Latent Demand and Aware Demand: Definition, Strategies and Tools

Latent demand and conscious demand are 2 concepts theorized by Alessandro Sportelli and Manuel Fai in their book The Juice of Web Marketingwhich constitute the starting point of (my) work on the strategic definition of a web marketing project I had the opportunity to expand on these concepts in my book Lead Generation and in my video course Advanced Lead Generation.

In this article we are going to look at:

  • what is meant by latent demand and conscious demand;
  • How to leverage them in a practical way within your web marketing strategies.

Latent demand

We can define as latent demand the set of people who are not actively looking for your product or service but are potentially interested in it, as they fall within the target or definition of Buyer Persona.

Conscious question

We can define conscious demand the set of people who actively and consciously search for your product or service, or the term that identifies it, or even an informative search that could lead to the choice of your product or service.

Pay attention to consciously seek as the conscious demand finds its natural environment, as we will see later, just on Google especially in the context of organic traffic. SEO and the Research Network of Google ADS.

From the point of view of conscious demand, some clarifications are in fact necessary. The first concerns the degree of awareness.

In fact, a potential customer in the area of conscious demand has clearer ideas than a potential customer in the area of latent demand, there are, however, different degrees of awareness that correspond substantially to the different types of queries that the user makes on Google, which constitute a sort of "funnel" of conscious demand.

The "funnel" of conscious demand

As we have seen the potential customer within the conscious demand, as much as they are more aware of what they are looking for than those who hangs out on Facebook within the latent demand, it can be a different levels of awareness that correspond substantially to the type of query, i.e. the question, the keyword that is made on Google.

I'm talking about research intent. As you know, we can distinguish three or four research intents, corresponding to the:

  • information queries
  • commercial investigation query
  • transactional queries
  • navigational queries

As we push down, we get closer to conversion:

  • informational intent corresponds to informational queries which, while identifying a user who is further away from conversionHowever, they do bring some advantages, given thehigh search volume of information queries and the fact that they can be exploited to create a basic connection e.g. a email request and bring them to (monetary) conversion;
  • going forward in funnel of sales towards greater awareness and conversion we find the commercial investigation intent and the transactional intent marked by queries that reveal the intention to deepen the monetary aspects as a quote and price for a product;
  • when the user, after an informative question and after a transactional question, has an idea of the various suppliers of a product or service probably starts by searching directly for the brand, therefore making a navigational query, queries that not surprisingly are harbingers of high conversion rates.

From latent demand to conscious demand

In fact the process is not necessarily so rigid: our potential customer does not necessarily go through the various stages of conscious demand but could very well go from latent demand to brand query and then to a navigational type of research.

The classic example is the case of Zalando with its advertising campaign "Howls of Pleasure" carried out on one of the typical non-web channels of latent demand, namely television.

A few years ago, if you analyze Google Trends from that period, the massive airing of Zalando's advertising led to a spike in searches for the brand query Zalando on Google, a sign that when interest in a certain Brand develops in one of the latent demand channels, this subsequently translates into a search for the same Brand in the main channel of conscious demand, i.e. Google.

Latent and conscious demand channels

Precisely because the characteristics of the potential customer within the context of latent demand and conscious demand are so different one cannot lump them all together and every web marketing tool (SEO, Google ADS, Facebook Advertising) could be functional for one or the other type of question.

To give a generic example, the latent demand can have as preferential channels Facebook Advertising and the Google ADS Display Network, while demand aware organic traffic and the Google ADS Search Network:

latent demand and conscious demand: definition, strategy, tools

Pros and cons of latent demand and conscious demand

A question that is often asked is: but which is better, the latent demand or the conscious demand?

Is it better to pick up the user at a stage when they don't know us yet but might be interested, or when they are actively looking for us (if they are, of course)?

The answer as is often the case in web marketing is depends, although personally when possible I prefer to go and use both channels because they both have their pros and cons.

From a latent demand and conscious demand point of view we can see how pros and cons:

  • the substantial lack of competition, especially if you think that on transactional queries advertising costs are often high;
  • on the other hand, in the latent demand the user is still far away in the choice of our product and service, while in the conscious demand it is closer but on the other hand there could be more competition.

Here is a summary infographic of the 2 concepts from my video course Advanced Lead Generation:

latent demand conscious demand pros and cons


Regardless of what your online business or conversion goal is, your potential customer can be intercepted in latent demand and/or in conscious demand, in relation to which will change, as we have seen, strategy, traffic sources, communication methods.

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