Facebook Ads Vs. Google AdWords – The Facebook Targeting Advantage

Facebook Ads Vs. Google AdWords – The Facebook Targeting Advantage | Social Media Revolver

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When it comes to online advertising, Google AdWords is what you’d consider the elephant in the room.

Google’s behemoth service accounts for approximately 2/3rds of the online advertising market, generating revenue for the company that exceeds $33 billion every year. This service is more often than not the first stop for businesses launching new ads campaigns, complemented by the fact that researchers estimate around 40% of total Internet traffic passes through Google before being directed elsewhere.

In what has become the classic David vs. Goliath story (or perhaps Goliath vs. smaller Goliath) Facebook operates a similar advertising service of their own known as Facebook Ads, worthy of giving a Google a run for their money. Facebook may not possess the multitude of the Google Display Network, but the social media giant boasts over 1-billion users and offers distinguishing factors that give Facebook Ads a real targeting advantage.

Facebook User’s Take Their Time

When user’s look for information on search engines like Google, they find what they need or hop around between results pretty quickly. Search engines are merely the portals to get where you’re going, and Adwords is Google’s attempt to profit from that service. There’s no significant period of time spent scanning the page for more extensive information; this poses the risk that your ad could go unnoticed or lose its effectiveness.

Facebook users spend on average longer periods of time scrolling through the service while interacting with other users. Total session time can last upwards of 3 hours per user, per day. Longer viewing periods translate into increased likelihood that your information will become noticed and that users will take some type of action. Facebook reaches an astonishing 89% of intended audience meaning that you’ll be more likely to access your targeted demographic that you would by trying to put together the right keywords in Google Adwords.

Promote Repeat Buyers

An important option available to all Facebook advertisers is a feature known as ‘Custom Audiences.’ Custom Audiences allows you to upload your company’s current email lists, and market to individuals via their Facebook account. If you have an email list compiled from previous subscribers or purchases, you can upload this list directly to Facebook. Some of the sources that you can pull this information from include:

  • MailChimp
  • Excel Spreadsheets
  • Mobile Applications
  • Website Address Lists

Facebook will then process through all the information and look for users who signed up using the same information on their account.

When the system finds a match, you have the option of only displaying your paid advertisements to users on these lists; you can create up to 10,000 of these custom audience lists for advertising purposes. If those users had a positive experience in the past with your company, they are more apt to become a return customer or click on your ad because they are familiar with the brand name.

In addition, Custom Audiences comes with a tracking code that you can affix to your website. Michael Rolph, The CEO of the web design company, Wheel Media, is a big fan of the tool: “advertisers gain deep insights on the products or services of interest to each visitor, and can serve highly-targeted ads to them later. It’s a conversion goldmine.

Search for Lookalikes

Lookalike Audiences works in conjunction with Custom Audiences, and searches out similar users or groups that may be interested in the same types of things. These users can be found using:

  • Website Visitors
  • Custom Database Lists
  • Page Fans

Lookalike audiences are a great way of improving your overall outreach and coming across new potential leads. When you start to develop your campaign, you can review results with trusted clients and partners, and determine new ways to turn the potential leads into actual sales.

An example of how this would work is if you run a web hosting company with a fan page. Many of the likes that you have on your page are from e-commerce websites or private businesses looking to start a website. Lookalike Audiences would analyze this information and seek additional business owners or e-commerce employees that may be interested in switching to your hosting service. Just like that, you avoid the unnecessary expenditures invested in general advertising and get right to the people that would be genuinely interested.

Display Multi Product Ads

Towards the end of June 2014, Facebook released a new update to their ad service called Multi Product Ads. As the name suggests, you can now showcase three separate products or service within a single desktop or mobile ad. You can save money and do more with the power of a single ad that goes beyond just a basic link on the side of the page. When someone clicks on one of the pictures or links, the ad will bring that person to an individual page featuring that product.

Since releasing this feature, Facebook advertisers have seen a 42% increase in click-through-rates. This is especially big for e-commerce sites that wish to attract customers based on at least one product they might be interested in.

Access Partner Categories

Facebook has agreements with three dating mining companies, Acxiom, Epsilon and Datalogix to collect information for its advertising users. If you have yet to compile any advertising lists, you can choose to post your ads under Facebook’s partner categories.

Partner categories are a collection of user information created by the three dating mining companies listed above. The companies have already divided the information into different categories and demographic subjects that you can choose between. This will save you the time from developing your own lists and you can still take advantage of the ability to tailor your ads to a target group.

Carefully Run A/B Testing

Split testing is made easy with saved audiences and dark posts. Saved audiences allow you to set a range of demographics, ages, or identifying information and save them into a group for your later use. These saved groups make it easy to test out different ad samples or perform A/B test using the various sections of your email list.

Dark posts are posts that you can send out that aren’t displayed on your general page and only certain people can see. Using these two tools together, you can manipulate your campaigns and make sure that when you are ready to produce an ad for the general audience, you are running an ad with greater opportunity for success.

[Facebook Ads Vs. Google AdWords | Image: Flickr, atempletonphoto, Creative Commons Licence]

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About Janine Neutra

Janine Neutra has worked in digital marketing since 2000, where she managed search and social media marketing for a national nonprofit organization. She’s now Sr. Director of Online Marketing for a San Francisco marketing company, helping small businesses and startups create programs that get results. She’s a big Giants fan, and often walks her pomeranian Rowdy in the fog. Wearing a Giants sweater, of course!

View all posts by Janine Neutra

2 Responses to “Facebook Ads Vs. Google AdWords – The Facebook Targeting Advantage”

  1. Steve Says:

    Great article on alternative advertising methods using Facebook!

    We outsourced our google marketing for a few product niche sites 2 years ago and I have been looking hard at capitalizing on facebook ads recently. Our budget for google is larger than I ever thought it would be, and I just can’t shake that “we could be doing more” feeling after all the google updates this year and last.

    I will be implementing some test advertising campaigns and compiling our 5 year customer list this week for targeting. Great write up!

    Steve @ The Niche Pirate


  2. Maddi Patrick Says:

    Thanks Janine, a great primer on getting deeper into Facebook advertising. I have two clients that have had good enough results with their Facebook test campaigns to inspire research into next-steps. You’ve armed me with the info I need to justify the investment, Wish me luck!

    Thanks again, Janine


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