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Featured Story | Written by Stuart Banbery
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The digital duopoly – why social media remains strong in the advertising space

Discover how to utilise a Google Adwords and Social Media Advertising strategy to maximise budget and resources as well as demonstrate valuable ROI.

22 Jul - 10 min read

The digital duopoly

Despite predictions last year that Google Adwords and Facebook advertising would start to decline in 2019, the digital duopoly shows no signs of losing its online dominance – in 2018 the big two took 56.4% of total ad spend, with this year’s prediction increasing that to 61.4%. It’s a vast and valuable space to invest budget and resources if your goals are awareness, reach, and engagement.

Why choose social media advertising?

With organic reach down to single figures, and with social media platform algorithms evolving to favour content that sparks conversations, reaching your target audience in a saturated and noisy online environment can be challenging, but with the right strategy you can overcome and flourish.

Facebook boasts the highest number of monthly active users of any social media network and some powerful targeting options – so it’s not surprising then that social advertising spend continues to grow on this platform. Not only are your audiences using these social networks regularly, the networks’ advertising capabilities are constantly becoming more sophisticated, meaning you can achieve more in a cost effective way, while also being able to demonstrate clear ROI to your business.

Not just for the end of the buying funnel

Social media advertising is diverse and can serve a number of purposes throughout the buying funnel. Rather than allocate budget solely at the end of the buying funnel (as is often the case with Google Adwords), social media advertising can be used throughout to build brand awareness, generate interest and put your business at the forefront of people’s minds when they are evaluating their needs.

Bring your brand to life

With Google Adwords focussing on how you appear during searches when your customer is actively looking for a product (which is effective in getting your content alongside your competitors), there is little room for your branding or storytelling. When using social media, and particularly targeted adverts, it’s a blank canvas for your brand. You can bring your brand and what it stands for to life, using rich visual artwork such as infographics and videos, ensuring your target audience understands your offering and values – this is so important as products are becoming increasingly commoditised and will be a huge differentiator for you. Facebook / Paid Social Ads Vs. Google Ads | Advantages, Pros & Cons - image 1Influencer marketing continues to be a popular and highly effective way of engaging with your audience and building trust in your brand – consumers often want to hear someone they admire or respect, or who appears impartial talk about your brand, even if they acknowledge influencers are typically paid for their endorsements. If you utilise influencer marketing as part of your social media strategy, the content produced around influencers is more suited to social media ads and will most likely offer your biggest return on investment.

Reaching your audiences globally

Depending on the location you’re targeting, you may find social media advertising is more effective than Google Adwords, for example, in areas such as Japan, China and Russia, Google is not the prominent search engine, so money spent on Adwords may be better spent targeting social media users instead. It’s worth noting there are also areas where the main social networks are not available, such as in China where Instagram is not available, but local networks are popular such as WeChat, so it’s worth researching the best way to get in touch with your audience.

Social media advertising capabilities are getting more sophisticated

With social networks’ algorithms constantly keeping Social media Managers guessing on how to maximise organic reach, time and resources are being thrown behind making advertising on the social networks as an effective way to get your brand in front of a targeted audience at a precise moment. Options for targeting are improving, such as LinkedIn implementing targeting users by their interests, as is functionality, such as ads now available on Instagram Stories and augmented reality ads being used on Facebook. You can now specifically tailor your advertising to not only age and location etc. but across the platforms your audiences are making the most of. Innovation in this area certainly isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Lower costs per click

In a fiercely competitive market or time of year (such as peak promotion times, like Christmas or A-level results day), Google Adwords costs can skyrocket, reaching cost per click rates that many budgets can’t stretch to – the most expensive keywords in Google Ads cost $50 or more per click. These are generally highly competitive keywords in industries that have high customer lifetime values, like law and insurance.

Whereas, some social media ads, such as on Facebook and Instagram, the cost per click is typically lower, helping you target your audiences better while also helping your budget stretch further.

With Google Adwords and social media ads both offering different advantages and disadvantages, it’s certainly worth exploring both as part of your wider advertising strategy; Google Adwords can help your business target customers lower down the funnel, social media advertising can push your brand and messaging to audiences across the platforms they spend hours on each day – ensuring salience in the mind of your prospects so that when they are searching on Google for a particular product, your brand springs to mind and jumps out from the Adwords listings.

Key pros and cons of Google Adwords and Social Media Advertising

Facebook / Paid Social Ads Vs. Google Ads | Pros & Cons - image 2

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Stuart Banbery is the Marketing Director at Orlo, he has a background spanning multiple industries and is responsible for all strategic and brand operations. Stuart is passionate about helping organisations harness the power emotional connections to create powerful customer experiences. Outside of work Stuart loves outdoor pursuits, travelling and is a keen Triathlon competitor.

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