Hi Enerica fans and welcome back to another edition of Turning Gears – your window to everything digital. Today, I am going to talk about social advertising platforms – Google, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Some time ago we decided to do a practical study of how far your advertising dollar can go on various platforms, and we looked not only at direct results but also the long term return. This what many advertisers tend to overlook – the staying power of your advertising content and the long tail.

We compared Google Adwords with Facebook and LinkedIn ads. Lots of things have changed since and advertising has gotten more and more expensive as more advertisers have turned to these mediums. For example, Google Adwords cost per click or CPC has almost tripled for some of the keywords. But the principle differences have stayed because they come from the philosophical angle these advertising systems take. This is a quick summary of our study. If you want, you can see our full report. Here are our findings in a nutshell.

Google Adwords

Google has become very expensive in comparison to what it was used to be just a few years ago. Keyword competition is fierce and most common keywords associated with my industry – such as web design – are very expensive. All in all, Google advertising is expensive and complex, but very robust and with a huge reach. It works if you have a unique and popular product or service and work in a local market. The interface feels professional, with excellent reporting tools, great usability, and many various options.

Facebook

My Facebook Ads experience was most satisfying. My cost per click was pretty comparable to Google’s, and the cost per one thousand impressions was even better. Further, I have increased my fan base ready for my future promotions. All users seemed to be legit on close examination. However, some of them were “habitual likers” with up to 2000 liked pages – suspicious!

All in all, Facebook Ads proved to be very effective in building brand recognition. Even if Facebook users do not click on your ad or like your business, they still subconsciously register your brand name through side vision. Research indicates that subconscious recognition works. Even if a user just skimmed over your ad without consciously engaging with it, they may react to your brand more favorably when they see it passing by your business. They may feel familiar with your brand.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a perfect place for your ad if you want to reach strictly professional audiences. It is probably not for you if you are trying to promote your fruit stand, but it definitely was for us since we are in the business of serving other businesses. I also was quite puzzled by the results. My interpretation was that LinkedIn profited from showing my ads as many times as possible in the impressions mode and gave up on my ads in the CPC mode. LinkedIn reporting was primitive and only allowed downloading a CSV report.

In conclusion, for my budget and focus, Facebook was probably the best investment. For the same amount of money I got much better results, but most importantly, I got lasting fans. People liked my business page and interacted with it. They further went onto my website.

There’s a lot of strategy involved in advertising, which could take years to learn. But the biggest bang for my ad dollar was definitely Facebook. I will see you in the next edition of Turning Gears.

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