. It helps you better understand your customer, develop new marketing strategies and scale your operations. And yes, it is applicable to any type of business.

Let’s see how you can put it into practice.


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See How They Did It


Awareness: Meet Our Brand

Users know nothing about your shop, brand or company, but they have already faced a problem you can solve. At this stage, you should provide them with guidance content. How-To's, checklists, pro tips, and ultimate guides work well. Seed them through your platform, third-party blogs and media.

Another useful format is promo videos (without any call-to-actions) dedicated to addressing your general audience's problems. Customers become loyal when they see you as a subject matter expert.

Audience: cold

Goal: introduce your brand to your future fans

Trigger actions: website/page visits, social media page views, video views and comments

Channels: SEO, Content Marketing, Google Contextual Ads and Facebook Targeting Ads

Metrics: CTR (click-through rate), CPC (cost per click), views and bounce rate

Interest: Engage Your Future Fans

Here we shift the emphasis of your ads from your brand to your direct offering. Keep in mind that we still avoid aggressive sales tactics. At this stage, you convert visitors into leads, engaging with people who leave their data in some contact or subscription form.

Now remarketing comes into play. Show your ads to people who have already visited your website. The best way here is to combine Facebook and Instagram remarketing with display ads on third-party websites. A golden rule of remarketing – do not annoy your customer. Make sure your campaign is extending your value proposition, not duplicating it.

Audience: semi-cold

Goal: engage a customer with direct offering

Trigger actions: social media page follow, newsletter subscription, contact form submission and specific page view (i.e. "about the product")

Channels: SMM, cold lead generation, Google Ads (Remarketing; use this tool for Shopify), Google Contextual Ads and Facebook Targeting Ads

Metrics: CTR, email open rate, lead database volume and CPL (cost per lead)

Desire: Fuel the Demand

When someone is interested in your product, your next step should be to help your future customer learn more about it. While medium-sized businesses often connect chatbots for this stage, you can manually implement it directly in Facebook Messenger.

At this stage, remarketing campaigns will help you remind customers about a product, while free samples or personal sale offerings will push them to the next funnel stage. The best way to feel the need for something is to try it out a bit. Weave this approach in your paid advertising strategy.

Audience: warm

Goal: engage people to buy the product

Trigger actions: shopping cart adding, website registration and promo newsletter subscription

Channels: Chatbots, cold calls and remarketing with Google Display Ads

Metrics: CPA, conversion rate, cold calls conversion and promo newsletter subscriptions

Action: Closing the Deal

Congrats! If you’re at this stage, your revenue has increased, and your funnel strategy has paid off.

Consider the approval rate (AR), CPA, ROI, average check size and abandoned carts as key metrics. Adjust content for previous stages regarding conclusions from this one.

If a user has reached the bottom of your funnel but has not purchased a product, it is not their intention that changed. Perhaps the user is hesitating about the price or simply forgot to finish the checkout. What should you do? Offer them a special price within remarketing campaigns as a gentle reminder of your product.

Audience: hot

Goal: tackle the doubts and risks

Trigger actions: product order

Channels: email marketing and Google Display Ads remarketing

Metrics: CPA, AR (acceptance rate), average check and ROI

Analysis Summary

First, you need to create separate reports and review your Google Analytics metrics for each stage. The transition between stages will decrease slightly, and that is ok. But if you notice that you have significant gaps, double check your content for each stage of the funnel.


Paid ads and funnel stages graph


Also, make sure you avoid frequent mistakes, including:

  • Extra steps. Do not complicate your funnel by having too many categories. Every step you include makes potential customers more likely to fall out of your funnel.
  • Focusing on a static customer. If a lead doesn't move to the next stage for a long time, exclude them from your funnel and stop wasting your time. If you spend too much time trying to convert customers that just don’t want to make a purchase, you are wasting effort you could be using on customers that are more likely to convert.
  • Bouncing leads. Every move in your funnel should be towards the sale. If you are not following a straight path it becomes hard to track your conversion rates and you can even end up losing potential customers.

Funnel Advertising Strategy Template (Free!)

We created a unified template to help you predict your customer's next step and build a robust paid advertising strategy. Here's how to start using it:

  1. Copy this template to your Google Drive
  2. Adjust stages & marketing channels to your business
  3. Fill out the template
  4. Implement every campaign separately and set status inside the document

Get The Paid Ads Strategy Template


This approach will make your strategy consistent and readable. Every stage will address the specific needs of your future customers. You will see the big picture of your campaign’s progress and see what can be improved. A/B test your channels and formats so that they take customers one step closer to the "Action" stage. You can use this template not only for paid advertising but also for email marketing and your future content plan. 

Consistency, analytics, and agility. That is how your advertising campaign will pay off.


About the author:
Ruta Rudokaite is the Head of SEO at sixads, a tool that automates ad creation & optimization for online stores. Ruta is interested in inbound marketing, the sharing economy, tourism, and real estate, but turning mediocre websites into user-friendly websites with a large amount of organic traffic is her biggest passion.
Want to know more ways to attract buyers to your online store? Connect with sixads on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, or YouTube!


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