Online Advertising Alternatives: Facebook
Although Google AdWords is the 800 pound gorilla of the pay per click advertising world, some small and local businesses may actually be better served working through an alternative advertising channel. One such alternative is the other gorilla of the internet, Facebook.
Facebook rivals Google in terms of size and usership, its advertising platform is in some ways more organized, open, and relevant to the markets of some small and medium sized business’.
The Importance of IAO
The biggest difference between the advertising platforms of Google and Facebook is known to marketers as IAO, or Interests, Attitudes, and Opinions. Facebook gathers this information from its willing 180 million users, and Google does not. Knowing the psychographic profiles of each and every one of their users allows Facebook to directly target each user with precise ads. Indeed, in studies conducted by some independent third party researchers, Facebook was shown to have equal traffic for a test site at one tenth of the CPM. The bounce rate of Facebook was also lower by about 7% when compared to Google, and Facebook ads had a much higher click through rate.
Knowing why a customer buys has been no less than the cause of a new online analytics industry, as many businesses and free applications are being created solely to analyze the real time information gathered by social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In short, “why equals buy.”
The Local Connection
The culture on Facebook is one of truthfulness, with most members using their real names, and listing their real employment history and place of residence. Local businesses have never been privy to such a wide network of completely free opt in information. Local businesses, especially brick and mortar businesses, can cut out much of the fat by advertising only to those within a specified area.
Size As A Deterrent
The sheer size of the Google AdWords platform can keep a business from targeting their market in an increasingly niche driven consumer environment. The web has even come up with a word for a small business market, calling it a “nicheverse.” Google is also much more competitive, as ads are routinely bid out of placement on an hourly basis in the most contested industries.
Google has 10 ads on the front placement page, while Facebook only has 3 — less clutter means more exposure for a small business. And since there is less competition from other publishers on Facebook than on Google, the same change in CPM means more on Facebook — a double win for a business.
Facebook Gaining Functionality
Though Google can not gather psychographic information with near the same efficiency as Facebook, Facebook is adding Google like functionality. It recently partnered with Bing to provide a Facebook specific search engine, and its investment with Goldman Sachs is sure to expand its reach to cover some holes that may have been missed.
Facebook, with a smaller competitive pool, better targeting, more precise information, and proven good conversion rates, seems a possible alternative to Google Adwords, especially for any business without the budget for a full scale AdWords campaign. The secret to using it effectively however, will lie in the understanding that the context of teh two platforms are completely different, one social and the other commercial, and therefore the skills in writing ‘advertising’ in the social media context is not so readily at hand. Some businesses may need to outsource for these skills.
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White Chalk Road are a specialist Search Marketing Agency based in Perth, with over 20 years’ experience in the industry. As a Google Premier Partner, WCR specialise in SEO, Search Marketing, Advertising & Marketing Automation. WCR help Perth businesses, across both B2B and B2C markets, who need help being found online by their customers.
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