A Few Alternatives to Google Ads You May Not Have Tried...
Entering into the world of 'Pay Per Click' (PPC) can be daunting and confusing. There are terms like keyword bids, CPM, CPC, CTR and conversion tracking which can leave the average business owner scratching their heads. PPC advertising can be a great way to get new leads and drive traffic to your website. It can also be extremely costly and frustrating if you don't know how to play the PPC game.
Let's briefly about what PPC is and a few terms you should be familiar with. Pay Per Click is a form of advertising where advertisers pay the PPC service when their ad is clicked. Hosting services that are search engines usually make advertisers bid on keywords or phrases. For example, if your business is floral shop, you may want to bid on the keyword 'roses'. The higher the bid, the higher your ad will be ranked on their page. Some other sites charge a fixed rate rather than making advertisers enter into the bidding process.
The cost per one-thousand impressions (CPM) is what advertisers pay per 1,000 impressions of the ad. The 'cost per click', or CPC, is what an advertiser will be charged for a single click on their ad. Usually clicking on the ad will result in being directed to the advertiser's website or landing page. The percentage of individuals who viewed your ad and clicked on it is your click-through rate, or CTR. So if an ad has 1,000 impressions and it's clicked on 30 times, your CTR would be 3%. A high CTR can be desirable but it's not always a good thing if the clicks don't produce for the advertiser. Then a high CTR will result in wasted ad money.
To determine the ad's performance of directing visitors to the website and getting them to take a desired action, the advertiser can use conversion tracking to measure its effectiveness.
When it comes to PPC, Google Adwords is still in a class unto themselves,. However, placing ads on Google can be a slippery slope for most first time marketers. Adword campaigns can be very effective or a monumental waste of money. There are a lot of tricks to the game and many find themselves overpaying for ineffective keywords. Setting up an ad campaign on Google can also be intimidating for business owners. It's not as simple and easy as they’d like you to believe.
Today, we'll discuss two alternatives to Google Adwords: Facebook Ads and LinkedIn Ads. Neither may be perfect, but what the heck is? (Well, other than soft serve ice cream…) But each has pros and cons over Adwords, and over each other as well. Facebook Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads aren't actually in a head-to-head battle for your ad dollars (yet), because these two social media giants' ads can work for you in different ways.
The key to running any successful PPC ad campaign is to test a wide variety of keywords, headlines, photos, targeting segments and landing pages. Without running a wide range of test ads, you'll never know what's effective and what isn't – and your campaign will be doomed. Testing takes a lot of time, patience, trial and error. If you don't have the time and devotion to fully test your ads, you might want to hire a digital media agency to help you. In the long run, it will be money well spent.
Facebook is the world's largest social network. There are over 600 million active users and half of them log in every day, so your audience is vast and it offers very specific groups to be targeted - something that Adwords can't do. With Facebook Ads, demographic groups can be narrowed down by country, state, city, age, gender, workplaces and interest. You can even target specific universities (but not high schools). Because of this, Facebook works better for businesses targeting consumers (B2C) rather than businesses advertising to other businesses (B2B).
Facebook Ads are fairly quick and easy to set up. You can choose between CPM and CPC. You can put a limit on the budget you want to spend per day, such as $10 per day. When that limit is reached, you won't be charged anymore for that day. You can keep your campaign open-ended, meaning it will run until you stop it, or you can select an end date and the campaign will stop on that date. Once your ad is set up, you can track your results and see how many impressions or clicks you've acquired.
You'll probably notice that your CTR will be lower with Facebook Ads than Adwords or LinkedIn Ads. But the cost of running the ads on Facebook is lower too, so that needs to be factored into your overall assessment.
There are two types of ads; Facebook Ads and Sponsored Stories.
Let's take a look at the Facebook Ad first. This is the typical branded ad that most people are familiar with on the social media network. Facebook Ads direct traffic to your own website, a Facebook application or a Facebook page. This is the type of ads most small to medium-sized companies start out with and it's an easy way to get your feet wet with advertising on Facebook.
The other type of ad is simply called Sponsored Stories. These are basically News Feed type stories about your page, place or app that show up like an ad, and can also show people who like your page. Sponsored Stories can reach more people than can possibly see your post in the News Feed because not everyone will see your status updates and posts.
There are seven types of Sponsored Stories:
Page Like Story – If someone likes your page, you can use the Page Like Story to tell his or her friends about it. This can be an effective and powerful recommendation.
Page Post Story – After you publish posts to your page, a Page Post Story will ensure more of your fans see the most recent post.
Page Post Like Story – When one of your fans likes a page post, a Page Post Like Story will allow his or her friends to be aware of it.
App Used and Game Played Story – If someone has used your app or played your game in the last month, you can use this story ad to make sure his or her friends know about it.
App Share Story – If someone shares a story from your app, you can use the App Share Story to make that person's friends be aware of it.
Check-in Story – When someone checks in at one of your claimed places, the Check-in Story will let his or her friends to know what they did.
Domain Story – After a person 'Likes' something on your website, 'shares' a page from your website or pastes a link to your website on his or her status update, the Domain Story will ensure that person's friends will know about it.
LinkedIn is a widely used social network for business networking, with a focus on professionals. Unlike Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads work better for B2B rather than B2C because of the professional data it uses to target its advertisements. For instance, you can target individuals with a specific job title (like VP of Sales). You can also target relevant groups, company (name or category), gender, geography and age brackets.
This type of targeting can be highly effective by showing your PPC ads to professionals who are the most likely to buy your product or service. And LinkedIn's members have an average household income $110,000 per year, which is usually highly desirable to a B2B seller. LinkedIn Ads are going to cost you more than Facebook, but the ability to target movers and shakers in any industry is usually worth it.
Like Facebook, the advertiser has a choice between CPC or CPM. And like Facebook, LinkedIn Ads are quick and painless to set up too. The actual ad campaign data isn’t as robust as Google Adwords, but the presentation of the statistics seems easier to understand than Facebook’s user interface.
Running ads on Facebook and LinkedIn can be advantageous and reach a potentially huge market for less money than a Google Adwords campaign. There have been more than a few success stories on these social media networks. But there have been plenty of failures as well. Any PPC campaign can be a waste of time and money if the advertiser isn’t savvy about Pay Per Click strategies and ads aren't tested properly.
Running a successful PPC ad campaign takes time and patience. Previous PPC experience is also helpful. But the big social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn can provide you with some distinct advantages that other ad platforms can't offer, as long as you know how to play the Pay Per Click game.
Have you had success with Google Adwords, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads? What are your thoughts and opinions about Pay Per Click advertising? Please share your comments with our readers. We want to hear from you! Need help getting started? We can help! Contact us today to start leveraging the power of these unique ad networks for your business!