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August 7, 2012

Working On Strengths: Facebook Advertising & Google AdWords

Published: 7 August 2012 

A smart advertising campaign includes both Facebook advertising and Google AdWords.

Facebook: An interesting post was published recently about the positive effect that Facebook ads have beyond clicks. It suggests that they enhance search performance by increasing branded search traffic to a website and in terms of PPC this means a very low cost-per-click. Without a sufficient attribution model in place nobody could say for certain if Facebook actually caused the spike in branded search queries but an assumption could definitely be made. Considering that correlation does not always mean causation this is not usually the best way to invest ad spend. That is not to say that the tactic will not bring in a return but together with other platforms Facebook can be a very effective marketing tool.

Google AdWords: Google AdWords is the biggest online advertising platform in the world and it has come along way since its inception in October 2000. The most recent innovation allows advertisers to target users in US congressional districts. For those who don't know Google AdWords is basically split into two parts:

  • Search: ads are matched with user search queries
  • Display Network: image/text ads are placed on websites across the web as publishers for Google

Conversion rates tend to be higher with Search because the ads aim to match user intent whereas Display ads may be shown for branding purposes. Facebook has the same issue in that people aren't searching for a product or service which is why there are low click-through and conversion rates. The huge benefit of advertising with Facebook is the wealth of information on offer about people's interests, locations, gender, age etc. These demographics are a missing piece of the puzzle for AdWords and although you can exclude demographics, it's nowhere near as effective.

Working on each one of the strengths a strategy can be built which touches on all stages of the purchase funnel. Use market research or business experience to determine who the customer is (or if you are unsure, write several profiles of who you think they might be). Then using the filters available in Facebook drill down into who you want to target, i.e. 20-40 year old males from Scotland who like uni-cycling whilst playing the bagpipes dressed as Darth Vader.

There may not be many results but you could be suprised. Once you have the targeting and ad creative you can make the ads live but make sure each demographic uses diffent ads. Tagging the destination URLs of ads has to be done to make sure that each group can be tracked, you can do that here.


The final stage is remarketing whereby advertisers can target users by installing tracking codes on their website. These attach cookies to a users browser and follows them across the web displaying ads based on which pages of the advertisers website they viewed. Group each demographic into a remarketing group and direct people that clicked a Facebook ad to the corresponding landing page (or use php to serve a different tracking code). That way each target group can be bucketed and shown ads which are more likely to convert into sales. The fact that they originally showed interest means that they will be more qualified users but make sure that an excluded audience list is set up for people that have already converted. It is also worth noting that the maximum time a cookie can be stored for remarketing is 90 days.

And there you go, add this to a branded search campaign and you have an all encompassing PPC strategy.

Ben Maden

Read more posts by Ben

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