A few days before Facebook's initial public offering (. New companies weren't seriously measured by their revenues and profits. The metric most frequently cited by stock analysts was the eyeball count. In other words, how many visitors clicked on a company's website. The theory was that this was the best indication of growth and that all those eyeballs would eventually be converted into more sales. When the bubble burst, it became obvious that more eyeballs didn't necessarily translate into more customers.
When deciding where to get the most bang for the advertiser's buck, there are a variety of online options. Google AdWords, Facebook Advertising, Google Display Network, LinkedIn Direct Ads and Mobile Advertising are among the best. Facebook is banking on a shift of advertisers away from search ads and towards the social-based ads that it offers. Recent data shows that that premise is flawed because the number of Google ads clicked rose 42% from a year ago. That's significant because that rate is twice the size of Google's revenue growth rate.
In a relatively short period, there is an impressive array of statistical firsts for Facebook.
- 552 million daily active users
The challenge is to translate Facebook's huge user community into a viable customer community. Facebook maintains a significant user database that includes hometowns, education, interests, likes, marital status and much more. Armed with those demographics, Facebook can easily target ads to groups of any size or makeup. Clicks on the site are effective in driving awareness and traffic to other social media content. Google's pay-per-click model doesn't offer equivalent demographic targeting offered by Facebook. While Google knows what you're searching for, Facebook knows a lot about what you might search for before you even start.
Cost and Performance Comparison
RYP Marketing compiled data that compares Google AdWords to Facebook. This data provides a snapshot of how these two platforms performed head-to-head. Based on RYP's tests, Facebook is delivering better-qualified results with higher return on investment compared to traditional search ads in some sectors.
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- Facebook ads average cost per lead was 17% less than AdWords
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- Facebook ads average cost per lead was 37% less than AdWords
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- Facebook ads average cost per lead was 11% less than Google AdWords
- Cost per lead and conversion rate were slightly better with AdWords than with Facebook ads
The Bottom Line
Online advertising provides a cost-effective method to deliver powerful brand messages to a very specific audience. That kind of penetration isn't available from other media platforms whose messaging is weakened by the size and composition of diluted demographics. Facebook can slice and dice each segment of its user community. Its users are typically Internet savvy and spend substantial time on the site. With all online advertising growing, direct messaging to this vast audience is a valuable marketing tool that most businesses can't ignore.
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