I was talking to a buddy of mine who uses Facebook Ads to seemingly great success, but when it comes to AdWords he’s lost in the woods. I’ve tried explaining how AdWords works to him, but since he sees it through his experience with Facebook, he gets confused.
He’s quite smart. Tier 1 Business school undergrad. It’s not on him. It sounds like quite a few people have trouble going from Facebook to AdWords.
It can’t be on him. I wrote a big post last week on how to explain AdWords using sports metaphors, and half-way through the post I gave up on it because I botched it spectacularly. So, I’m going to try again. This time, using more apt descriptions. And why not, because in the end:
Google is your broker; Facebook is your best friend.
Why Google is a broker
Google is a middleman, a broker whose commodity is relevant information. They have users who search for information. They have websites and advertisers who provide information. What Google does is match up those users who search for information to the websites and advertisers whose information best match the user’s search.
The better Google does at correctly matching the users’ search to the correct website information, the more likely both their users and their websites & advertisers will use Google, again.
Facebook is your best friend who, if you’re really, really lucky, gets you in all sorts of trouble
Facebook is the best friend you go out with at 11:00pm on a Friday night, only to blink and see it’s 6:00am and you’re watching the sun rise over the scenic horizon. They’re the best distraction. On their best days, you wake up the next day ready to take on the world. On the other days, you go through the next day sleepless, hungover, and stuck with the taste of chorizo in your mouth.
Facebook’s job is simple: keep you on Facebook. You stay on Facebook, you see more ads. You see more ads, you might click on ads. You click on ads, Facebook gets paid.
Ever wondered why you’re now able to transfer money to a friend on Facebook messenger without a transaction fee? It’s cheaper to keep you.
Semi-related side note: For the product developer in you: Both have a secondary market: user data
Both make a fair share of money, both directly and otherwise, by gathering all the data you create by your every move on both their platform. So, if you stay drunk but never post a picture that you’re drunk or mention you’re drunk, you can really jack up their data – for a while [Note: it’s not advisable to stay drunk].
Both Ad Networks reflect their objectives
Reflecting on AdWords
Google’s Ad Network, primarily AdWords, has the same goal as Google’s core search: match up their users’ searches with the right information. AdWords, like Google’s core search, adds incentive for those who give users easy access to relevant information by placing your ad in the primary position. To do get a primary position, you have to:
- closely match your keyword with the user’s search term / phrase
- write compelling ad copy about the keyword / search term
- provide a landing page about the keyword / search term that quickly and easily gives the right information, “envokes trust,” and makes it easy for the user to act on their information (aka – buy something, sign up for something, request a meeting…)
Those advertisers who do this the best get placed at the top. Any advertiser who closely matches these points for the users will pay less than market rate when a user clicks on their ad.
Google checks these elements on every advertiser, each and every time a searcher makes a search for the terms. Google calls the ranking a quality score and ranks every advertiser 1/10 for every keyword they bid to have their ad appear on.
“What if we tie with a competitor?”
In cases of a tie, it comes down to who’s willing to bid higher. Google takes your quality score and multiplies it on what you’re willing to bid to be in the best spot (at the top). They call this total you’re AdRank. The one with the highest bid wins first. The second highest goes second.
And, yes: AdWords only gets paid when a user clicks on an advertiser’s ad. No click, no payment.
Reflecting on Facebook Ads
Facebook advertises based on demographics instead of what the user is sharing and commenting on. The strategy is based on interests instead of relevance.
They’ll also let you send traffic to other websites, but seemingly a little begrudgingly. They first started offering people to pay to promote their fan pages and content. Later, they went to offering advertising to websites –
…though if you’re on the iPhone mobile app, you’re initially directed to the website using Facebook’s browser. There’s no setting to get out of this like there is on the Android phones (go fig, using Google’s OS).
Facebook also make it nearly impossible for businesses nowadays to organically generate traffic to their fan pages. If you’re starting one nowadays, you’ll probably have to pay to play.
It comes down to relevance vs. demographics
Now, both bleed a little into each other’s strategy. With Google Display Network, you can filter a little by demographics: reported age range and gender as well as “interests.” With Facebook, it was a coup for advertisers when they could generate traffic away from Facebook.
As always, it comes down to testing. Always with the testing.