Advertising: Social Media or Google? Which is Better?
If you’re looking to expand your business reach and visibility, investing in online ads can give you great results. But there are many moving parts to an online ads campaign and it’s easy to waste money if not done the right way.
As a small-business owner with a limited marketing budget, it is important that you know how online ads work and how they need to be structured.
The biggest, most important difference between using social media ads and Google ads is the way your audience will encounter your ad. Social media ads are presented to your target audience while they are not searching for your solution. Google ads, on the other hand, are presented to them when they are actively searching.
This means your ideal client who sees your ads on social media is very unlikely to be looking to buy at that very moment while on Google, they are ready to buy.
Based on this, you might think that Google ads are better because they’ll produce fast sales, which they do, but neither Google nor social media ads are a straight-shot type of deal, especially in the B2B space.
They each have their own place in getting new customers in your pipeline and moving them through, so it is important to be mindful of your client’s buying cycle.
When to use social media ads
Social media ads help you get discovered by a new portion of your target audience. These people have never heard of you, they don’t know you, and they’re not ready to place an order. They are at the awareness stage or top of the sales funnel.
Advertising on social media can be helpful when you need to grow your online footprint. They are useful to build brand awareness and drive traffic to your website. They expand your reach amongst a larger pool of potential clients who, even though they might not be ready to buy your solution at the point they see your ad, will be interested enough to click on your ad if done right. This gives you the opportunity to market to them from thereon out using retargeting ads until they’re ready to buy.
Social media ads can also help in building loyalty and community among your clients, which will in turn increase repeat sales. Social ads provide a simple way to be in front of them regularly so they don’t forget about you. Ads give you a chance to educate them about other products you offer, your expertise and your creativity.
When to use Google Ads
Google ads reach those who have an immediate need. They are at the conversion stage of the funnel.
These people have a deadline and they need to find the best option. One of the big challenges for the promo business is that these leads come from product focused searches, so vendors are compared by price. There is also a lot of competition with deep pockets. But Google ads can still deliver good results with the right strategy, especially when you focus on a niche or specialty, rather than just products at large.
There are many types of ads you can have on Google, from the traditional search ads to shopping ads that show your product directly from your website. You can also advertise on other platforms from the Google family, such as YouTube, Gmail, and Display Networks. These platforms offer a massive potential reach.
What about the costs?
Generally speaking, you need to set a budget aside to advertise any of these platforms of at least $2,500. There are many options within Google and Social, but you need sufficient budget to have your ads running for enough time for each of them to make their own adjustments and optimize themselves once they’ve collected enough data.
Costs are based on a number of factors besides clicks with Google ads benign more costly than social, especially for highly competitive keywords. But when looking at the overall client acquisition cost, the investment can be well worth it.
The key to making the most of your marketing budget on these platforms is to always be testing and carefully measuring ad performance, and all platforms provide great analytics tools to keep track.
Choosing a platform
Ideally, the best approach is to use both Social media and Google ads, that way you reach your leads from the awareness to the conversion stages which ensures sustainable growth.
Additionally, your social media ads can help your google ads results: According to statistics, people are more likely to click on the ad of the company they have heard about.
But if your budget is limited, social media ads can help you increase traffic to your website and build an audience of qualified leads when used strategically, which is especially helpful if you don’t have much of an online presence.
As far as the social media platforms to use for advertising, we recommend Facebook & Instagram (now Meta), and our favorite, LinkedIn.
Use Facebook and Instagram ads for branding, visibility, audience engagement, brand recognition, and humanizing your brand. You can advertise your own blog posts, new products, trends, case studies, tips, etc.
This will help you generate attention and interest in your business and interaction with your audience, which will help establish your brand as an authority in your market.
LinkedIn ads provide you with the ability to be very specific with your targeting. You can target by role, company, groups they belong to, your own list of leads, and even retargeting your website visitors. Ads will cost a lot more than they do on Meta, but the ability to reach your exact audience is a consideration as you will generate better leads.
You can also use LinkedIn to connect with influencers and reach out to decision-makers in prospecting campaigns using In Mail.
Neither social media ads nor Google Ads are stand-alone solutions. They each have a different role in the marketing process and they also need other components to work in tandem to produce results.
With that said, keep in mind that you always want to be investing in SEO to build your organic reach on Google, which has a more permanent effect. But if you don’t have much of a presence, it can take a long time to start generating organic leads, which will eventually allow you to decrease or even stop your ad spend.
If you want to explore how you can use online advertising to grow your business, contact us, we’ll be glad to help you evaluate your options.
This article was first published in The Action Marketing Blog.
For more marketing articles, free webinars and guides, specific to the promo business, visit the Resources section of ActionMarketingCo.com.
Gloria Lafont is a mother, grandmother and business owner. Throughout her business career she has started, bought and sold a dozen businesses in the branding and marketing field, including a distributor company. She’s currently president of Action Marketing Co., founded in 2007. Her company focuses on helping distributors increase visibility, generate awareness and drive traffic so they can connect with more of their ideal clients and generate more leads and sales.
Gloria is a big fan and supporter of education and the cultural arts, volunteering her time and donating marketing support over the years to help various organizations grow in membership and revenue. She also enjoys the South Florida lifestyle mix of business, beaches and arts.