Digital advertising to the rescue: Strategies for marketing low-interest products

Digital advertising to the rescue: Strategies for marketing low-interest products

At Shelton Group, we work with brands at the forefront of energy efficiency and environmental sustainability – which means we primarily work with brands in low-interest product categories, presenting a unique marketing challenge. After all, if consumers aren’t inherently interested in or searching for a particular type of product (because they don’t realize they have an efficiency or environmental problem to solve), how are you supposed to market to them?

We recently wrapped up a campaign for a building materials brand in this situation. The brand, a manufacturer of home insulation products, held sparse awareness within the consumer market, and was also faced with the fact that home insulation is not a top-of-mind category for most consumers. (According to our most recent Energy Pulse study, only 8% of the population would prioritize adding insulation if they were given $10,000 for home improvements.)

To put the category in additional perspective, the keyword “home insulation” averages around 5,000 Google searches per month within the U.S., whereas keywords such as “kitchen countertops” and “carpet” average between 40,000 and 70,000 Google searches per month. The data makes sense: when homeowners dream about remodeling or building a home, they’re absorbed in details like granite countertops and hardwood floors, not the inner workings like plumbing and insulation.

Digital Advertising to the Rescue

To effectively engage the insulation brand’s target market, we designed a digital advertising campaign to reach consumers who expressed propensity for remodeling or building a home. Our campaign strategy incorporated a combination of contextual and behavioral targeting mechanisms, as well as retargeting, outlined below:

  • Contextual targeting allowed us to place ads in front of people who were researching home and renovation content (HGTV, This Old House, and other home-related websites).
  • Behavioral targeting allowed us to place ads in front of people who were actively searching for products and services related to home renovation, including stainless steel appliances, light fixtures, paint colors, and countertops.
  • Retargeting allowed us to place ads in front of people who had previously visited the brand’s website, reinforcing top-of-mind awareness within the buying cycle.

In crafting the messaging for this campaign, we turned to our most recent consumer polling data, which revealed that almost half of Americans (46%) are concerned about the indoor air quality of their home, and 65% of consumers think energy-efficient homes are healthier homes. Additionally, the data showed that “comfort” is the highest driver for insulation and HVAC purchases. From these insights, we created ads that spoke to increasing the comfort of a home by addressing concerns for health – describing how the insulation product could improve indoor air quality and eliminate mold and mildew.

Through this messaging and strategy, we have been able to generate over 6,000,000 impressions and 38,000 clicks to the brand’s website, all for less than half of the cost of one small advertisement in HGTV magazine (a savings of almost 800% in terms of CPM – cost per thousand impressions). Additionally, the campaign’s click-through rate has exceeded Google industry benchmarks for display advertising by almost 600%.

Key Takeaway

If you think your product or service might fall into a “low-interest” category, digital advertising can be your best friend – if you know how to properly harness its targeting capabilities. Especially important for success is thinking through your target consumers’ buying journey. A few questions to ask:

  • Where do they “live” online? What types of websites and blogs do they visit?
  • When they’re in the market for your product, what kinds of things are they researching?
  • What products or services are complementary to yours? Which are substitutes?
  • What do they care about – what are their concerns and drivers/hopes?

Answers to all of the above, in tandem with demographic and geographic variables, will help you find and appeal to your online target audience and develop a digital advertising campaign that produces results.

Image by William Iven via Unsplash

About the Author

Lauren de Wet

Lauren de Wet

Lauren leads all client and agency digital marketing efforts. She's responsible for both strategy and successful execution of a wide array of projects, including websites, email campaigns, digital advertising, content marketing and analytics. She’s often accompanied by her dog Max, who makes us all very happy.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Laila Waggoner

VP Client Engagement

Laila leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results – and clients’ satisfaction. She brings 25+ years of marketing leadership experience to her client relationships, with particular expertise in the homebuilding and remodeling industries as well as member-driven organizations, such as the Vinyl Siding Institute and Plastics Pipe Institute. Before joining Shelton Group, she led strategic marketing teams for Owens Corning’s insulation business.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

VP Finance and Administration

Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.