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Should I use Facebook or Google Advertising?

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The Advantages of Online Advertising

Facebook and Google advertising can be a lucrative form of advertising compared to traditional advertising like the Yellow Pages, Newspapers, Television and Radio.

The great advantage of online advertising is two fold:

  • Cheap Entry – it allows any business no matter how small to gain a traction of the online advertising market. One could spend as little as 50 cents a day
  • Fantastic Targeting – the problem with TV, radio and newspaper advertising is that you are spending money to reach thousands/millions of people when in reality only 5% of the audience may be a likely contender for your product. Just think about all the female fashion TV ads guys, and girls think about the latest live boxing events on TV that you have not the slightest interest in. When people create accounts with Facebook and Google people are passing on this targeting information to these online advertisers. Some people ask, what is Facebook’s product, and some say it is a great social network experience for the public, this is somewhat true, but the financial answer is the product is you!

How to Judge Success

Now not every industry is well suited to google advertising so don’t get too excited just yet. There are many different companies that are selling things like SEO and Adwords management online. However there is a difference between a successful campaign statistically and a successful campaign for your business. Here are some metrics ‘experts’ use to measure campaign success:

  • CTR or Click Through Rate – the click through rate is the amount of clicks you get per 100 impressions. This will tell you how effective your ad is at getting clicked. But the problem of this metric is that it isn’t telling you who are the people who are doing the clicking; are these people likely or not likely to buy your product? Another issue with click through rate is the effect of ad position on CTR. If your ad is towards the top of the page your CTR is going to be higher as people naturally click on the first 2-3 items, and the probability of people getting lower than ad position 3 goes down exponentially. So one could almost argue that a low CTR is better as you’re not paying as much for your clicks.
  • Conversions – Conversions is the only way to accurately measure the effectiveness of campaigns. Conversions are the amount of people who clicked on your ad and then performed an action on your website like buying a product or submitting a form. This will give you an idea on the return on investment of your campaigns. However it is only a good measure if you are selling products online (and even then you need to ask how much are these Google people buying anyway). Counting the amount of people who submit forms on your website can be a little dodgy as a conversion method as once again, you might have a high Adwords conversion rate of 30%, but if 5% of those enquiries are relevant or end in a sale than the 30% conversion rate isn’t so crash hot after all.

So before you even get started on things like your ad targeting, keywords, ad content etc. you need to first think about what warrants a successful campaign and how you are going to measure that. As you can start to see this measure is going to be totally unique for every business. What you need to aim for is something successful for your business, not successful for your consultant or what Google/Facebook considers success to be.

Taking Ownership of Your Brand

One of the big disadvantages you will find in Google and Facebook advertising is the power to present your brand. Whether you are advertising through Google or Facebook or anywhere else online for that matter your ads are going to be restricted to standards. If you are doing text based advertising you will have 2 tiny lines that you can work with and not only does this narrow your creative scope, but it also limits the amount of information you can utilise to filter the right people onto your website. Depending on your business it can be sometimes really difficult to communicate your product or brand in 2 lines, and choose keywords that don’t have alternate connotations. There are of course ways you can mitigate these risks by using clever phrase and exact keywords, negative keywords or image/video ads but it is still something to consider.

The Two Ways to Pay

In online advertising there are 2 main payment methodologies which I will explain below:

  • Pay per a click – Pay per a click is the most common form of online advertising (because generally speaking it is the advertising method that brings in the most revenue for ad providers) which is simply every time someone clicks on your ad you will be charged. Pay per click is good for small businesses or people who have specific products for specific markets.
  • Pay per an impression – The other methodology is pay per an impression which is you get charged every time someone lands on a page with your ad. Of course the cost per an impression is many many times lower than the cost per a click, and from my experience you pay generally less for it in the log run if you have a well designed ad. Pay per an impression is great for large brands where consumers are already aware of your company and your goal is simply to get as many eyeballs in front of your ad as possible. Your conversion strategy might not be immediate but might subconsciously filter through your audience over several months or even years. Think of companies like McDonald’s or Nike or companies you would see on TV who are selling consumer products in the millions and have established identities.

Market Saturation

The next thing you need to consider is the level of saturation in the advertising market. Many SEO companies let’s be honest just want your business no matter what. They act as if they have tailored solutions and act as if they have never failed one of their customers before but it is likely not true. Some keywords and some industries are extremely competitive so much so that it is hard for one to even break even; the value of the customer simply doesn’t exceed the acquisition cost to get the customer in the first place. The question you need to ask is, how much is a customer worth? Some lawyers even bid up to $20 per a click through Google! Granted lawyers can make a lot of money from a client, but this is still a lot of money. So depending on your industry will depend on how lucrative online advertising will be for you.

From my experience industries which are closely related to computers, or computers are required to run a lot of their business these industries tend to be more competitive. Ironically the most competitive online advertising market is people selling online advertising as this is what they do, and this is what they are good at. Companies like auto repair shops, and trade services tend to fair well online as computers aren’t exactly a core part of their work experience. Another aspect related to this is the location of your business. If you are a fashion label advertising online it will be very difficult as you are competitive against potentially the whole world of fashion labels as importing individual clothes items isn’t that expensive. Whereas Joe the butcher on Sydney’s Northern Beaches only has to worry about other butchers on the Northern Beaches.

So, Facebook vs Google or both?

These are all important things to consider when stepping into the world of online advertising, but of course I haven’t got to my key point which is what is right for me, Facebook or Google? The way I like to think about this is Facebook is the place to go where people want to discover content, whereas people go onto Google to find things they already have in mind. So if your product is very specific like a computer called the “R345” this is something people would search for specifically so there’s no point advertising on Facebook for people who like computer and aged between 20-40. A better strategy would be to try and dominate the people searching for R345 as most people don’t recognise something as specific as a product code. However if one was selling a range of wedding cakes online, it might be better to use Facebook as Facebook can target demographics a whole lot better than Google. So one might want to target females who have the relationship status “engaged”. When targeting demographics definitely consider using Facebook, if you are looking at targeting searches definitely consider Google. A great advantage of using Facebook advertising is the interface is very user friendly compared to Google. If you are considering Google advertising unless you are prepared to learn and study for hours and hours you should look into a consultant.

This is where Northern Beaches Websites comes in with our online experience. We don’t push these services at all, if we believe you wont get a return on investment we wont even bother taking the project on, this is our standard. We believe in a holistic online presence. If your best strategy is to focus on your website content we will look at this, if you can gain significant money using Facebook we will focus on this, if you need work building networks and your natural search rankings we will explore this.

Article by Martin Gibson

AUTHOR - Martin Gibson

Founder and Senior Web Designer/Developer & Graphic Artist of Northern Beaches Websites

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