Getting the word out: Google Display Ads vs. Facebook Ads

Social Self on Instagram/Facebook vs. Real Self on Google

At the early parts of the sales funnel you are trying to build awareness about your brand. Your target market needs to know that you exist. You need to get the word out.

Google Ads and Facebook Ads that are both great in getting the word out. For this post we stick to Google Display Ads and exclude Google Search Ads. For search ads work better for lower parts of the sales funnel. By the time someone searches for something (eg. ‘Cheap flights to Paris”) you can be sure that the person is now looking for a specific destination. When your search ad pops up that mentions “Cheap flights to Paris” it becomes very likely that the searcher clicks on the ad to check out what your landing page has to offer.

If a customer is already thinking about your product category, that’s huge progress in the customer’s journey. See our very popular post on Why Impressions are Free in Google Search Advertising.

For this post we are talking about awareness and how both Facebook and Google Display Ads are both cost-effective options, A good starting point is to think about your own persona on Facebook:

You are your “social self “on Facebook/Instagram:This is the mostly cheerful/upbeat persona that people project on social media including Facebook and Instagram. For eg. you are likely to post a picture of a great lunch and are less likely to post a picture of a lunch that disappointed. Similarly, if a friend liked a worthy cause or was “interested” in a particular Facebook event- you are might “like” the page or click that you are “interested” in that event. You signal some interest and are okay with your friends being made aware. But this is short of actually Googling it. Whatever you do on social media becomes data points for at least your social media persona.

You are your “real self” on Google:We tend to be our “real” self while searching on Google. We start our research on anything with Google. No question (search query) is “too stupid” for Google. We all learn before we talk to the professional. For example, medical doctors are tired of patients who have numerous questions based on Dr. Google. So much so that medical examination rooms have articles like Dr. Google will see you now posted on the notice board! The point is that if you had a question that you are afraid to ask a human being, now you can ask Google without fear of being judged!

The next issue to consider is the business model of both Facebook and Google from this post’s point of view of display advertising:

Facebook business model: Facebook’s mission is to connect people and give everyone a chance to share their feelings and opinions. The revenue comes in from what you do as your “social self.” Everything you do on the platform becomes a data point about what you like and dislike or do not care about. Advertisers can choose from a variety of dimensions (demographics,geography,interests,behaviors) to target display ads (these include page “boosts”). Research in marketing indicates that when ads are promoted through paid advertising from Company Facebook pages the “likes” do help the brand.

Google business model: Google on the other hand, is all about answering your questions. It needs to hunt out the best answer across the web-instantly. For display advertising Google has its own “AdSense” program and shares some revenue with over 2 million website owners for the ads that are displayed on their site. The key point to understand is that display ads are being seen after someone arrives on the content. A skilled display advertiser is able to show the ad on relevant websites by setting up campaigns appropriately from the large number of campaign settings and your goals. These include keywords in addition to demographics, geography, behavior etc. Some clients can get upset if they see an ad on a website that they think is irrelevant. For example, a machinery part on a religious blog. But hey! there are many manufacturers interested in religion. The machinery brand will be at the back of the customer’s mind and will become an evoked brand.

Internet Display ads are similar to TV ads: In a sense both Facebook and Google Display ads are like ads on TV. Except that a consumer with the most expensive TV channel package can get only a few hundred TV channels. On the other hand digital marketers get a selection from 2 million “channels” of Google AdSense partners. Just like TV shows each of the partners have their own audience who come due to their interest in the content. When they see your ad it stays in their mind. Some will click on your ad and you have a web visitor that can be so valuable. All this is completely trackable through the Google Analytics and AdWords platform. So you know which specific ad got you a visitor or a specific eCommerce sale. You can’t do that yourself for TV Ads !

Facebook has its 2.7 billion global users and each have friends. When skillfully done Facebook ads have the added benefit of social sharing. If you liked an ad, your friends might take a second look. Here too tracking through the Facebook Ad Manager is easy and your web visits and eCommerce transactions can be tracked on Google Analytics or other web analytics software as well. You can’t do that yourself for TV Ads!

However, TV Ads continue to be relevant today depending on your target audience and budget. It’s just that you can start Facebook and Google Display ads for $5 or $10 a day and start seeing results soon.

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