A principal, costly, and time-consuming misunderstanding for both marketers and brands is to neglect the synergy between Google and Facebook. Frequently, these two giant advertising platforms are treated as two separate forces – wrongfully so. Too often, marketers measure one platform against the other and then select only one, based on which is predicted to bring better immediate results. Instead, they should be considered a collaborative force, one being a prerequisite for the immediate success of the other.
The attitude should thus no longer be which platform leads to the greatest immediate return, because using both Facebook and Google in tandem will, in most cases, benefit you the most. Consequently, a Google Ad that is outperformed by an equivalent Facebook Ad is not necessarily unsuccessful, it may in fact be the very reason the Facebook Ad is performing so well. It is frequently the case that a visitor, originally brought to your website by a Google Ad, only becomes a customer after having been reminded of your product at a later time by a Facebook Ad.
This interplay between two marketing methods is not new or unique, but rather a phenomenon that can also be found in other marketing mediums. Picture the customer that visits a shoe store after seeing an ad in a newspaper. Without good customer service he would not buy any shoes, despite the newspaper ad. This does not mean that one wouldn’t advertise in newspapers: without the ad, the customer would never have come to the store. At the same time, customer service cannot be neglected because the visitor would be less likely to buy shoes if the service was lacking.
Similarly, Google often brings the right customer to your website due to its superior targeting abilities, whereas your Facebook Ad is better suited to actually converting someone who visited your site due to its excellent story-telling capacities.
In light of this, we at Dane & Lion have developed something termed the sustainable digital advertising approach. The sustainable digital advertising approach seeks to utilize both platforms while simultaneously building a relationship between the two, using the advantages of one platform to overcome the disadvantages of the other – and vice versa.
The advantages of advertising on Facebook are manifold. First, it is often significantly cheaper to reach a larger audience on Facebook than it is to do so on Google (and many other advertising platforms). Second, Facebook provides a plethora of opportunities to track and optimize the performance of existing ads, offering features such as split testing (comparing two ads up against one another at the same time) to improve results. Third, Facebook is built for story-telling, letting you share everything from videos to slides to descriptive texts to the customer. Fourth and finally, Facebook does not require that somebody has already shown an interest in your product. You choose who to show your advertisements to, therefore making it possible to, among other things, advertise new and innovative products that are yet to have searches on Google and even to market up-and-coming brands.
The latter is, however, at the same time Facebook’s biggest weakness. The very fact that all advertising is based on target groups that you yourself have to come up with, makes it a very risky business and often very expensive. This is especially true because features such as “show my ad to people who like X” have shown to often inaccurately represent customers’ actual interests.
Similarly, Google, which impressively hosts over 90% of all internet searches, is advantageous for a variety of reasons. First, Google Ads are very easy to get up and running and thus require a smaller investment to get started than Facebook. This is largely due to being less technical and requiring less work with target groups as well as less split testing. Second, Google Ads are extraordinarily good at reaching the right customer at the right time, providing minimal risk. This is because you only pay for each person who is interested enough in your product or service to (i) Google a relevant keyword and (ii) click on the ad for your website. Consequently, your target group is very precise and consists primarily of visitors that are especially interested and relevant, something which is especially true if you create honest and informative ads. Further, this also means that your brand will receive a lot of branding cost-free, as several people will search for products similar to yours, see your advertisement in the results, but choose to visit another website.
The disadvantage of Google Ads is that clicks are significantly more expensive than mere impressions on Facebook, thus making it more expensive to reach a larger audience. Further, you have a very limited amount of words and no opportunity to provide story-telling through diverse methods such as videos and slides.
It is time to get creative. Google is exceptional at finding the right customers and building very precise target groups but falls short when it comes to cheap, large scale conversions. Facebook is exceptional at selling to large audiences but falls short when it comes to building precise target groups cheaply. Connect the dots and you are well on the way to building a sustainable advertising strategy that takes advantage of the strength of both platforms while simultaneously curing their innate weaknesses.
By using Google Ads to build an audience that is highly relevant, you have given Facebook all the information it needs to be successful. The large majority of customers do not purchase a product or service the first time they see it online, something that we have talked about in-depth in our article about understanding the customer digital journey. Thus, it is vital that marketers follow up on potential customers that have shown significant interest in order to close the deal. And it is exactly here where marketing becomes sustainable and where the two platforms connect. Once you have the right audience from Google, you can use Facebook to retarget the people who reached your website through a Google Ad (but ended up not purchasing anything) by showing them exactly what they had been looking for.
Further, once you have built a sufficiently large audience of relevant customers from Google Ads, you can even use this segment to target completely new customers on Facebook. Facebook makes it possible to both learn from existing target groups, providing you with suggestions for future audiences, and even offers a function to create new lookalike audiences.
What is more, the benefits of using Google Ads and Facebook Ads collaboratively do not stop there. Research from WordStream has found that advertising on Facebook led to an average 34% increase in subsequent brand searches on Google. By using both Facebook and Google, you ensure that the customer keeps your product on his mind from the beginning to the end, while simultaneously making it possible for him to find what he is looking for at every step of the way.
For generations, marketers have known that content is king. Valuable and informative content, which gain the trust and respect of the audience, inevitably lead to sales. It is also no secret that a key to advertising success is to change the conversation whenever you do not like what is being said. Most importantly, most also recognize that advertising is based on one single thing: happiness.
With the rise of digital marketing, these central marketing concepts are more important than ever before. Practically speaking, it has never been easier for brands to provide consumers with valuable and informative content, just like it has never been easier to change the conversation, to tell stories that invoke strong emotions and ultimately give the consumer a feeling of happiness. At the same time, consumers have grown used to the constant presence of their favorite brands and thus expect unprecedented levels of engagement. To grow your business in this digital world, make your advertising sustainable and persistent. Find your audience on Google and subsequently provide them with a variety of intriguing content and story-telling on Facebook.
A good marketer knows how to use Google Ads and Facebook. An excellent one, knows how to use both in tandem in order to promote content and provide a sense of happiness.