In this article we will compare the platforms from a PPC marketing / pay-per-click ads point of view, focusing on differences and the demographic data of users.

Contents:

  1. Google Ads
  2. Facebook Ads
  3. Instagram Ads
  4. Waze Ads
  5. LinkedIn Ads
  6. What do we use? Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

Google Ads

Compared to social media platforms, Google and its paid advertising platform, Google Ads, offers different PPC services. At first glance, the audience is the same, but the ad delivery algorithm is different. The user’s decision to buy or to act already exists, and if it’s not well defined it is reinforced through naturally placed ads in the user’s research process. Thanks to the fact that Google owns YouTube, it is able to offer the uniqueness of display ads, in addition to well targeted ads. And this is something that sets Google Ads apart from the competition. Display locations are more numerous and better defined in the same network (YouTube, Gmail, Search, Maps, Play Store etc.).

Ad formats in Google Ads are grouped by objectives:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Website Traffic
  • Product and Brand Consideration
  • Brand Awareness and Reach
  • App installs
  • Local store visits and promotions

For these you can use different types of campaigns with related formats:

  • Search, Display, Shopping, Video, Smart, Discovery, App, Local

In a way or another, grouping the ad formats by objectives and the delimitation to certain format variant obliges to an orderly arrangement of the general PPC strategy, with the possibility of individually setting the desired metrics and audiences.

Using Google Ads platform comes with an important advantage: the users reach potential. In Romania, the search engine is used by an overwhelming percentage of 97.7 of the total users (statcounter.com). Also, 81.6% of mobile data users in Romania use the Android OS and related services (datareportal.com). Unlike social media platforms, setting audiences in Google Ads is more detailed and involves more relevant information regarding the user’s habits.

In most of the cases, when using Google Search, the user is interested to buy or at least he intends to. This means a smaller conversion time, compared to social media platforms.

Google Ads can be used at its full potential for any type of strategy. Generally speaking, being present in Google Search results (SEO/SERP) is a huge benefit for any brand, as it brings brand awareness, but also conversions.

Facebook Ads

With a market share of 72% worldwide and 95.21% in Romania in 2020, Facebook is the most popular social media network in the world (datareportal.com) – making this platform a true universal information portal. However, the competition with Google is tight in the Marketing segment (Ads). For example, for New Brand Discovery, the share is 36% for Google and 27% for Social Media (according to datareportal.com). This means that, at least in Romania, Google is more trustworthy for users when it comes to discovering new brands in the market or to research the respective brands (59% Google vs. 37% Social Media, according to datareportal.com).

The types of paid ads on Facebook are structured according to the purpose they serve:

  • Awareness: advertising for Brand Awareness and Reach
  • Consideration: you can implement ads for TrafficEngagementApp InstallsVideo ViewsLead generation and Messages
  • Conversion: you can implement ads for Conversions, Product Catalogue Sales or for redirecting the audience to your Physical Store.

For these objectives you can use the following ad formats:

  • Single Image (Link ads), Video, Carousel, Instant Experience, Collection

Using Facebook Ads comes with countless benefits. Practically, for a business it comes down to a few ideas, such as:

  • Creating a community around the brand.
  • Efficiently bringing the brand and ads to as many users as possible, with the possibility of personalizing the targeted audience (interests, online behavior, age, location, gender, social and economic status etc.).
  • The flexibility to create an audience similar to the existing customers (Lookalike), based on different actions that the customers have taken towards your business (buy, add to cart, product/ category view, page or ad interaction, specific events etc.).
  • Introducing the brand and the company’s products while being customer oriented, with the purpose of informing the customer, catch his attention and, finally, convincing the customer to buy.
  • More advertising formats compared to other social media platforms.

The differences between Facebook and other platforms are relatively small, but with a different impact when it comes to the final reporting. Because there are different types of ads (assuming that most of the possibilities are used), assigning an event becomes inaccurate.

Out of 10.800.000 Facebook users (2020 – statista.com), the vast majority – 25%, are in the 25-35 age group, followed by the 35-44 age group with 19%, and the 18-25 age group with 18%. According to statista.com, there are no major differences when it comes to the gender of the users (49.6% women vs. 50.4% men). This is an indicator that the main audience for Facebook Ads consists of adults with well-established daily interests, but weak purchasing decision (In-market Audience).

In regard to this platform, our recommendation for businesses, especially start-ups, besides promoting the services provided, is to create an identity, in a simple and effective manner, based on relevant demographics. The campaigns shall be well-structured, according to the purpose and the interests of the users, keeping in mind the competition’s high visibility. In order to be more successful, Facebook Ads shall be backed up by ads on other platforms, such as Google, Instagram, Tik Tok etc. The fact that the user’s purchase decision is weaker compared to their PPC platforms should also be considered. The platform’s main purpose is to inform users, through the Feed, about events and topics they are interested in, about social events and things that happen within their acquaintances circle. Therefore, integrating the ads in this information flow in a non-invasive manner is the key to success.

Instagram Ads

As of December 2020, Instagram has more than 5 million users in Romania, the majority of 34.1% being youth, aged 18 to 24 (according to statista.com), followed by the 25-34 years old age group with 29.7%.

This is an indication that Instagram is situated above Facebook when it comes to a younger audience. Recently launched tools, such as IGTV or Reels, are meant to keep the audience on this social network, detrimental to the interests of another relatively new platform in Romania – Tik Tok.

Unlike Facebook, Instagram emphasizes on the content’s audio-visual impact, and less on data or written content. Therefore, the ad formats are following the same trend. Even though Facebook can be used to target Instagram posts, the ad formats for the two platforms are not entirely the same.

Paid advertising on Instagram is based on the following formats:

  • Single Image, Video, Carousel, Stories, Carousel, Slideshow, Stories Image, Stories Video

Although similar to Facebook, the benefit of running ads on Instagram is the fact that the content is delivered in a more natural way and somehow is more focused on the ad itself rather than on the user’s behavior after interacting with the ad.

On Instagram, audiences and results are more volatile compared to those on Facebook (where everything can be measured in a more specific way), although the platform has a community of more than 5 million users (in Romania). Instagram uses the same performance measurement system as Facebook, but with fewer metrics.

Similar to Facebook Ads, the purpose of Instagram’s paid ads is to influence a user’s decision regarding an action or a purchase, unlike Google Ads, where the user has already made up his mind before using the search engine. As a result, Instagram is best used for product showcase and brand awareness, but also for building a community around the brand, which is more stable in terms of loyalty, compared to Facebook. Ad content and quality is the key to success on this social network.

The young audience is the most important factor to consider in the PPC strategy, as we are mainly talking about a public aged 18 to 35.

Waze Ads

Waze is Google’s navigation app and it is based on Google Maps.

The implementation of PPC ads in this app is a relatively new approach, compared to the other PPC platforms. As we are talking about a navigation app, the advertising campaigns focus on the physical locations of the brands / companies.

For PPC advertising on Waze, there are four different types of formats that can be used:

  • Branded pins – A virtual billboard indicating the brand’s physical location along the user’s route.
  • Promoted search – The brand’s locations are displayed when users are searching for points of interest or for keywords related to the brand’s specifics.
  • Zero-speed takeovers – Digital signs displayed when the user’s car stands still for more than 4 seconds. This format can be used for brand awareness, without necessarily connecting the advertisement to a physical location.
  • Nearby arrow – An arrow indicating the presence of the nearby brand location, appearing when the user launches the app.

The benefit of using this app for PPC purposes is directing the user’s intention towards a physical location of the business. The ads can be customized with banners and written content, plus a few call-to-action button options. Ads are smoothly integrated into the app’s interface, in a non-invasive manner. This aspect is very important for Waze, as the developer wants the app to maintain its initial purpose, which is helping drivers navigate.

Therefore, on Waze, PPC is suitable for businesses with physical location, but it can also be used for brand awareness, through the Zero-speed takeover ad format. The 4 formats mentioned above can build a natural purchase / action intention, without being perceived as invasive by users.

LinkedIn Ads

A hub for potential employees and employers, LinkedIn became a niched social media platform, with relevant information on B2B and B2B2C models.

The platform’s architecture is similar to that of Facebook. Simply put, the user can create a profile, access information in a feed and build a network consisting of followers or acquaintances.

LinkedIn’s PPC services are integrated in the user’s feed in a natural manner, in a way that doesn’t go too far away from the company’s initial purpose – to centralize and search for info related to partnerships, collaborations, employment and services available on a certain market.

PPC ad formats that can be used on LinkedIn are:

  • Sponsored Content – Sponsored post or update targeting clear interests and audiences.
  • Sponsored Messaging – A sponsored, personalized message aiming to interact directly with the targeted audience.
  • Text Ads – Small ad format, placed on the side of the feet, with the possibility to attach a 50×50 pixels image.
  • Dynamic Ads – Dynamically delivered ads, based on the user’s interests and profile data.

Besides the fact that LinkedIn PPC ads can be naturally integrated in the feed, the benefit of using it is the fact that these ads can reach companies or users with well-defined purchasing interests and clear intentions. Obviously, it is recommended to align the business’s niche to the general flow of the targeted audience.

LinkedIn PPC campaigns are performant and have a major impact when used by service providers or by businesses that want to create networking brand awareness.

What do we use? Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

Both Google Ads and Facebook ads offer a real-estate variety when it comes to paid advertising – PPC.

It is recommended to run campaigns on both platforms at the same time, especially if we are talking about a new brand in the market or a rebranding / remodeling campaign.

The reach offered by Facebook for new audience and traffic campaigns can be reinforced with a presence in Google search results. This is a natural pseudo guerilla-marketing strategy, where the choice is in the user’s hands.

Together, Google Ads and Facebook metrics can provide clear guidance on the main audience of a business – just as the website’s traffic coming from the two sources can be quantified and segmented across different demographics.

Targeting interests on Facebook draws attention from an unfiltered audience, while Google targeting can strengthen and direct the users, who, already caught in the algorithm, manifest their wish to purchase or act, as well as their interests, towards a certain type of product, niche or service.

Summarizing, developing a PPC strategy on both platforms can bring much more data on the potential and existing customers, who can be retargeted from one source to another.

As for the brand visibility, combining two marketing channels, Facebook Ads and Google Ads – the most used platforms in Romania – is a strategy that increases and strengthens the brand visibility and trust

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