PPC Audiences: Who Is The Audience?

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the importance of audiences in PPC. More than ever, audiences are becoming one of the main way we reach potential customers in PPC – as important as keywords. But who is the audience, exactly?

Audiences, Broadly Speaking

Broadly, your audience is whoever is buying your product. Large B2C retailers like Amazon probably don’t spend much time defining their audience – it’s anyone with a credit card, really.

But for most advertisers, it’s important to drill down a little deeper than that. For many consumer products, the audience is obvious. People buying diapers tend to be parents of babies. People buying guns tend to be male. There are always exceptions, but you can hit 80-90% of your audience by doing some simple targeting.

B2B Audiences Are Challenging

In B2B, audience targeting is a little more challenging. There are multiple stakeholders involved – product users, executive decision-makers, administrative assistants, purchasing departments, and more. How do you figure out who to target?

Verticals Dictate Audiences

In some ways, the audience depends on the vertical. If you’re selling software, the first person to target is the end user. Even if that person doesn’t make the final purchase decision, they’re going to be the one asking for the software. For example, I’d been looking for a solution to help with ad testing for years. When AdAlysis came out, I immediately started begging my boss to buy it. I was relentless – and it paid off. But I didn’t write the check – my boss did. If I were advertising for AdAlysis, I’d go after the PPC practitioners, not the vice presidents of search who likely aren’t actively managing campaigns.

For other verticals, targeting C-level executives makes sense. Let’s say you’re a medical equipment provider who’s developed a new piece of equipment that saves time and makes a more accurate diagnosis.  You could target the end users, but it may make sense to target the hospital CFO or the finance director, who’s looking for ways to make the hospital more efficient. End users may not be aware of the product, and may be happy with the way they’re currently doing things, but if you can convince the CFO, you’re likely to make a sale.

Business Size Does, Too

Business size plays a role, too. The larger the company you’re targeting, the harder it is to get through to C-level folks – they’re inundated with marketing messages already. You may be better off reaching their executive assistant, or going lower down the ladder to mid-level managers.

Understand that when you’re trying to reach large companies, you’ll have to get creative with your audience, and with your messaging as well, to break through the clutter.

And if you’re targeting small businesses, understand that employees wear many hats. The CFO is probably the entire accounting department. The web developer is probably the graphic designer, and maybe the software/tech person too. The owner may be the CMO, CFO, and CEO all at once. These are busy people, so if you can come to them with solutions to make their lives easier, you’ll get through the door more easily.

Personas Help

If you’re working with larger advertisers, they’ll often have a detailed understanding of their prospects, and may have personas. A persona is a representation of your audience segment. (BTW – this link has a great how-to on creating personas).

Here’s an example of a persona that gyro created:


Personas help define not only who your target audience is, but how to reach them. Ideas for paid social targeting practically jump off the page – age, education, gender, and other characteristics are listed right there. Pain points that could be used for search keywords or ad copy are also there: patient care quality, accountable care, etc. Personas give you a great start in identifying your audience.

Determining who is in the audience is the first step to successful audience targeting. What are some ways you define your audience? Share in the comments!

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3 PPC Features That Aren’t Ready For Prime Time – 2017 Edition

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I wrote about 3 PPC features that weren’t ready for prime time – the new (at that time) Adwords Editor, Bing Ads UET, and LinkedIn Ads.

The first two features have come a long way in 2 years. The issues I talked about with Adwords Editor stopped soon after, and I finally got used to it, even though I liked the old Editor better. I’ve gotten used to its quirks, though, and now that the Bing Ads Editor has followed the same format, it’s become my everyday workflow.

The developers and UI engineers at Bing Ads have gone to great lengths to make UET easier to use. The setup is much more intuitive than it was 2 years ago. It’s as easy to use as Google Analytics.

As for LinkedIn Ads? Keep reading. Here are 3 PPC features that aren’t ready for prime time, the 2017 edition.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn Ads should be a no-brainer for B2B advertisers. In fact, it’s the paid social channel that our clients think of first – everyone wants to advertise in LinkedIn.

The problem is, their UI is horrible. Their reporting is horrible. Their CPCs are astronomical compared to other channels like Facebook – and Facebook’s B2B targeting now rivals LinkedIn’s.

I complained about LinkedIn in 2013 and again in 2015. Here it is 2017, and I’m still complaining about them. I had hoped that when Microsoft bought them, things would improve. That’s still possible – the details of the purchase are still being worked through legal. But right now, it’s a mess to use – and has been for 4 years at least.

Twitter Ads

I used to like Twitter Ads. We’ve used them effectively for several clients over the years. But they haven’t kept pace with the times. The ads interface, even the new one, is clunky to use. Reporting is horrible – as bad as LinkedIn’s. Targeting on Twitter Ads is awful. Unless you know the exact Twitter handles you want to target, you’re basically shooting in the dark. Keyword targeting is a joke. There isn’t any real B2B targeting. Behavior targeting is totally B2C focused, and even then is missing key categories.

Check out the business types available:


A whopping 2 types! Are they kidding?

And what about job titles?

If you’re not targeting executives or the C-suite, forget it. And these poor people are bombarded with ad messages as it is.

There is so much potential here, but the limited targeting and broad reach just doesn’t work for most advertisers. On top of that, their conversion tracking tags don’t seem to work – or at least we can never get them to work. You’re relegated to tracking in GA, or not at all.

Bing Ads Remarketing

Sorry, Bing Ads – I love you guys, I really do, but the remarketing program leaves a lot to be desired. At this point, only RLSA is available in Bing – retargeting visitors as they perform searches. RLSA is a high-performing, but very low volume, tactic. With Bing’s smaller audience to begin with, compared to Google, it’s hard to move the needle with RLSA on Bing for all but the largest advertisers.

Also, up until a week ago, Bing Ads didn’t offer exclusions for remarketing. Sorry guys – that’s a huge miss. Just a couple weeks ago, I wrote about how not to do remarketing, and one of the no-no’s was failing to exclude those who already converted. Up until a week ago, this wasn’t possible with Bing remarketing.

As I was thinking about the 2017 culprits, I realized that, in general, the search engines have gotten much better about making sure features work well before releasing them. I struggled to think of the last time an engine released a feature that was a nightmare to use. Sure, there have been boneheaded releases like automatically including phone numbers in ads, whether you want them or not, but this is an opt-out-or-you’re-stuck-with-it thing, not a feature we’re trying to actively use. So either the engines have made it easier on us, or we’re all getting more skilled. Probably a little bit of both.

What PPC features have you noticed that aren’t ready for prime time? Do you agree with my list? Share in the comments!

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PPC Remarketing: What Not To Do, 2017 Edition

More than two years ago, I wrote a post on PPC Remarketing: What Not To Do. It was one of the most-commented posts on this blog, with differing opinions on what makes sense.

Two years later, advertisers are still doing remarketing wrong. Now, I get that it’s still a somewhat new-ish concept, and not everyone is doing advanced remarketing yet. And that’s ok – we all have to start somewhere. But when I see basic mistakes being made by large companies, it makes me cringe.

Here’s the example I saw today that prompted this:

This was at the very top of the page, above a news article I was reading. The good news? It’s a huge banner – you can’t miss it. How did I know it was a remarketing ad?

Because I’ve already booked a stay here.

Next week, I’m speaking at a client convention in Los Angeles. I booked my hotel over a month ago. Earlier this week, I dug out the reservation confirmation email, and clicked through a link to prepare for my stay. And now I’m being bombarded by ads asking me to book this hotel in LA! How many stays do they think I’m going to be booking?

Clearly, this is how not to do PPC remarketing. Don’t target people who clicked through a reservation confirmation email and ask them to book!

Of course, as I’m known to do, I posted a comment on #ppcchat. I loved the responses I got:

I agree with Julie – I’d love to see the stats on how many remarketing ads just run without any parameters or audiences. I can see serving ads for a perk, as Julie suggests, such as a rewards signup. Or a dining offer at one of the hotel restaurants. Or 25% off a massage in the spa. Or whatever – the point is, remarketing would be highly effective to the already-converted audience as an upsell. It’s not at all effective to ask those who’ve already booked a room to book a room.

It’s so simple to set up an exclusion for people who converted. As mentioned earlier, the hotel could set up a PPC remarketing audience of users who visited the site from a confirmation email referral. Failing that, they could exclude everyone who viewed the reservation confirmation page.

There are exceptions, though, as Steve Seeley pointed out:

Fair enough – and I agree, some agencies and/or advertisers don’t link their AdWords and Google Analytics accounts. I get that there are reasons why this happens. But if you can’t do remarketing correctly, you shouldn’t be doing it!

We then got into interesting use cases for PPC:

I’ve seen similar situations to the one Jason describes: getting remarketed with ads for a product I just bought. Again, it’s not hard, as Richard Fergie suggests, to drop a long cookie and delay showing ads until you’re likely to be ready to repurchase. Tires do wear out, as do clothes and shoes; food gets consumed; etc. Learn your buying cycle or buyer journey and show ads at the appropriate time. Yes, it takes some research and some time to set up, but this is really what remarketing is designed for – not harassing people with irrelevant ads, but showing them ads that are useful.

I love the conversations we have on #ppcchat. I always learn something and get great ideas. Just as I was smiling from all the cool interaction, I got this:

Sigh.

Have you seen any what-not-to-do remarketing ads lately? Got any tips for the right way to do PPC remarketing? Share in the comments!

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As We Go Along

This post isn’t about search. It’s about me.

Six months ago, just before I left for SMX Advanced, I was diagnosed with bronchitis. No big deal – I’ve had it countless times throughout my life. I’ve dealt with asthma for 20 years. I’ve had a nagging cough for at least 5 years. I was a little tired before I left for Seattle, but I picked up my prescription for antibiotics and went on my way.

By the time I left Seattle, I felt awful. Those of you with whom I had dinner the last night of the show may have noticed that I was exhausted, and I wore my jacket throughout the dinner because I was so cold.

When I got home, I went to the doctor, who said I had pneumonia. Long story short, I spent most of July sick. After countless tests, CT scans, and x-rays, I was diagnosed with bronchiectasis.

Needless to say, it was pretty sobering. “Can’t be cured.”

After trying multiple therapies, I now have a percussive vest to help clear my lungs – yes, the same thing they use for cystic fibrosis patients, and the old people in the photos on that website. I’ve got a super heavy medical device that I have to use for 30 minutes, twice a day. I’m halfway through my morning session right now, shaking as I type this.

But this post isn’t a pity party. It’s to say how thankful I am for the blessings in my life. My husband and children, and my extended family, who have all been super supportive. My job, in which I’m blessed to work from home, where I didn’t have to take more than a half day off work during my worst days, because I could sit at my desk at home and rest when I needed to. This industry, which keeps me inspired and engaged, even on days when I’m too tired to do anything but work.

I can still walk and go to the gym. My half marathon days are behind me, but I can still do 5Ks, if at a slower pace than before. I can still play the clarinet and saxophone – in fact, my doctors believe that playing a wind instrument has saved me from being much sicker, due to the expanded lung capacity and the vibrating of the instrument while I play, which mimics the vest and other therapies. I can still travel to conferences, although I may sometimes decline the evening networking to save my energy.

And this came at a good time in my life. I’m established in my career. This would have been a lot harder if I were new to my job. My kids are in their second year of college, living on campus, so I’m not running after little ones, which gives me more time to rest. And I already know how to play the clarinet. 🙂

I’m grateful for my friends in this industry, who have cheered me on and commiserated with me over the years. I love that although we’re spread out all over the world, we’re just a tweet away and can chat with one another about PPC challenges.

So if I miss a week of blogging here and there, now you know why. I’ll leave you with a favorite song by the Monkees, As We Go Along. There’s still so much to do in the sunlight.

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Google’s Going After Call Tracking

This week, Google made two important announcements that impact marketers who are trying to track calls from search, and/or control where the calls go.

The first change impacts those using location extensions. Effective January 19 – yes, in 2 weeks – Google “may” show the local phone number in your ad, instead of your desired number.

For many businesses, this is probably ok. For example, if I want to know the business hours for my local Best Buy, it makes sense to call that store, rather than a central number. But for many other businesses, this is a disaster. Local insurance companies, security offices, financial planners, and the like often prefer callers to dial a centralized call center, where representatives are prepared to handle the calls as leads. Local offices are often not set up to handle the volume and type of callers they receive from search ads.

Not to mention the fact that businesses may want to track phone calls through a central number. If calls start going to the local offices, they’ve lost control of tracking. We have more than one client who will be opting out of this, simply because they want granular call tracking.

The second change affects anyone using call extensions. Starting February 6 – yes, in less than a month – Google is going to automatically add mobile call extensions to advertisers who “prominently feature a phone number” on their landing pages.

Again, it’s possible to opt out of this. And again, for many advertisers, this is a nightmare. Let’s say you’re a retailer who only takes calls from 8am to 8pm, but can take online orders any time. Instead of deciding yourself whether or not to use mobile call extensions, and scheduling them to meet your needs, Google is going to just go ahead and show the phone number, no matter what. Yes, you can opt out, but how many businesses aren’t going to know or understand how to do that? I’m hearing on Twitter that not everyone received the email Google sent out (although we did receive it for all our applicable clients). And some less-sophisticated advertisers aren’t going to understand it anyway.

My first thought was that this is a disaster for those using dynamic call tracking on their landing pages. It seems to have the potential to totally screw up dynamic tracking. Thankfully, according to the Search Engine Land article, Google will be able to detect landing pages using dynamic call tracking, and will not generate the automatic call extensions for these ads. I’ll believe this when I see it, but for now it’s reassuring.

Here’s the crux of the whole thing, though. Google has a history of going after third-party providers. They went after bid management companies with automated bidding. They went after reporting companies with their new reporting features. And now they’re going after call tracking providers with this latest announcement.

Is this a bad thing? Well, I haven’t seen any third party bid management, reporting, or call tracking companies going belly up yet, at least not any of the major ones. But it’s still early. We all know what happened to third party web analytics when Google bought Urchin way back when and turned it into Google Analytics. Plenty of analytics providers went belly up – it just took a couple years.

I’m confident that third parties are here to stay when it comes to bid management, reporting, and call tracking. For one thing, third parties can report on data beyond Google AdWords. And they’re easier to work with than Google. But it’s kind of annoying to have to opt out of these “features” and “enhancements” all the time.

What do you think? Is Google trying to rule the world and run out third party providers? Or are the features good for most advertisers? Share in the comments!

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The Importance of Audiences In PPC

Happy New Year to all my readers! Every year I do a reader poll to see what you want me to write about. This year, the topic with the most votes was audiences in PPC.

It seems like everyone is talking about audiences. In the annual “what’s next for search in 2017” posts, every single one included multiple mentions of audiences and their importance to PPC.

Take this quote from Brad Geddes in the adStage blog:

And this, from Marc Poirier on Search Engine Journal:

These and other predictions posts are worth a read – there’s great content beyond that of audiences. But the point is, audiences are here to stay, and they’re big.

Julie Friedman Bacchini wrote a great post earlier this week about the demise of keywords. While I don’t think keywords are going away any time soon, we are in for a different reality when it comes to search.

For one thing, social PPC is here to stay, and audience targeting is the focal point. It’s true that you can use keywords to target social ads, but keyword targeting alone is insufficient for social PPC success. You must layer audiences onto the mix.

Remarketing is here to stay too, and it’s a great example of using audiences in PPC. In fact, remarketing lists for search ads (RLSA) is a match made in heaven of search intent and audience targeting combined.

Why are audiences so important in PPC? After all, in the early days, we didn’t think about audiences at all.

Audiences bring us back to the basics of marketing. Eons ago, in business school, I learned about the 4 P’s of marketing: people, place, price, and promotion. In search, the “people” piece was historically the least thought-about aspect. Do we really care who’s searching, as long as they click and convert?

Turns out, we do need to care. Search has evolved over the years: it’s become much more competitive and expensive, for one thing. Advertisers who were happy to pay for lots of non-converting traffic at $0.05 per click are probably not real happy about that traffic at $5 per click. Search had to evolve in order for advertisers to maintain profit. And that’s where audiences come in.

Over the next weeks and months, I’ll be writing more about audiences in PPC and the various ways they can be used to take your campaigns to the next level. I’ll talk about audiences in search, in paid social, and in remarketing. I’m hoping to get a few guest bloggers on board to offer their views on audiences in PPC. And of course, as always, I want to hear from you! Have audiences become super important for you in your PPC efforts, or are you just dipping your toes in? Share in the comments!

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2016 Reader Poll

I can’t believe it’s already that time again – time for the 4th annual Beyond the Paid reader poll! I love hearing from my readers – in blog comments, on Twitter, and in person – and the annual reader poll is always interesting. Let me know what you’d like me to write about next year!

While you’re at it, let me know what 2016 post was your favorite. That helps me know what kind of posts to write in the future.

 

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Where Bing Ads Are Beating Google

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post called Where Facebook Ads Are Beating Google. The key area where Facebook is beating Google is in goal identification, right at the start of campaign setup. Bing Ads are beating Google in this way, as well, with their new campaign setup flow:
bing-goal-identification
Like Facebook, Bing is asking advertisers to state their goal right out of the gate. Advertisers are forced to think, before inputting any other information, about what their goal is and their reason for using Bing Ads.

Savvy search engines have finally caught on to what matters, and it isn’t their bottom line. Sure, their bottom line is important – but only if they have advertisers using them. Google may not care, since they’re the big dog on the block right now – but their reign may not last forever. Look at Yahoo. 15 years ago, Yahoo was the most-visited site on the web. They had Overture placing ads in their SERPs. Overture existed before Google Adwords, and was the big dog for a short time.

Not that either Bing or Facebook is going to overtake Google any time soon. But Bing Ads, and Bing/Microsoft, are beating Google in other ways.

Better results.

I’ve long said that results on Bing Ads are better than Google. While not true for every client, in general Bing outperforms Google, both in higher conversion rates and lower CPCs. At Bing Ads Next last week, Rik van der Kooi, Microsoft’s global head of search advertising, said that Bing’s users are better-educated and have higher household incomes than Google’s. And Bing’s market share is at 30% – and has been steadily growing since the launch of the Bing search engine in 2009. Bing can no longer be ignored, at least by advertisers who want to succeed.

Case in point: We landed a new client earlier this year who had been using Google exclusively. We finally convinced them to test Bing, as well. Cost per conversion on Bing was ¼ that of Google. The client was pleasantly shocked. Again, this doesn’t happen for every advertiser, but it didn’t take long to prove to this client that Bing was worth investing in.

Better human interest content on Bing.

We just had a Presidential election here in the US. (No political comments, please!) I enjoyed following the various races on Bing Predicts, which offered projections on all the offices up for grabs. While Bing got the presidential prediction wrong (just like everyone else), the interface was smooth and interesting.

Bing also covers major sports and events such as the Academy Awards, with much more engaging content than Google. Take a look at NFL predictions from Bing:

bing-nfl

Engaging, visual content; game times and predictions by week, and more. I can see at a glance that the Detroit Lions have a 75% chance to beat Jacksonville this week. (Yes, 2016 has gone upside down – the Cubs won the World Series, the Spartans are 3-7, and the Lions are in first place in the NFC Central division. What’s next?!?)

Now take a look at Google:

google-nfl

Ho hum. 10 blue links plus one photo of the Packers. What if you hate the Packers? You’re out of luck. Bing clearly wins with this type of content.

Virtual and mixed reality.

Now I’m not an early adopter of stuff like this. I can barely play Xbox – I leave that to my kids. But I do find virtual reality to be fascinating – and it’s definitely going to impact search in some way.

Microsoft’s Hololens is a fully self-contained computer. You don’t need to connect to your phone or PC, and there are no cables or tethers. Imagine the possibilities of a totally wireless, autonomous mixed reality device.

Now look at Google’s Daydream VR. Everyone was excited about it when it was announced a few weeks ago, but alas:

google-daydream

It only works with the Pixel. I only know one person so far who has a Pixel. Not that that won’t change – it’s a super cool phone – but really? You can’t connect this thing to any other phones or to your computer? Who’s going to buy it?

Certainly, things may change for the Daydream, but Microsoft had the forethought to design their product without such tethers, both physical and wireless, from the start.

Better browser.

All you Chrome lovers, listen up: Microsoft Edge is faster and safer than Chrome, and it uses less battery. 32% less, to be exact. And it blocks malware – something I could have used recently, as I got a virus from something on Firefox.

IE was the whipping boy of browsers – it was slow, didn’t offer extensions or features, and felt old-school. Edge is none of those things. It’s better than Chrome – beating Google yet again.

So should you abandon your Adwords campaigns in favor of Bing Ads? Beating Google is cool, but Bing Ads isn’t there yet. But ignore them at your peril.

What do you think? Is Google vulnerable here? Or will they get a clue and catch back up? Share in the comments!

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Google Still Hates B2B Advertisers

Yesterday, Google launched a new website for Adwords advertisers to help them achieve their marketing goals. “Finally,” I thought, “an answer to my pleas!” Just last week, I showed where Facebook ads are beating Google – in helping advertisers achieve their objectives. I called Google to task for focusing more on the money.

Hey, maybe they listened to me.

But as I dug deeper, my disappointment grew. There is zero content on Google’s marketing goals site covering B2B advertising.

I know Google hates B2B advertisers – I wrote about that last year. But I was hoping for one measly section on lead generation or something B2B-ish. No such luck.

I’m not the only one who’s disappointed.

tweets-1

How hard would it have been to include a lead generation section? It can’t be that Google doesn’t have something to offer – plenty of advertisers are successfully investing significant funds into lead generation ads.

tweets-2

Couldn’t agree more with Julie here – I get that sales cycles for B2b are long, and quick case studies are hard to come by. And many B2B advertisers don’t want to do case studies because they don’t want to share their “trade secrets” with competitors. But we’ve had plenty of clients who were willing to share case studies publicly. If we can find a couple willing clients, surely Google could. It seems to me like they’re not trying. Kirk Williams seems to agree with me:

tweets-3

Could Google really be that lazy and short-sighted? And if so, does it open the door for someone else to sweep in and help B2B advertisers out?

tweets-4

This is a huge opportunity for Bing to create content showing why Bing Ads is great for B2B advertisers. Like Meg said, many B2B advertisers get more bang for their buck from Bing. For one of our clients, cost per conversion on Bing is 1/4 that of Google for the same set of keywords. It’s a home run.

In the end, does it matter that Google hates B2B advertisers?

tweets-5

I see Brian’s point – giving everyone the same options leads to commoditization and same-ness in a game where it pays to be different. I still take pride in the fact that I was able to beat Amazon when I was doing in-house PPC back in the early days. Amazon was running cookie-cutter ads, even worse than the ones they run now, and we ate their lunch in our category by being different.

The problem, though, goes back to what Julie Bacchini said: Google’s leaving B2B out of the mix gives advertisers the idea that PPC won’t work for them. Just this week, I dealt with client questions around this very topic. I had pulled some information from Think with Google that was as close as I could get to B2B. The client said, “Isn’t there anything closer to our business?” I had to say no – and it caused them to question why they were doing PPC anyway, even though their PPC program is crushing every other marketing effort in terms of efficiency and lead generation.

C’mon Google – help us out here! At least pretend you have a few B2B advertisers.

What do you think? Does this latest move show that Google still hates B2B advertisers? Or is it a non-issue? Share in the comments!

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Where Facebook Ads Are Beating Google

Now and then, we see talk in the blogosphere about Facebook Ads being the next best thing in online advertising. For years, I viewed that sentiment with skepticism. How could a social network, with no search or intent, ever perform better than Google?

Well, Facebook recently launched a Shop function. And while it hasn’t taken off in a big way yet, it could. Just think about all the data Facebook has that Google doesn’t.

Here’s the kicker, though. As I was setting up a new Facebook Ads campaign this week, it hit me. Facebook makes advertising easy by focusing on advertiser goals: what do you want to accomplish?

facebook ads objectives
Just look at this. Not only are the goals stated in plain English (reach people near your business, collect leads for your business, increase conversions on your website, etc.), but Facebook has grouped the objectives along the buyer journey.

Think about that for a second.

Nearly every advertiser we work with understands at least a little about how users go about deciding to buy from them. Whether their product is an impulse buy or a long-term consideration deal, the advertiser knows where they fall.

And most of the time, the advertiser knows what they want to do, even if it’s in basic terms: “We need to increase sales.” “No one knows about us, so we need to create awareness.” “We want people to attend our event later this month.” Simple.

Not only does Facebook make it easy to choose your objective, they tailor the campaign setup experience to your objective. Different objectives have different ad options. While this may seem confusing or complex to those of us used to setting up Adwords campaigns, for a novice advertiser it’s much more intuitive. There are fewer levers to pull, but also fewer choices to try to understand.

Facebook also optimizes campaigns for your objectives. More often than not these days, I just set my Facebook Ads campaigns to optimize for my objective. Why bother dealing with bid management when you don’t need to? We get great CPCs and reach on Facebook even when we use auto-optimize.

Why is that? Well for one thing, Facebook has frequency – something Google Search doesn’t have. People don’t always search for the same thing over and over, but on Facebook, you can see the same ad multiple times, making it harder to forget. And Facebook knows who we are – which can be a huge hurdle for search, where you have the intent portion, but no idea whether the person searching falls into your target audience.

Let’s contrast the Facebook experience with Adwords. Here’s the first page in Adwords signup:

adwords-signup-1
Yikes, an email opt-in. Not the best start. Before I even know whether I want to do this or not, Google is asking for my email address. Facebook already has it, since you need an email address to sign up. It’s the same thing, but feels different to the user.

And then there’s Adwords Step 2:

adwords-signup-2

Hoo boy. Complicated language about a campaign (what’s that??), a budget (whoa), “choose a target audience,” which doesn’t look like a target audience from the mindset of a novice advertiser, and “set your bid.”

Think about this for a second. Two of the three steps have to do with money – before I even see what I’m getting or who I’m reaching, I have to tell Google how much I’m willing to spend each day and for every click – and “Adwords automatically sets your bids to help you get as many clicks as possible within your budget.” And I pay for every one of those clicks!

Can you see the difference here? Facebook focuses on the experience – they don’t ask for a budget until everything is set up, and if you choose to let them optimize, you never see a bid at all. Instead, Facebook thinks about campaigns the way advertisers do – by objective and audience.

Looking at it another way, let’s say I’m talking to a new prospect who is thinking about doing online advertising. Do I go in and immediately ask them to opt in to our agency emails, and then immediately ask them what their budget is? Or do I ask them what their goals and objectives are, and talk about their target audience? Which of these approaches is going to win me the sale?

Exactly.

Now of course I love Adwords. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for them. And Adwords campaigns are some of the most effective around. We have countless options: text, image, video ads; remarketing, Google Display… the list goes on. In the hands of an experienced professional, Adwords is a beautiful thing indeed.

But to the advertiser, it’s confusing. How many hours do we all spend each week just trying to explain Adwords to clients? Yet everyone understands Facebook, because they use it every day; and because it makes marketing sense to them.

And who knows? We may see Facebook overtake Google at some point.

What do you think? Is Facebook’s approach more logical than Google’s? Will Facebook Ads continue to grow in importance, or will Google remain king? Share in the comments!

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