When it comes to advertising online, it can be overwhelming. There are many avenues to choose from, each with its own range of options to maximise your online presence. So much so, that determining which one is right for your business can result in a lengthy and mind-boggling experience. Luckily, we have expertise in this area and this article will explore exactly what the difference is between Google, Facebook and Instagram advertising, how they work and how to choose the one that is best for you.
Google is a wonderful tool for businesses; think about it. Whenever someone needs a service, or wants to find something, most often the first place they turn to its Google. It has all of the answers. The trick to getting the most out of Google for your business, though, is ranking high so that you are on the first page. Consider this: how many times have you ever gone to the second page of search results and found something you could use? It would be a comparatively small number because Google does such a good job of putting what you need on the first page. That is where you want your business to be.
So how do you get there? There are two ways that you can achieve first page status in Google searches. The first is through Paid Advertising (Google Ads). It works on the premise of you creating an ad that is linked to your business, aligning it with certain keywords and phrases that match your company (e.g. for an online shoe store you might use: shoes, cheap shoes online, cheap shoes Australia, etc. These are phrases people use to search), and then setting up a daily budget. The best thing about Google Ads is that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and goes through to your website. So, you are getting highly targeted traffic coming to your site, people who have actively searched for something that your business can provide. You can turn this off when you need, and it is instant; you can have ads running and directing new traffic to your website today, if you want.
The second way to advertise on Google is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO works by using the content on your website to rank it for certain keywords/phrases. For example, if you were that online shoe store we mentioned before, your website would have lots of content about shoes, and everything that goes with them. Therefore, when someone searches for shoes (or related products) your site would show up. But showing up on the first page takes time. It is a long-term strategy but once established is well worth the wait because the traffic will eventually come in free of charge. To get this high ranking there are many elements to consider, and most of them are far beyond what a busy business owner needs to know. This is where you can enlist the help of an SEO expert. In the meantime, consider these things to help your ranking:
- Create fresh, original content every day or at least every few days
- Have links to social media sites on your website (the more online links you have the higher the chances of Google software finding you)
- Fill out all the company details on the website, especially the About Us section
- Link to other websites/blogs that complement your site (but that do not take business away)
Given the two different options for Google advertising, there is something there for each stage of your business, to drive targeted traffic to your website (which means they are actively looking for services that you provide). This results in a higher chance that they will engage in your services, or purchase your products.
Facebook has an advertising platform that businesses can use to showcase their company to the world of Facebook users. And it is a big audience, with over 2 billion monthly users worldwide. If you are an online, internationally trading business, this is fantastic news. Imagine if you could entice just 0.0001% of that market to engage in business with you this year; that would be 200,000 new customers. What would that do for your business?
Facebook ads work in a very similar way to Google ads, in that you create an ad (for your Facebook page or website) and set a budget. Instead of choosing keywords, however, you choose other elements that relate to your business. For example, you can choose:
- Where people live (great for local, store-based businesses)
- Their gender and age
- What jobs they have
- What they are interested in (shoes, shopping, specific brands, etc.)
These things mean that your advertising is targeted towards people who are more likely to want to use your services, rather than just advertising to everybody and hoping that someone will be interested. The difference between this and Google advertising though, is that the people you show the ads to are not necessarily looking for your service at that particular time (as opposed to Google where people are already in the right frame of mind to engage with your business), so it is still cold-calling advertising and you will need to create your ad in a way that sells and captivates their attention.
There are many options for advertising on Facebook, including text, image and video ads. If you are a Facebook user you most likely will have seen ads in your news feed. One advantage of Facebook advertising over Google, is that if someone’s friends have liked, shared or viewed it they are more likely to see it and engage with it, too. This is because Facebook is social media; if someone sees your ad and takes action with it (like or share) then their friends will see it, too. And those friends are more likely to engage and then their friends will see it, and on it goes. Your ability to obtain great exposure is higher on Facebook, than Google.
Instagram advertising is very similar to Facebook advertising; you create an ad (video, image or text), select the audience you want to see it and set your daily budget. In fact, Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns can be linked so that the creation of one ad is seen on both platforms.
The difference between advertising on Instagram and Facebook is the audiences; people who use Instagram might be different from those who use Facebook, and the interests to each might be different, too. This means that when used together, both platforms can reach a wide audience of potentially interested people.
Instagram has limits on the advertising content, though. For example, a video can only be up to 15 seconds long. This is because of the way the Instagram platform, and news feed/stories, are set up. But, this can be a good thing; it means you must be clear, concise and engaging with your message. You do not have time to be ordinary! If you already have an Instagram account for your business, it is worth looking into.
Which One Is Right For My Business?
The short answer is all of them!
Each one of these advertising mediums has something to offer your business, so you need to consider:
- Are you an online or location-based business?
- Do you sell internationally or need people to come into your store?
- Do you need traffic now, or can it wait?
- How much money does your advertising budget include?
- How much time do you have to learn about these platforms?
Each one of these answers will determine which platform(s) you begin with.
Every business could benefit from all three platforms; it will just determine the size of the audience you will reach. Online and internationally trading businesses will be able to reach many more potential customers than those businesses who can only service people within a certain location.
Google advertising is great for those businesses that need local traffic; the paid ads will provide you with people specifically looking for your service in their area and the SEO will bring you up on the first page according to their location. There are also Google Places, Maps/Location and Google Business pages that local businesses can utilise to help their rankings in the search engine, and they are all free. It should be your first advertising platform.
If you need to start generating traffic to your website today, then start with Google Paid Advertising. It can be up and running within minutes and bringing new customers your way. You can even leave it running while you explore the other options.
If your budget is low, start with Google Paid Advertising, too. You can set your budget for as little as $2 a day, and increase/decrease as you need. You can also stop it at any point. It will bring in the most bang for your buck to get you started on your advertising campaign. While that is running, do everything you can to get natural, organic ranking on Google. This includes filling out details on your website, uploading fresh content and taking advantage of all the business tools Google has to offer (Google Places, etc.). After that, look at Facebook advertising. You can have a small budget here, too.
If you have enough funds, now is a good time to invest in an SEO expert. The process to get to the first page can take a few months, if not more, so the sooner you get someone working on it, the better. You can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 per month for this service, but the results are long-lasting. You can always have Paid Advertising running in the meantime, to bring in traffic.
If you do not have time to sit and learn about each of these platforms (and honestly who really does?) then start with Google Paid Advertising (relevant traffic) or Facebook Paid Advertising and have something in motion while you find someone who can help. This can be a social media marketing expert, an SEO expert or one of your employees who can spend time researching and trialling each of the different platforms. Outsourcing marketing is never a bad idea; just know what you are getting for the price.
Each of the platforms mentioned above has many benefits to offer every business, and their reach is far ranging to bring you customers and increase your bottom-line. Try not to be overwhelmed, start with one and master it. Measure the results it brings you to see if it is working and go from there.