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An Online Advertising Insider’s Guide: We Spent $5 Million On Facebook And Google Ads So You Don’t Have To

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Where should you place your ad spend dollars for the biggest ROI?

It’s the million dollar question keeping you up at night. And while the internet’s deluged in information, finding a simple answer based on experiential data can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack.

In the contest between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, everybody’s got an opinion. But that doesn’t mean everyone has real-world experience…as in $5 million worth of experience.

But we’ve done the fancy footwork for you. We’ve put millions into online advertising so you don’t have to. And here’s what we’ve learned. Take a look below!

Google Ads Versus Facebook Ads

If we were chatting on the phone right now, I would ask you what kind of business you own, and what your marketing goals are for the future. I’d ask you tons of questions about your audience and the buying process.

Then, and only then, could I tell you whether Google Ads or Facebook Ads is better for you. You see, both have their merits. And they’re a bit like comparing apples and oranges.

But since we don’t currently have the advantage of a one-on-one conversation going, here’s a rundown of what each channel can do for your business.

Google Ads or “Paid Search”

Many marketers refer to Google Ads as “paid search” and with good reason. These ads work beautifully for reaching out to intent-based customers. In other words, people actively searching for products and services like yours.

Sure, they may not know your brand yet. But they do know what they want, whether that be “crew socks that don’t sag” or “artificial sweeteners without a bitter aftertaste.” And that’s exactly what they type into Google.

Do you want to attract the attention of prospects “googling” for a solution to their problems or products they want to purchase online? Google Ads represents your dream marketing resource.

An Intent-Based Audience

Google Adwords leads prospects to your site based on long tail keywords. These people have specific needs and they’re looking to make a purchase. They sit poised at a late point in the buyer’s journey.

Because your audience searches with the intent to make a purchase, you don’t have to do a lot of educating before they feel ready to click the purchase button. Instead, once you get their attention, send them straight to a sales page.

Google AdWords also proves a flexible and measurable marketing platform that will help you beat your competitors. And, unlike SEO, which takes months to get rolling, you get a quick turnaround.

A Google AdWords Caveat

There’s an important caveat to all of this, though. One that we learned during our experience spending millions of dollars on online business ads. Google’s AdWords tool encourages users to choose very broad keywords.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into this trap. Why? Because it will move you away from your intent-based audience.

Remember, you don’t need to appeal to a wide swathe of the population based on shared interests. Instead, you need to find prospects who want services or products like yours.

Fortunately, you can avoid falling into the “too general” category by avoiding “head” keywords. “Head” keywords refer to short, general keywords such as “crew socks” or “artificial sweeteners.”

Yes, they get loads of traffic, but that also translates into STIFF competition. Instead of going with these highest-traffic, high-competition “head” keywords, stay specific.

Stick with long tail keywords. Yes, each one receives less traffic, but here’s the golden rule that we learned during our million dollar marketing experiment.

You’ll see a much higher ROI by targeting a large number of lower-traffic terms than going after a few “head” keywords.

Facebook Ads or “Paid Social”

Facebook Ads get referred to as paid social and you need to be in the “social mindset” when creating them. What does this mean?

It means remembering that your audience proves anything but intent-based. They don’t log into Facebook to look for a solution to a problem or a product or service they’d like to purchase. They come to connect with family and friends.

So, creating an ad that contains search terms and a link to a sales page simply won’t cut it. While the message “Buy crew socks that won’t sag now” might work on Google Ads, it will tank on Facebook Ads.

Exposure to a Wider Audience

Instead, think about creating ads that bring brand awareness to a huge audience with interests related to the products or services that you sell.

Instead of enticing them into clicking on a link back to your sales page, you’ve got a lot more content marketing to do. You’ll need to send them to a landing page that contains a blog post or webinar that’ll educate them about your offerings.

Only after you’ve educated prospects about your brand and products should you consider sending them to a sales page.

Online Advertising & Your Business

Google and Facebook both reach billions of users every single day. Heck, “googling” has turned into vernacular for searching online. Both prove potent platforms, but they provide different results.

Instead of asking which platform is better, take a hard look at your business and your current goals.

Only then, will you be in the position to ask the far more important question: which online advertising platform is right for your business?

Appeal to Your Audience

If you want to tap into Google’s massive search traffic, and you want to connect with intent-based leads, then Google Ads remains the best platform for these goals. But keep your ads narrowly focused on your prospects’ actual searches.

On the other hand, if you want to raise brand awareness and lead more people back to your landing pages, stick with Facebook Ads. You’ll catch prospects earlier in the buyer’s journey.

So, don’t forget to educate them about your fab products before going for the sale.

Our Biggest Lessons

What were the biggest lessons we learned during the $5 million marketing experiment with Google advertising and advertising on Facebook?

When it comes to Google Ads, target a large number of lower-traffic terms rather than going after a few “head” keywords.

When it comes to Facebook Ads, think social. Create engaging ads that make prospects want to learn more instead of relying on a hard-sell message.

Finally, you’ll end up needing both platforms for different reasons. Instead of asking which platform works best, devote time to learning how each one works. Then, use their unique strengths to skyrocket your ROI.

We’re Here to Help

Interested in learning more about the best online advertising strategies for your enterprise? We’re here to help.

Contact us today to discuss your goals and how these platforms can help you earn more leads, conversions, and ROI.