Choosing an Ad Network
Most people who are actively looking for a particular type of product or service will default towards Google to search for it. However, if they are not quite at the buying stage yet and are still undecided in knowing what the best solution for their needs is (awareness, research, and evaluation phases) this opens the door for other ad networks to take advantage and offer alternative services.
For this reason, Facebook is an excellent tool to capture passive shoppers who buy on impulse, and LinkedIn is a great tool for increasing brand awareness throughout business audiences.
The table below shows the major ad networks, the target market, the type of shopper, and the types of advertising channels that are available on that network channel.
B2B - Companies that sell products or services to other businesses
B2C - Companies that sell products or services to consumers, i.e retails stores
Active Shopper - Shoppers who know what they are looking for, and are purposely searching for that product or service
Passive Shopper - Shoppers who are not actively searching for a product or service but are likely to engage with an offer on impulse if it appeals to them.
Google Ads are a good option for both business-to-consumer, and business-to-business companies.
Google Ads are typically better suited in targeting active shoppers who are actively looking for a solution to their needs. This is because adverts are typically shown to people who are already looking to purchase a particular type of product or service, either through searching for it directly or visiting websites that offer the product or service.
For this reason, Google Ads are well suited towards lead generation and direct sales, where users who click on ads are taken to product or service landing pages.
These are text ads that appear on the Google search page either above or below listed results. Your ads will appear in search results based on your keywords in relation to the search terms users have used in their Google search.
Display ads use image and text to show your adverts to audiences across their favourite websites, including YouTube and Gmail. You can choose what topics of interest you want your ads to be shown on, and also use tracking codes to re-target people who have visited your website or landing page, or find similar audiences based on their profiles.
If you are a retailer then you can use shopping ads which are location based and show users a photo of your product, plus a title, price, and store name.
These type of ads provide more qualified leads for retailers as they show more relevant information to users before they click through.
The main type of video ads are TrueView in-stream ads that run before, during, or after videos which are hosted on YouTube.
These ads are shown on videos either that are on YouTube or embedded into other websites. In all cases, the viewer has an option to skip the ad after 5 seconds.
Due to the business focus of LinkedIn, their ad network is more suited towards businesses that sell to other businesses (B2B).
You can promote your content to a specific audience on LinkedIn using their Sponsored-Content tools. This is a great way to build brand awareness for your product and get your core messages in front of the people you want to sell to. This works especially well in the early stages of your sales cycle or customer journey as you are looking to qualify leads.
Once you have a good number of qualified prospects you can use LinkedIn's Sponsored InMail tool to send messages directly into the LinkedIn mailboxes of people who have previously engaged with you. Sending a personal invitation to someone inviting them to try or buy your product or service is a great way to get higher conversion rates, and an increased ROI.
The Facebook advertising platform lends itself better to brand awareness campaigns, and business-to-consumer sales as passive shoppers can be targeted as they spend recreational time on the social network.
However, Facebook is starting to become increasingly more popular with B2B companies due to the number of businesses now engaging more with Facebook Groups.
Facebook offers a wide variety of ad campaign objectives, all based on different algorithms effecting; who your adverts are shown to, the number of times each person sees your ad, and the type of engagement you want whether click-through or reactions. Due to the amount of behavioural information Facebook has on people, it is able to target your adverts more accurately, increasing your desired outcome.
Knowing what campaign objective you should choose in the beginning can be confusing, and almost misleading, especially when it comes to the Awareness category.
It is easy to think that this would be the go-to option for your new Facebook ad campaign. However, the brand awareness option in Facebook is best for very large businesses who really do want to increase their brand awareness on a large geographical scale to stay at the forefront of consumers' minds, think McDonald's, Nike, etc. This is not for your average business.
The Brand Awareness option in Facebook will target people who are most likely to be able to able to recall your ad after 2 days.
Just like brand awareness, the reach option is based on getting your ad to be seen by as many people as possible. One of the key differences between Brand Awareness and Reach is that with the Reach campaign your advert will be seen by more people but less frequently
For example, rather than showing your advert 4 times to 1,000 people, with the Reach option your advert would be shown to 4,000 once. It is also more suitable for businesses who want to target people in the local area.
Once again, however, this option is not really the most effective for your average business as it does not prioritise your advert to be shown to people who regularly engage with adverts, such as clicking-through or liking.
So again, this option is not ideal if you are looking to create a sales funnel based on people interacting and engaging with your content.
If your objective is to increase your presence on Facebook, then on your Facebook Page, you would select the Engagement option.
Facebook knows who in your target audience is more likely to react, like, share, and comment on posts. With this option selected, Facebook would target those individuals.
This would result in a greater organic reach of your content and Facebook Page as it is shown on the news-feeds of friends and individuals who have engaged with your post.
If you want to increase visitors to your; website, blog post, article, or landing page hosted outside of Facebook then you would choose the Traffic option.
This option will prioritise your advert to be shown to people in within your target audience who have shown a tendency to click-through on adverts, as opposed to liking and sharing.
Not only is this the better option for companies looking to drive more sales, but it serves a secondary benefit to supporting re-marketing campaigns, which are vital to a successful digital marketing campaign.