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Watch Out Google, Facebook Is Gaining in PPC

By - September 18, 2009

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Alex Salkever has written a post on Facebok’s self service CPC platform, which has been getting a lot of traction lately and is largely responsible for the company’s recent boasting about being cash flow positive. From it:

I chatted with nearly two dozen people who are buying ads on Facebook. Many of them are also purchasing ads on Google (GOOG) and other online venues. The overwhelming sentiment? Facebook ads are actually more effective and do a better job of getting them in front of their target audiences.

The piece is worth reading and really contemplating. How many of you use Facebook ads? Do they work better than AdWords?


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10 thoughts on “Watch Out Google, Facebook Is Gaining in PPC

  1. Matt says:

    Interesting.

    With FB’s ever growing user base, getting ads in front of your target audience is becoming easier. FB’s targetting capability is improving – particularly useful is the demographic targetting which you just don’t get with Google PPC (although I’m sure that’s just a matter of time with personal Google profiles increasing)

    However, you have to consider the mindset of the users of each site. I use FB to keep up-to-date with friends. I’m not in the mindset of buying something. I use Google to search for information and products that I’m looking to buy. So I’m more inclined to respond to an ad.

    Will be interesting to compare CTRs and conversion rates from both FB and Google PPC ads. My guess is that both would be lower (way lower in the CTR case) on FB.

  2. remmy says:

    The patents in this area are insane and they will likely be sued into oblivion.

  3. Brad says:

    Google has a lot to worry about here as Facebook connect becomes more powerful and their advertising base gets larger. They will be able to deliver a much more targeted adsense product. Its a meaningful threat in the short term. In the long term, search is in threat given Facebook’s ability to target results based on preferences and friend’s preferences.

  4. Bob says:

    Adwords will always, always win out over Facebook when it comes to conversion rates – as, like the person above states, people go on facebook to network/see what their friends are doing, NOT to buy.

    The only thing that Facebook ads are good for is brand exposure – it will never come anywhere near to the conversion power of adwords.

  5. Lee says:

    If Facebook is able to create an ad platform that responds to my needs over time, it maybe well become more compelling than anything else out there.

  6. Jules says:

    I’m not sure about “Watch Out Google”. But in response to Matt, I find that on Facebook I am constantly scanning pictures, graphics, multimedia. The ads blend pretty seamlessly into that. They have the same calls-to-action as posts from real people (options to Like, Hide etc). Some of them are irritating, yet I continue to notice them. I’m not saying this is a good thing, except from Facebook’s point of view, but when doing search I am in some sort of hardcore information filtering mode, where the ads may as well not even be there. I am so tuned into the quality of information I am reading that they just fall below my radar. This is the result of having spent years using Google as a research tool.

    Contrast that with how I use Facebook — it’s not work, or shopping. Therefore my shields are down and I browse lightly, for entertainment mostly, with casual, less-skeptical eyes. My attitude may change as I become a more sophisticated FB user, but then again I’ve been on the damn thing for 3 years already …

    In concrete terms, I’ve clicked about five ads on FB in the last couple months compared to zilch on Google.

  7. I love Facebook because I don’t have to worry about keyword research, just one less headache. And cheap clicks also.

    Here is one method I like to use on FB. Let’s say you’re promoting ringtones. You assume your demographic would be male and female ages 18-24. Set up multiple adgroups. One for each year, 18yr olds, 19 yr olds, and so on. Also split test male and female. Use multiple ads and images. Tons of ads is the key.

    Find the adgroups that have the highest CTR’s, the higher the better. Try for a CTR of .25. Create a clone of your best performers, using the ‘create similar adgroup’ feature. And then stop all the originals from running. You’re left with the best performers, and consequently dirt cheap clicks.

  8. Jeff Sauer says:

    I have had very poor performance with Facebook so far, mostly stemming from poor quality of traffic generated.

  9. PPC Trainer says:

    Facebook Demographic PPC is kind of like a cross between the highway billboard style of the Google content network PPC and the targeting of the Google search network except the targeting is based on demographics rather than keywords. As a result, you should expect lower CTR’s. But as long as you can get cheap CPC and good conversions relative to your CPC you’re ahead. Plus you can images and video which is pretty cool.
    Cheers!

  10. Reality PPC says:

    Facebook and Adwords are just different. Since most people are used to Adwords they sometimes just switch over to Facebook to test it out. What they don’t do is change their way of doing advertising. You need different approches to make it work.