PPC Battle: Should You Advertise On Google, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn?
Whether you’re new to PPC advertising or still trying to find the best strategy for your business, there’s one question that always seems to resurface: which platforms should you be investing in?
Back in the day, Google was one of a few select options and a diverse PPC strategy simply consisted of a solid AdWords and some Bing Ads thrown in for good measure. However, things are very different now.
For one thing, AdWords is now called Google Ads now and you also need to find the right mix of social advertising platforms, which throws Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube into the mix– far more than we could fit into a one blog post title.
So how’s an advertiser supposed to choose the right mix of PPC platforms in 2019?
Finding the right combination of PPC platforms
Just to be clear, you’re going to need to advertise on more than one platform to get the best results these days. Sure, you can make good things happen on Google Ads and, if there’s one platform every business should be using, this is it. However, the leads you’re going to generate from Google Ads is very different to the ones you’re going to get from social ad networks and the kind of leads you’re going to get from different social platforms is also going to be different.
This is the key thing you need to consider when you’re choosing PPC platforms.
First, you need to know precisely what kind if leads each network is going to generate for you and then you need to decide which of them are most important for your business. Consider this to be the very first stage of your PPC strategy and don’t underestimate its importance because it doesn’t matter how well your master an ad platform if you’re trying to generate leads it can’t really capture for you.
So this is the basis we’re going to follow in this article by focusing on what kind of leads each ad network is best at generating – as well as any other factors you might need to consider.
Google Ads: The compulsory choice for PPC advertisers?
- High purchase intent
- You can target people ready to buy now
- Excellent for B2C and B2B leads
- Your ads fit into the search experience
- Text-based ads are cheaper to create than visual ads
- Extremely flexible once you know the platform
- Cost per clicks (CPCs) can be high for certain industries.
- Requires quite a lot of optimisation to get the best results
Lead types: People looking to buy now; people looking for purchase advice.
Google is the first place people turn when they want to buy something but they don’t know where they want to buy it from. Google Ads is the place where you tell these users that your business is where they want to buy from and this kind of user relationship is unique to search advertising.
Only Google Ads, Bing Ads, etc. allow you to reach people who are ready to buy now, thanks to the keyword targeting. Purchase intent is also higher than most networks because people are actively looking to buy (or find information) when they turn to search. Likewise, your ads fit seamlessly into the search experience and answer the queries users type in – so there’s no resistance to ads, which can be the case on social networks.
- Excellent targeting options
- Engaging visual ad formats
- Excellent for B2C and B2B leads
- Reasonable CPCs
- Limited to interest targeting
- Visual ads can be expensive (especially video)
Lead types: People interested in your brand, products or services.
Social networks don’t allow you to target people who are actively looking to buy in the same way search engines do. So, generally speaking, purchase intent is going to be lower in the leads you generate from social and you may have to work a little harder to turn them into paying customers.
The thing is, the vast majority of people who are going to buy from you in the future don’t even realise it yet – and Facebook is one of the best ad platforms for capturing these leads.
Facebook is really effective at planting seeds in people’s minds. You can show people travel ads and food ads or messages about safety, money, business success, attractiveness and all kinds of topics we all care about. Nobody wakes up and says “oh, I really need to get me some life insurance” but Facebook is a great place to initiate that kind of thought process.
That’s not all Facebook has to offer, though. The social network has had the best targeting options in the industry for years now, which allow you to tap into people’s interests and show ads to people who are about to have a child, move to a new house, just got a new job, show signs they’re ready for a holiday and all kinds of other factors.
With these target options, you can generate leads with almost as much purchase intent as those you’ll be getting from Google Ads.
Instagram for Business
- All of Facebook’s excellent targeting options and ad formats
- High engagement rates
- Low CPCs and high CTRs
- Excellent for B2C leads
- Popular with younger users
- Ideal for travel, fashion, food and visual campaigns
- Limited to interest targeting
- Visual ads can be expensive
- Not so great for B2B marketing
Lead types: B2C lead from people interested in your brand, products or services.
Instagram was bought out by Facebook in 2012 for a cool $1 billion the great news for advertisers is this means you get all of the same Facebook targeting options and ad formats on this network. In fact, advertising on Instagram looks almost identical to Facebook but there are some crucial differences.
First of all, their user bases are different. A study from Pew Research found that the average Instagram user is between the age of 18 and 29 (compared to Facebook’s broader 18-49 age range) while the gender divide is narrower, too.
It’s also important to remember that Instagram is a purely visual network and brands capable of producing highly visual campaigns (travel, fashion, food, consumer tech, etc.) are going to get the most out of this platform. Likewise, Instagram is one of the most powerful options for B2C lead generation but it’s not so strong when it comes to B2B.
- Excellent for B2B marketing
- Ads are relatively cheap to create
- Relatively simple platform to learn
- CPCs end up being quite high
- Limited optimisation options
Lead type: High-value B2B leads
LinkedIn is always going to be the first social network mentioned when it comes to B2B marketing. Much like Google Ads and Bing Ads have the intrinsic advantages of keyword targeting, LinkedIn has the unique benefit of being designed purely for B2B networking right out of the box.
This means you can target high-value B2B leads in a way no other network is capable of replicating. The downside is LinkedIn Ads end up being quite expensive compared to other platforms and you don’t have a great deal of options to optimise campaigns for better performance/ROI.
It’s kind of a high stakes, high reward scenario – something you have to accept in the B2B game.
- Highly engaging platform
- Ads quickly generate impression, clicks and engagement
- Hashtag targeting
- Excellent for B2B and B2B leads
- High CPCs
- You have to react quickly on Twitter
- Low purchase intent
Lead types: High volumes of lower-intent/brand awareness leads.
Twitter is truly unlike any other social network and even the biggest proponents of advertising on Twitter must have a love-hate relationship with the platform. With Twitter, you can generate highly-engaged leads almost as soon as your ads run and you can still get fairly decent results organically, too – making it a great place to mix organic and paid strategies.
The frustrating thing with Twitter is it ends up being quite expensive but it does get results – as long as you understand what kind of leads you’re going to be getting and have a strategy in place to turn them into customers. Generally, you’re going to be getting a high volume of low-intent leads, which is great for brand awareness and engagement, but you still have work to do before these leads become profitable (unless you’re a publisher where page views are enough to bring the money in).
To make Twitter advertising work, you’re going to need a solid system for turning visits into higher quality leads (eg: email signups, remarketing, etc.)
- Strong targeting options (user targeting)
- World’s second largest search engine
- TrueView ads mean you only pay when people actually watch your ads
- Relatively low CPC
- Low risk
- Weak content targeting options
- Expensive to make quality YouTube ads
- YouTube ads are intrusive
Lead types: People looking for purchase advice, product reviews, travel advice, business tips, etc. – that’s relevant to your business.
YouTube is the world’s second most popular search engine with more than 1.8 billion users but it’s not always the first advertising network that comes to mind. This is a shame because it can be an effective platform for targeting people in the market for advice: product reviews, purchase advice, travel tips, business advice, etc.
Advertising on YouTube is already low-risk thanks to its TrueView ad format, which means you only pay when people watch your ad in full or the first 30 seconds – whichever comes first.
The tricky thing with YouTube advertising is you have no real control over which videos your ads are shown with. However, you do get string user targeting options, which helps you narrow down on the type of people who are seeing your ads.
Which PPC platforms should your business be using?
Hopefully, you already have a better idea of which PPC platforms your business needs to be using. If you’re still not too sure what the right mix is going to be, here are some key questions to ask yourself:
Are you targeting B2C or B2B leads?
If you’re targeting B2C leads, you can rule out LinkedIn right away and the two networks you’re probably going to want to start with are Google Ads and Facebook. You may want to add Instagram into that mix and possibly even YouTube, if you’re prepared to invest in quality visual ads (more on this shortly).
If you’re after B2B leads, Google Ads and Facebook are still strong options but LinkedIn becomes difficult to ignore and Twitter is very capable when it comes to B2B lead generation.
Can you create the visuals?
It’s always easier for a travel brand to create visually compelling ads than a software company but you also have to consider the cost of creating great images and videos. If you’ve got the means to create visual ads then you can really make the most of Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
If the visuals are going to be a problem for you, Instagram and YouTube are pretty much of your list although you can make things happen on Facebook with relatively simple visuals.
With Google Ads, LinkedIn and Twitter, you don’t have to worry about the visuals so much. Of course, LinkedIn only really helps you with B2B but Google Ads and Twitter are good for B2C as well.
Are you doing PPC in-house or outsourcing?
If you’re doing PPC in-house, then it’s best to keep things as simple as possible and start with the Google Ads. As we say, this is probably the only ad network that every business is going to want to use and it’s pretty much a requirement for search marketing anyway – so start here and get to grips with things before you think about adding more platforms to your PPC strategy.
If you’re going to be outsourcing your PPC efforts to an agency, then it’s much easier to incorporate multiple platforms into a single strategy. In this case, it’s easy to manage Google Ads and Facebook ads as your all-rounders and then add Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube depending on your needs.
If your still unsure give us a call or message us for an honest chat to help you pinpoint the best platforms to achieve your goals.