Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords

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Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords
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Do You Really Have To Build A Fan Base?

Not sure about building a fan base on Facebook? Facebook advertising straight to your website is not necessarily wrong. Maybe you aren’t prepared to invest thousands of dollars to build a fan base, or the audience-building step won’t help your business.

To be sure, Fan Pages are one of Facebooks most unique and powerful opportunities, and it’s important to be open to the benefits of owning your audience. It’s like a public email list with more word of mouth power. I’d challenge you to think of how this could take your marketing processes to another level.

But if audience-building isn’t for you or really does not fit your business model, there’s nothing wrong with treating Facebook advertising as a new, powerful, cheap source of website traffic.

Facebooks Ads vs. AdWords Ads

The Facebook ad creation process is different from AdWords. You target people’s interests rather than their search phrases. You’re targeting people based more on who they are than on what they’re looking for right now. These people may be a bit higher up the sales funnel, unless you control that in the ad copy.

This important difference has pro’s and con’s….

Facebook Surfers Do Convert

On the con side, with the Facebook ad audience, you may not get a sale right away. You don’t know if they want what you offer right now. But there’s no proof that they are any less likely to enter their email and become market of your email marketing funnel. I’ve personally seen lead form conversion rates on Facebook traffic equivalent to search traffic.

And let’s not get carried away. Despite Social Media guru admonitions that, when socializing, people are turned off by hard-selling, Facebook advertising clickers aren’t aliens or deeply opposed to capitalism. Because 50% of the U.S. is on Facebook (just over 60% of all those who are online), these are much the same people you find with AdWords; they’re just in a different frame of mind.

But be reassured, I’ve also seen sales from Facebook traffic when the incentive is right.

Target WHO They Are, Not WHAT They’re Looking For

If you know your prospects, you can get to know their psychographics.

  • What kind of TV shows do your prospects watch?
  • What kind of music do they like?
  • What things do they like that are similar to or associated with your offerings?

If you get the interest targets right, you can reach a much larger audience of prospects on Facebook than you can on AdWords. The problem with trying to reach larger audiences with AdWords is that the more general your search term, the more expensive the clicks can be, and also the more likely it is your low CTR causes quality score issues that increase cost or prevent your ads from even showing.

Facebook advertising uses the same inverse relationship between CTR and CPC, but the average CPC is much lower, about 1/3rd of AdWords’ average CPC.

  • Great CTR’s yield incredibly cheap clicks
  • Average CTR’s still yield clicks that are cheaper than AdWords average CPC.

This is great news, because AdWords’ average CPC has climbed to levels that are unsustainable for many businesses. If we’re fortunate, a movement of ad spend to Facebook will force AdWords CPC’s back to more reasonable levels.

And you can demographically target your Facebook ads with much more accuracy. AdWords offers demographic bidding, but only on the Content (Display) Network, not on all sites, and the demos for these sites are generalized. Demographics for Facebook ad impressions are exact, down to the person. You can test your ads for different age groups and find drastically different CTR’s and CPC’s.

And let’s not forget geographic targeting – although Facebook advertising doesn’t have the funky polygon targeting of AdWords, it has the ability to target cities, states/province, and countries.

What’s The Best Way To Start With Facebook Ads?

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, here are a few ways your business can get started:

1a. Direct Marketing with a Facebook Special: Run a test with a great offer exclusive to the Facebook audience. This should be a deal focused on getting you some immediate sales. I’ve seen this work for a number of clients that have done it well. If that doesn’t work, move to…

1b. A Psychographic List-Building Ad: Send them to a landing page focused on getting their email. Use an email marketing series to warm them up and educate them for eventual sales. If you can, make sure these prospects are marked in your email database as Facebook-sourced traffic so you can audit your results later. Even better, use a separate list with an autoresponder series. I use Aweber for this.

2. Straight Traffic Augmentation. You may be accustomed to limiting your AdWords traffic volume based on $1.00 – $3.00 CPC’s. But if you could get well-targeted Facebook clicks for $0.50, how much traffic would you want? Use your web analytics to track conversion results for Facebook traffic. Keep in mind that if the sales cycle for your Facebook people is longer than your analytics cookie (usually 30 days), you may not be able to attribute the sales to Facebook. If you can set your cookies to 90 days or more, consider doing so.

Why Facebook Ads Now?

The most important point to consider right now is that Facebook traffic is 1/3rd the cost of AdWords traffic. We don’t know how long it will stay this cheap. Also, not that many people are doing it well. Competition is not very strong. This is exactly the right time to get in and take advantage of it.

Photo credits: Detour sign Chris Dlugosz, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Only License

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Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to... Read Full Bio
Brian Carter
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