Today there are a lot of options when it comes to advertising platforms for your business to use. With so many options and a constantly changing digital world, it can be very difficult (not to mention time-consuming!) knowing where you should spend your marketing dollars to get the best result.
Our customers usually have the same goal: select the best platform(s) for their business, and invest in them to drive their marketing efforts forward.
Working in these different advertising platforms every day for years has taught us a few things. Here’s an overview of each of them along with a few of the pros and cons of the big ones to help understand what may be right for your business.
#1 Facebook Advertising
Pros of Facebook advertising
Facebook has more users on its platform than any other social media platform. More people tune into Facebook after work (and during) than the number of people that watch all network TV combined.
The platform also offers the ability to a target specific audiences that are unique from anybody else. Facebook can target users based on who they are and what they do (commonly called “interests”) as opposed to Google AdWords which is focused primarily on the terms being typed into a Google search (referred to as “keywords”).
What that means is you can get your message in front of somebody who would be interested in what your business offers, without explicitly searching for the products or services your business provides.
Another very valuable aspect of the Facebook advertising platform is the analytics that you get with it. If you’re paying dollars on ANY ad, Facebook lets you know the number of people that saw the ad and the number of people that interacted with it down to the cent. This is true of most digital platforms, but the unique targeting aspects of Facebook and the data accompanying it is what sets it apart.
Cons of Facebook advertising
To get the most valuable return for what you spend on Facebook ads can take time and testing.
Learning to target audiences and optimize ads through A/B testing (think graphics and language in the ads) takes time and money. It’s a good idea to have some marketing expertise to know how to set up your ads properly to get the best results.
While ads are relatively easy to set it up, having them perform well takes a little bit of experience and legwork to figure out.
Facebook is a great platform and lets you get great detail of what kind of return you’re getting for every ad. However, without any marketing experience, it can be challenging to get the best bang for your buck without investing time to learn about setting up campaigns that perform well.
#2 Google Adwords
Pros of Google Ads
Much like Facebook, Google is the most significant search engine tool out there with 75% of the estimated market share. Millions of people use the platform for search, and Google’s developed their platform to give businesses a great chance to advertise through them.
When it comes to targeting, if done correctly, it’s the easiest way to get your search term in front of people that are buying. For example, if you manufacture dog food bowls, you can create ads that will target people who search for that term, or “keyword.” You customize the ad to include the exact language, the link, the description of what they’re going to read in the search results.
Google Adwords is great because if keywords are selected strategically, people who see these ads are more likely to click on it with the intention of buying. You can use more “bottom of funnel” advertisements to target people using Google to find products they want to buy more quickly.
Cons of Google Ads
The negatives of AdWords are very similar to Facebook’s ad platform. It can be difficult to see any results if you don’t spend time learning how to set up an Adwords campaign correctly.
The other negatives are you’re more limited to targeting people based on the exact terms they are using to search for your product. Being specific and yet broad enough in your keyword buying strategy is all critical to finding success on your Google Adwords.
You have to be careful not to call your product or service by an industry jargon name that prospect wouldn’t know and stick to the terms they use.
So you have to get in the mind of the customer and call your products by the names a prospect is going to search. Doing that requires a couple of things: one, doing enough research to be accurate in your terms, and the second, you’re going to have to buy more keywords to try to get a good amount of clicks to your website.
On average Google AdWords tends to have a higher cost per click compared to Facebook. This metric alone may suggest it’s not as valuable, however, given the size and opportunity of this channel, it certainly is not the case. Just don’t expect the CPC on Google to be as low as it may be on other platforms.
Overall Google Adwords offers a lot of great ways to put ads in front of interested buyers and have them click-through to purchase. It does require a bit of marketing skill to navigate and set up ads correctly to target the right keywords.
It’s worth noting Google and Facebook when used together make a fantastic combination for a comprehensive marketing strategy.
If you wanted to create awareness and drive a prospect from the “Awareness” stage down a funnel to the “Consideration” stage, Facebook might be the most economical. You can run videos to find your audience, resend ads back to them that have a stronger call-to-action.
You can drive someone straight down the sales funnel with lots of visually appealing types of ads and can hit them with multiple ads. Then on the other side, let’s say someone sees your ad when they’re on the bus looking a video on Facebook on their phone and they look at your brand name, but they don’t remember what they saw.
Perhaps then when they’re at their office or their desk, they can search in the term of something in your ad that caught their eye. Maybe the brand name, perhaps something else. They are using Google to complete that search, and now you’ve come full circle with your marketing funnel.
#3 Instagram Advertising
Pros of Instagram
Instagram’s advertising platform is a close cousin of Facebook’s advertising platform, and you can manage ads from the Facebook Ad Manager page for Instagram as well. It’s also got a lot of the same great metrics Facebook uses to measure every dollar spent on an ad.
While the same company owns them, Instagram’s audience is slightly different. In our experience, the audience you’re going to target tends to be a little bit younger, and focus more on consumer-facing ads that perform well on an incredibly visual platform.
For industries that have a very visual feel where you’re showing pictures of food or if you’re trying to convey an emotional sell. You want to sell the image of a lifestyle. You want to embody the look, and the feel like you’re showing prospects the persona of who they want to be.
You got to give them something of value to stop their scroll and make sure that they’re going to look at what you got. Remember people on this platform are not in “shopping mode,” but are checked out from researching for a solution to their problem.
You need to show them something that adds value to their life when they’re in that direct shopping mode.
Cons of Instagram
Much like Facebook, you might run into trouble delivering a satisfying ad if you don’t spend time researching what types of ads perform well, or spend time A/B testing ads.
Working with someone with a marketing background can help you create advertising that connects with your audience on Instagram and help fill out your marketing funnel. Your ad goals should be to move a prospect to an “Awareness” stage of what you could do for them and get them interested.
Instagram’s advertising platform is best suited for engaging a potential buyer when they are out of “shopping mode,” and use it for capturing an emotion your product can deliver. You want to retarget them then later on a different advertising platform when they may search for your product.
#4 Messenger Advertising
Pros of Messenger
Messenger is one of the newer players in the advertising game. A lot of people think of it just a tool in Facebook that lets you message people easily. This little tool this is one of the fastest growing marketing automation tools available today.
What’s so good about it?
There are roughly 1.3 billion users who log into the app daily. The audience is very, very big.
The second part of it is messenger hasn’t yet been saturated the way email marketing has, to the point that messenger ads are being opened at rates that are unheard of in email marketing.
You can send a message out via email, and maybe 20-30% of those will be read and 70-80% won’t. Today, on Messenger it’s a much different story. Upwards of 80% of messages may be opened for similar campaigns and audiences. People who use Messenger seem to be very engaged with it and tend to open a Message from a brand they know.
Another significant part about Messenger is the automation campaigns that are possible.
You can use Messenger not just to follow up with prospects, but also to build automatic replies and sequences to respond as though the end user is interacting directly with your business. This tends to boost the engagement of customers and provide a much better user experience.
Your business should take advantage of this new versatile advertising platform. Many in the industry are saying Messenger today is what social media advertising was ten years ago before it got big. If there’s one thing to be paying attention to today, Messenger is it.
Cons of Messenger
One challenge with Messenger is the technology is still relatively new, and it’s going through a few growing pains.
There are many bots out there to create customized replies and follow-ups. However, but since the platform is evolving with updates and new features, automations can break unexpectedly or not work as intended. It’s still a fantastic tool your business should take advantage of, but be prepared to be flexible with how you use it as it grows.
See what platform works best for you!
We hope you learned a bit about some of the top advertising platforms and how to navigate through them. While Facebook, Google Adwords, Instagram and Messenger all take a bit of time to see results, they are all extremely valuable to any digital marketing effort.
Curious on which of these platforms is right for your business?
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