PPC advertising for your website

Many customers, after a purchase, ask us what is the best method to build traffic to their site. Of course, the answer is often the same: social networks, forums, backlinks and all the usual SEO strategies. However, if you are willing to invest a little, the best method of course is with PPC (pay per click) advertising. This usually means AdWords.

Since we are not big fans of Google, we often recommend alternatives (we use Bing/Yahoo for example, which costs less and is quite effective). But in this post we would like to point out some advantages that Facebook advertising has, compared to Google (and Bing for that matter).

AdWords is considered the medium of choice for medium/large companies. If you are British Airways, of course you must advertise with them. On the other hand, Google takes pride in kicking out of their PPC program thousands of (small of course) websites per week. No 100% unique content: out. Too many YouTube videos: out. Too many adverts: out. Adult/earning money/gambling/smoking/gambling/whatever-you-name-it content: out. Not making the Internet “a better place” (as they quite hypocritically say): you’re out.

For many, AdWords probably still is the best advertising method, that’s why it is also the most expensive. But if you run a small niche affiliate website, consider these advantages that Facebook advertising has:

  1. Targeting. With Facebook, you can reach the right audience for your niche. If you have a Canadian travel website for example, you can target people living in Canada with an interest in travel & tourism (this could be tweaked further in much detail). Google does not know their audience as Facebook does, so they cannot show their ads to them. Additionally, if you receive inquiries or have a subscription plugin installed, you can grab visitors emails and create a Facebook campaign made of these (this feature is called ‘Custom Audiences’), thus showing up your adverts to the very same people that visited your site! Third, you can create a Facebook page for your site and post to it the content from your site (even automatically if you want), thus increasing the ‘likes’ and CTR.
  2. Keywords and cost. With Facebook, the (rather obsolete) concept of keywords – and bidding on these keywords – is non-existent. Again using the same example above, we have buyers asking: Q. I got a travel website, what are the ‘best keywords’ to use? A. Are you serious… best keywords in travel? Hmm.. try ‘hotels’ and ‘cheap flights’ (LOL)?. With AdWords, showing up 1st with these keywords would cost tens of dollars per click. With Facebook, you just show up wherever you want, for cents (Facebook has less users than Google, but still, more than one billion people are active on Facebook, enough audience for most of us).
  3. Branding and competition. With AdWords, your ad will show along others, looking exactly like them (depending on how much you are willing to bid of course, since you might not show up at all). For example: “Canada cheap hotel”, along a dozen of other ‘Canada hotel’ ads. If people (always suspicious) click and visit and bounce, Google takes note and will lower your rank. With Facebook, you actually build a brand name for your website, that’s because Facebook leverages social (something Google cannot do) which helps a lot with trust barriers. Users will see your ad on a regular basis, will ‘like’ it, thus building confidence and trust.
  4. Geo and ads content. Google has a vague idea of where users are located, Facebook on the other hand knows that exactly (in fact, the only thing Google knows is what people are searching for, but they don’t know their actual interests). As a consequence, the probability of your ads reaching the right audience is much higher with Facebook. And what kind of ads: rich ads, since Facebook allows multiple images and even videos in their ads, compared to a couple of text lines in Google search results.

There would be much more to discuss, but of course, which one works best for you is up to your research (which is exactly what Google wants, when building your campaigns: trial and error and A/B testing – and keep spending of course). Since with Google you can only reach searchers whilst Facebook ads are (mainly) about making people talk about your business, it’s no surprise that Facebook advertising has higher clickthrough rates and conversions than Google Adwords.