04 Nov 2014

Doing PPC? Why Your next $1 Should Be Spent on Facebook Ads

November 04, 2014PPC Advertising

At this point, there’s a good chance that you’re either currently running or have tested advertising on Google Adwords and Bing Ads for your business. This may include search, display, YouTube, remarketing, or various other ad types. Whether you are currently having a lot of success in those networks or you turned them off years ago because the ROI just wasn’t there, testing Facebook Ads should be a priority for your upcoming marketing budget meeting.

Here’s why:

1. Lower Cost

Compared to Google Search, where, depending on your vertical, cost-per-click can run north of $50 Facebook advertising is an absolute bargain. Its’ not entirely fair to compare Facebook to Google search, it is really more comparable to Google’s display network, but even here Facebook wins. Google’s display network delivers an average cost-per-click of $.35 while Facebook is just $.24, a 31% discount.

We also find that while Google’s display network can get considerably more expensive, regardless of your targeting, Facebook tends to be in the $.24 cost-per-click neighborhood. A huge selling point if your business is in a highly competitive market, like education or finance.

2. Your audience is on Facebook

Your trouble won’t be reaching them. Here are the most recent Facebook user stats:

  • 864 million daily active users
  • 35 billion monthly active users as of September 30, 2014

3. Time on site

Not only is your audience on Facebook daily, the average user spends 21 minutes there per day. The average adult user spends 39 minutes a day on Facebook.

Facebook Engagement Graph4. Demographic Targeting

Facebook offers demographic targeting options that have never been available on any other network. Ever.

Facebook has over 150 different demographic targeting options, including unique options like:

  • Income level
  • Political affiliation
  • Renter or Homeowner
  • Age of Children

Facebook Demographics5. Interest Targeting

Similar to the demographic targeting options, Facebook offers over 150 unique interest targeting options as well. These can be used in combination with your demographic targeting options to tighten the lasso around your perfect audience. Here are a few examples:

  • Documentary movies
  • Yoga
  • Vegetarianism
  • Magazines

Facebook Interest Targeting6. Behavioral targeting

Behavioral targeting options can also be combined with both demographic and interest targeting options to zero in on your target audience. Again, these are options that are not available through the Google and Bing networks (yet, at least). Here’s a small sample of these targeting options:

  • People who donate to animal welfare programs
  • People who are in the market for a new BMW
  • Super fans of the New England Patriots
  • People who are currently on vacation

Facebook Behavior Targeting7. Remarketing

Being able to re-engage with visitors once they are familiar with your brand is a powerful concept and the main reason that remarketing is consistently one of the top performing targeting types across all of our clients, regardless of vertical.

Just like on Google’s network, remarketing to your website visitors is a targeting option on Facebook. We find that in most cases Facebook remarketing works better than through Google’s network, as clicks are cheaper and click-through-rates can exceed 5%.

8. Targeting your email list

One of Facebook’s best targeting options is called “custom audience targeting,” which allows you to target your email list via Facebook ads.  If you’re struggling with your email open and click rates, Facebook custom audience targeting is a very inexpensive alternative and you don’t have to worry about open rates.

9. Shareable ads

Facebook ads can be liked, commented on, and shared, which allows your message to be disseminated through a user’s own friend network. Thinking about the idea of 6 degrees of separation, you can see how this can have a viral affect.

Six Degree of Kevin Bacon10. Ad dimensions and placement

Facebook Newsfeed ads are large and take up nearly the entire screen due to placement. This prime real estate in the Facebook newsfeed allows you to really shine with useful creative and engaging, branded imagery that a user would have a difficult time avoiding.

11. Larger ad text character limits

While you are limited on Google and Bing to 95 total characters (Headline: 25; Description Lines: 35 each), Facebook Newsfeed ads provide you with up to 315 text characters, in addition to the image. You’ll get:

  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Text: 90 characters
  • News Feed Link Description: 200 characters

Facebook Ad Puppy Example12. A call-to-action button

Your ads have a built in call-to-action button (not required, but totally required if you want a high click-through-rate)

News Feed Ad Button13. Facebook Offers

This ad type allows local businesses with storefronts, the opportunity to show an ad to local consumers that can be redeemed offline. Tracking online-to-offline marketing efforts can be a tricky endeavor, but for the smart marketer Offers may be a great solution.

  1. Audience Insights

Audience insights provide you with extremely demographic and behavioral audience data about people who like your Facebook page. This data can be useful for much more than just Facebook ad targeting.

Facebook Audience Insights

These insights can be used to help improve offline marketing efforts, sales, and other digital advertising channels. The more you know about your audience, they more likely you will be to succeed.

14. Targeting your competitors’ Facebook followers

Similar to bidding on your competitor’s brand name in Google search, you can show ads to Facebook users who have liked your competitors’ Facebook pages.

With appropriate messaging, this can be a great way to earn market share by reaching a relevant audience. This type of targeting on Google is typically very expensive due to low quality scores, but is much less expensive on Facebook.

15. Shutterstock image access

One of, if not my favorite Facebook feature. As a Facebook advertiser, you have access to Shutterstock’s entire library of images for your ad creation purposes.

FB Image Selection

This is an unbelievable collection of images that can be selected for testing 6 at a time, to make the ad testing process as streamlined as possible.

As an advertising platform, Facebook is no longer a network that you can overlook. ROI from the network is too good to ignore and, just like Google search 10 years ago, you can be sure that traffic will never be cheaper than it is today.

Getting started is easy.

Beginner's Guide to Content Promotion

8 Comments

  • Sam Carr Nov 04, 2014

    Great post, Zach. Do you think it’s better than Twitter advertising, though? Or does it depend on your target audience?

  • Matt Fielding Nov 04, 2014

    Hi Zach, you make a great case here. One thing I’d like your opinion on is an argument that I’ve heard a few times when suggesting using Facebook Ads.

    The argument is that people searching on AdWords are actively looking to buy, so the chances of your ads converting is higher than using Facebook Ads, because Facebook’s audience is using the site for other reasons.

    Do you agree that it’s much more difficult to persuade Facebook users to click your ads and buy your products than Google users, and if so is it because they’re simply on Facebook for a social media experience, not a shopping one?

  • Donald Bevan Nov 04, 2014

    I have never been a fan of advertising on Facebook but I have to honest, after reading this article I have changed my mind. I think I will start really soon to open my first campaign on Facebook, I never believe it was so cheaper to start to target the right audience using this social media.

  • Zach Etten Nov 04, 2014

    Thanks, Sam. Good question and I think in a lot of ways, you answered it. I will say that among the social media ad networks, we have found the most consistent success, across the largest array of business types, goals, and verticals, on Facebook. Of course, the best way to know for sure is to test. Hopefully both can generate a positive ROI and become great advertising channels for you!

  • Zach Etten Nov 04, 2014

    Hi Matt, thanks for the comment. I think you’re absolutely right that Adwords allows you to target consumers while they are at the end of the funnel, in a buying mode, and that those consumers will likely drive a higher conversion rate on your website. For example, take the keyword “buy red widgets.” On a scale of 1-10, this searcher is likely at a 9 or 10 in the purchase funnel and highly likely to convert. As a result, competition is likely high and an ad click may cost $2.50. If they convert at 10%, your cost-per-sale would be $25.

    If we were to target this same individual on Facebook, where they are not in a buying mode or actively shopping, they are likely lower in the purchase funnel, say a 4/10 and only convert on your site at 1%, making them 90% less likely to convert. The difference is that on Facebook, that click only cost you $.25, giving you the same $25 cost-per-sale.

    Ultimately, Facebook Ads will work better for some businesses than others but I do think that, at a bare minimum, Facebook Custom Audience targeting (remarketing, email list) can be successful for everyone.

  • Zach Etten Nov 04, 2014

    Thanks, Donald. Best of luck!

  • Justin MacDonald Nov 07, 2014

    Great Post Zach!

    I really appreciate the post, because I have always believed Facebook to be such a powerful weapon in terms of advertising. It is easily the best social network to advertise on and these 15 points really solidify in my mind why it easily competes with Google for the best advertising platform.

  • Bandar Taruhan Bola Nov 09, 2014

    Thanks a lot zach

    Maybe i will try it later..
    i believed Facebook to be such a powerful weapon in terms of advertising..