Heroview: Facebook Advertising vs. PPC

PPC HeroviewToday’s #Heroview featured Emily Las (@Emlas) as she shares her experiences in Facebook advertising techniques, as compared to techniques utilized in Adwords. As a veteran in Facebook advertising at Starworks Group, Emily comes to us today with a wealth of knowledge on the subject. Check it out below!


Thanks again for all you who participated in this month’s #Heroview—real-time discussions with industry experts via Twitter. Stay tuned for next month’s Heroview!

PPC Hero: Welcome to today’s Heroview everyone, real-time interviews featuring PPC experts from around the industry! Welcome to today’s Heroview everyone, real-time interviews featuring PPC experts from around the industry! Today, Emily  will reveal some important similarities and differences between Facebook Advertising and paid search.

Emily: Hello Everyone! Pumped for today’s Heroview.

PPC Hero: We’re excited to have you here today! To kick things off, please tell us about your experience with Facebook and PPC?

Emily: Thanks for having me! I’ve been in PPC for over six years, and Facebook Advertising for two years. I’m currently Director of Optimized Media at Starworks Group and prior to this, was Director of SEM at Morpheus Media. When Facebook ads launched Social Media or Display people were managing them. I realized this had to change- Facebook needs optimization expertise à la PPC.

PPC Hero: Although its easy to mistake Facebook and AdWords as one in the same, how are these two actually different from each other?

Emily: First off, while ads are keyword (interest)-targeted we must remember that Facebook Advertising is not being served via search engine result pages. As with Google Display Network, Facebook ads are “push” marketing, which is challenge flag number one- users aren’t raising their hands asking for info as in search. Facebook brings up a second challenge flag: Users are there to hang out. Clicking ada can mean stepping away from a conversation.

PPC Hero: Is there any difference between writing ad copy for Search versus Facebook advertising?

Emily: Given what we know about how people use Facebook, we must approach FB ads with fearless creativity. Like Google, ad creative for Facebook is crucial because the number one factor controlling CPC is click through rate. Copying your AdWords ad text into Facebook isn’t effective. Consider Facebook users behavior and attention- what will get the click? Copywriting for search is sales-y and focused. For Facebook, it’s more about being engaging and even entertaining. A great tactic for Facebook is to write copy using same tone/language as you would have in a status update. Capturing clicks is not as easy on Facebook! So overall I’d say Facebook copywriting is search copywriting on crack.

PPC Hero: How do Google and Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities compare?

Emily: Instead of your own list of keywords, Facebook targeting is about Interests (and demographic data) users list in their profiles. Facebook provides an amazing opportunity here – the ability to find qualified customers based on data they provide themselves. Demographic bidding on the Google Display Network has limits: not available for all sites and is only applicable for age and gender. The concept of Demographic bidding is taken to next level in Facebook. The custom audience segments you can build are endless. Another difference is Placements- apart from homepage buys (CPM/premium) you can’t select the Facebook pages where your ads will run. I will say that I have complaints about geo-targeting options on both platforms.

PPC Hero: How about landing pages: Does your strategy change from one platform to the next?

Emily: Definitely– key difference is proximity of landing pg to point-of-purchase. Landing pages for paid search are chosen for relevancy to specific user queries. Goal is to get to the bottom of the conversion funnel. Facebook users don’t necessarily have buying intent- we need to first get them into that funnel! Landing pages are key. If you don’t have Facebook commerce, create an offers tab or a “What’s New” tab. Give the user more information while they are still on Facebook. Paid search landing pages are hard sell; with Facebook it helps to soften the sell with an extra step.

PPC Hero: Quality Score is always top of mind in PPC on the search side, how does Facebook measure relevancy?

Emily: Facebook measures ad quality but there is no transparency for advertisers. From what I see, Facebook ad relevancy is almost all CTR. In this sense, it’s like AdWords in early 2005. Facebook’s 1st quality control for ads is user ability to ‘X’ out ads or criticize them- apparently these actions can cause disapprovals. I predict that 1 year from now, Facebook will have an ad algorithm and the Google/Facebook arms race will rage on!

PPC Hero: Facebook’s platform is very new compared to AdWords – how does Facebook’s advertiser UI stack up?

Emily: One word to describe Facebook’s UI vs. AdWords – RIGID. The brilliance of today’s AdWords is in the dimensions. Flexible reporting– In PPC we like to slice the data every which way.

PPC Hero: How do these platforms compare in terms of ongoing maintenance and bulk editing?

Emily: Facebook has a “Power Editor” you can get in GoogleChrome – light years behind AdWords Editor. There are of course 3rd party solutions like Marin, Acquisio, etc – BUT there are major limitations. Warning- to run an ad LINKED to your Facebook brand page, you cannot implement 3rd party tracking solutions. Using 3rd party tracking URLs will change your ad destination and keep you from getting “Like” count! Of course Paid Search does not come with these restrictions given its maturity. Facebook will learn soon (I hope).

PPC Hero: With the Facebook News Feed moving at lightning speed, are status updates distracting consumers from ads?

Emily: Always- this increases the importance of “socializing” your ads as I mentioned before. Use status updates for insights. Because we are targeting Interests, Facebook advertising is more audience-focused than search. As marketers, we need to keep that audience in mind every step of the way. Facebook Insights is a great way to get feedback on your posts that you can leverage in your ads. Posts that saw high engagement are worth considering for your ads. Maybe it was a product image you use, etc.

PPC Hero: What are some other advantages of advertising through Facebook, compared to those of your traditional AdWords experience?

Emily: The advantage of Facebook advertising versus  traditional AdWords is in the targeting. By leveraging granular user data, Facebook gives us the ability to reach niche audience segments. “Hypertargeting.” It will be very interesting to see if/how AdWords targeting could evolve as Google+ grows. Google+ enhanced AdWords targeting has been on my mind nonstop. Circles might make it more interesting than Facebook.

PPC Hero: If I were new to PPC, how should I determine which platform is right for me or my company?

Emily: For right now, Search is a core behavior. PPC presence should be top priority. Searchers show intent so you want to be found. For Facebook, you should first get your social content strategy in place by having a (free) Facebook presence with a brand page. Don’t advertise to build a social media community if you can’t commit to providing content and community management.

PPC Hero: At the end of the day, what do you consider to be the defining metric when tracking your Facebook performance and why?

Emily: If you’re running a Facebook campaign to drive “Likes” then that cost per ‘Like’ will be your success metric. Tip: If driving sales/leads via Facebook, I highly recommend using a 3rd party ad serving solution. A longer funnel needs a longer cookie window. Lastly, when reporting on Facebook ad performance- normalize the report Facebook provides. Add additional metrics to make it meaningful!

PPC Hero: Thank you for your time and insight, and for participating in this month’s Heroview!

Emily: My pleasure and thanks for having me! Huge fan of the blog