Business Principles in PPC: Push vs Pull Marketing

c12222_c12223In previous articles, I’ve talked about a couple of business principles that play large roles in your PPC campaigns. If you didn’t go to business school, you may not have been taught these principles, but trust me, they’re there. The first was the AIDA Principle following users through the four phases of engaging with an advertisement. The second was the Four P’s, also known as the marketing mix.

Today I want to talk about push and pull marketing and the ways they impact PPC campaigns. Let’s start with some basic definitions:

Push Marketing: when a company pushes advertisements or offers in front of potential customers in hopes they’ll become part of their conversion funnel.

Pull Marketing: when a company stops advertising broadly and waits to answer the call from potential customers seeking more information.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at many of our available channels for PPC targeting and figure out where they fit and what that means.


There’s really only one targeting type used in PPC that fits squarely into the Pull Marketing camp: Search. Search is the only instance where an advertiser is answering the call of the consumer rather than the other way around. There are different levels of search intent, starting from the broadest of searches down to the most granular, but on the whole, these all fit into the pull marketing category.

For this channel, you want to answer the call as best you can. Here are some tips to excel in the pull marketing arena:

Mirror Their Focus

If the search query is very broad, indicating a users high up the funnel, give them general messaging about features & benefits and give as much detail as you’re allowed. Even if the searcher doesn’t click, they’ll have a better understanding of your company’s offering after they’ve read your ad.

If they’re further down the funnel and are searching on a specific product feature, be sure to call that out in your ad. Then drive to a landing page that presents information about that same feature. This is the same basic idea between keyword matching from query, to ad, to landing page, but with a specific product feature.

Craft Your Offer Based On Their Intent

For the two examples above, you’ll most likely benefit from having two distinct calls to action. The first can focus on searcher education and bring those users up to speed on your offerings: Learn More, Download a Guide, etc. For the searcher whose focus is on key areas of your product, they’re most likely in a shopping phase and would be better suited to a harder conversion like Order Online or Request a Demo.


2b7ecf3c22ebfe24c883e8de13bd277b5853c3f07961d91a202e712a16838a07Just about every other targeting option we use as PPC advertisers falls under the push strategy. With all other strategies, we advertisers are choosing to show ads to users who are not actively looking for us. We’re effectively yelling at people while they’re on the web. We walk a fine line here between being informative and being annoying. Whether you’re targeting users on the GDN, Facebook, Twitter, or some other channel, be sure you’re speaking to them in a way that reflects their intent.

Mirror Their Surroundings

Whether on social media sites or a site that’s part of the GDN, these users are there for a reason. They want to be social, they’re reading an article, or whatever else people do on the internet. Take clues from their location on the web and use those clues to drive your messaging and offer. As a basic example, users on social media may respond better to testimonial ad messaging since it’s a social platform. Those reading an article about your industry on the GDN may be qualified enough to see messaging bringing them into your conversion funnel.

Call Out Why They’re In Your Audience

Whether through audience, contextual, topics, or other targeting methods, these users have met one or more pieces of criteria you deem relevant to your business. It’s up to you to identify that criteria and call it out plainly for your audience to see. Granted, not all users on these lists are good prospects for you, but their in your audience for a reason.

Say you decided to target “titleist golf balls” on the GDN hoping to reach those who use Titleist. Just because someone’s reading an article that includes your phrase, doesn’t mean they’re interested in your product. Craft your offer for your target audience and if they see you, they’ll engage or make a mental note. If not, they’ll leave you alone.

The same goes for lookalike or similar audiences. These lists are crafted from another list of users you deemed relevant. Determine why that audience is relevant, then tailor messaging to the expanded audience to call out those similarities.


Although the end goal is the same, reaching your audience through push and pull strategies can manifest in very different ways. Be sure you’re taking these two strategies into consideration when working to best reach your target audience on the web.

What other suggestions do you have for best maximizing push and pull strategies? Share with us in the comments!