How to Use Google Grants and AdWords for Non-Profits: Important Changes You Should Be Aware of in 2018

Did you know that Google offers ad grants for non-profit an charity organizations in Canada, allowing them to run their AdWords with a budget of $10,000 per month? If you run a charity or non-profit, this is something you have to take advantage of – it’s free advertising and drives targeted traffic to your site (if you set it up right!).  

  • First, you need a Tech Soup account  and registration – which verifies your non-profit status and eligibility
  • Once that is approved, you can then set up your new Google account and apply to manage your grants ads.

Google Ad Grant Changes for Non-Profits

Over the years, 35,000 non-profits have set up Ad Grant AdWords accounts, and it has been a popular offering, but recently though, Google has been rolling out a slew of changes that govern how ads are set up in the Grants program.

Out-Smarts: How to Use Google Grants and AdWords for Non-Profits: Important Changes You Should Be Aware of in 2018
How to Use Google Grants and AdWords for Non-Profits

I am guessing these changes are because many organizations were lax about maintaining their ads –  setting up accounts, campaigns and groups and then not maintaining their accounts well or keeping up with the new features Google has rolled out over the last couple of years like ad extensions. It could also be because some non-profits didn’t set up their accounts properly in the first place (for example not using geographical audience targeting).

As a result of these changes which were announced in December and went into effect earlier this month, non-profits are scrambling to review their ad campaigns and make them compliant – if they don’t, they risk having their ad account cancelled.

The good news is that there will no longer be the USD 2 ad bid cap which means that non-profits can bid more competitively and show up higher than ever before. There are some caveats though.

The New Google Grants AdWords Rules for 2018:

  • The two dollar bid cap has been removed
  • Advertisers must use maximum conversions bidding – this automatically sets your bidding so that you maximize the conversions of your campaign given your budget (for non-profits that about $333 per day). This means setting up conversions on Google and tracking them using two snippets of code that get added to your site and to the page you want to track.
  • Advertisers must use geographical targeting aka geo-targeting – this simply means that your ads must be targeted to your geographic area and not blanket targeted to broad geographical areas where you don’t operate.
  • Each campaign must have at least 2 Ad Groups that are live.
  • Each ad group must have at least 2 ad variations running.
  • Each ad must have a minimum of 2 site link extensions – site link extensions are links and titles that show up below your ads highlighting important aspects of your business and encouraging people to click through to specific web pages on your site.
  • Your account must show a CTR of at least 5% or your account could be cancelled. This is the rule is the one that everyone is panicking about, but if your campaigns are set up properly with keywords that are tight (specific to what your non-profit does), and you’re not bidding on words that don’t relate to your ad text, you should see your CTR increase.

Ten Tips to Help Non-Profits Comply with the Google Ad Grant Changes:

  1. Have specific campaigns for each component of your non-profit business using specific keywords, both in the keywords themselves and in your ad text and landing pages.
  2. Stop using keywords that are too generic – low-quality keywords.
  3. Conversely, don’t have ad groups that only have one keyword.
  4. Work to create better, target keyword centric ad copy.
  5. Make sure that your landing pages map back to your ad campaigns and groups and that everything works as it should on the page so that visitors convert once the land on your site.
  6. Set up conversion tracking and make sure that you are tracking conversions after people click through to your site.
  7. Use Google Analytics to understand campaign traffic, keywords that are driving visits from people who engage once they land on your site, and bid adjustments.
  8. Don’t use keywords that mention your competitors or other companies.
  9. Implement your changes now, if your CTR is less than 5% for two consecutive months your account could be suspended.
  10. If you don’t have the expertise in-house to make these changes, or the budget to hire experts then consider switching to AdWords Express.

Google Grants can be a great asset to a cash-strapped charity or non-profit organization. Done right, your campaigns can drive targeted traffic to your site, but your site has to deliver too. It is worth taking time to create great landing pages that convert once your visitor lands on them.

If you’re one of the non-profits that have neglected their campaigns over the years, this is the perfect time to restructure them and to take advantage of some of the great enhancements Google has been rolling out recently.

If you are concerned about your non-profit ads and don’t know where to start, we’d love to review them for you and make some recommendations. Get in touch with us here.

 


Marketing Predictions and Digital Trends for 2018

Ten years into the great social media experiment and 2017 was the year we saw Facebook hit the 2 billion user mark, the proliferation of real-time video across social platforms and the continuing email renaissance. With 2018 coming up fast upon us what better time to reflect on the past year, to dust off the crystal ball and to predict what 2018 will bring for marketers.

This post is divided into five sections to mirror the disciplines Out-Smarts focuses on websites trends, SEO – getting found when people search online, email marketing, social media and overall marketing strategy.

Website Design Trends

We know that Google is going to continue to emphasize the importance of mobile in 2018 so expect to see function taking precedence over form with a focus on usability and minimalist site navigation and content proliferating. It’s going to be interesting to see how the content is king crusaders balance their obsession with publishing content with minimalism and mobile. Expect to see more valuable content related to buyer intent rather than simply content for the sake of putting something out there.

Will 2018 be the year when small businesses finally catch up? 50% of small businesses still don’t have a website; we’re hoping this new year will be the one the laggards finally catch up. It is interesting that social media adoption for small business is much higher than website adoption. The popularity of social media is likely because of a low barrier to entry of social platforms. However, it is important to consider that you don’t own your Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter pages (or any other social media presence you might have) the social media company owns it. What happens if they switch directions or go out of business? A website belongs to your business, not to a third party.

Watch out for more animation (logos in particular) and websites that incorporate GIFs in 2018 too – hopefully, they’re less cheesy than their Flash predecessors. Artificial Intelligence is going to be everywhere in 2018 too as enhancements make Chatbots get better and better at answering questions and simulating conversations with website visitors.

Search Engine Optimisation

Don’t let anyone tell you that keyword research is no longer important. It is and will continue to be, but there will be a shift in 2018 to focus more on semantic search, buyer intent and topics rather than specific keywords. SEOs will focus more on having their site show up at the right time when people are actually considering a purchase, rather than having the site show up to attract particular personas.

Another aspect that should be on your SEO radar in 2018 is voice search which means you need to hone your long tail keywords, i.e. keyword phrases that are hyper-specific to what you are selling.

Image search will continue to grow in 2018 so now might be the time to make sure all the images on your website have well thought out and optimized alt tags.

Email Campaigns

The email renaissance will continue in 2018. Get ready to watch videos embedded directly in email campaigns. Technological enhancements in email clients will continue to lead to more and more email apps that support embedded video. Right now less than half of all email clients can play embedded videos but thanks to Apple mail, iOS and Samsung this is changing. Up until now, most senders have opted to embed a fake play button in the email with a link to the video on a separate site or by GIF.

Including video in emails can lead to big increases in open rates – Campaign Monitor

Watch for more sophistication in list segmentation too. Segmenting campaigns so that specific audiences receive emails that contain content tailored to their unique perspective.

Social Media

2017 was the year of streaming video in social media; LinkedIn In and Twitter followed Facebook Live’s lead and began supporting live streaming video content. In 2018 watch out for growing adoption of these technologies and more creative live streams.

Over 8 billion videos or 100 million hours of videos are watched on Facebook every day (TechCrunch, 2016). – via Buffer

Not doing short video is not an option – Kat Hahn

In 2018 we will also see the increased adoption of short-lived content, content that’s only available for a short period of time before it disappears, – like Instagram stories and Snapchat. Marketers must start developing strategies to maximize the reach and impact of ephemeral content as well as considering tactics to get this content noticed.

On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, only a tiny percentage of followers actually see the content you share on your page. To get noticed in 2018, you will need to invest in ads on these platforms. Consider video ads to spice things up a little.

Social media analytics, measuring tools and management solutions will become more sophisticated in 2018 with an emphasis on enterprise social marketing integrating all platforms.

How Marketing Strategies will Evolve in 2018

2018

I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that 2018 will be the year that our obsession with all things digital and only digital will end. It’s also going to be the year we’re going to start calling our discipline marketing again (rather than digital). Marketing in 2018 will encompass all aspects of the marketing mix, both online and off and marketers will use the means most likely to help them attract their target audience.

Consider this, there are 65 million business pages on Facebook, 90% of businesses use social media. These are substantial numbers, but for marketers this means that it is becoming increasingly difficult, not to mention more expensive, to get noticed. If you want to attract your target audience’s attention in 2018, then widen your horizons and consider sending them a direct mail piece (depending on the audience) in a nice coloured envelope with handwritten wording. It will likely be the only physical mail the recipient gets that day (or maybe that week or month!), they’re going to open it, and if your copy is effective they will act on it!

Conclusion

2018 is going to be an interesting year; technological advancements will continue to speed up. To be effective as marketers, it’s going to be important not simply to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing but to consider options strategically and with your target audience in mind (rather than from a product or service-centric perspective). That said, video popularity has been growing year over year and won’t stop. Cisco predicted that video would account for 80% of internet traffic by 2020. So if you do nothing else, consider how you might incorporate video into your digital approach in 2018.


How Does Facebook Pixel Work – Getting Set Up

Advertising on Facebook is becoming more and more sophisticated to the point that you now have many different options to help you build your audience, get followers attention and drive traffic to your website.

If your goal from advertising on Facebook is to drive website traffic and conversions, then installing and taking advantage of Facebook Pixel is a must.

What is Facebook Pixel

The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads.

The features and benefits of Facebook Pixel include:

  • Ability to track customers across devices
  • More effective targeting
  • Create custom audiences for retargeting
  • Uncover niche segments that are similar to your current ones
  • Dynamic remarketing of ads – people who visit your site will see your ads on Facebook
  • Audience insights

Getting started with Facebook Pixel

To install Facebook Pixel, go to the link below to create your Facebook Pixel.

https://www.facebook.com/ads/manager/pixel/facebook_pixel

Facebook Pixel Set Up

There are 2 types of code you have to install on your site to complete this process.

  • The first is the pixel base code that goes on all of your pages.
  • The second is the event code which you place on certain pages that you want to track specifically.

Creating Your Facebook Pixel

Facebook is going to step you through a process to set up your pixel and to get the codes for your site.

Facebook Pixel SetUp

Installing Facebook Base Pixel on Your Website

The next step is to choose which method you want to use to install the Pixel on your site:

1. Using a tag manager
2. Copy and paste the code

In order for your Pixel to work, you must copy and paste the code into your website. This cookie allows your site to send information back to Facebook and measures visits and where people go on your site.

We prefer to copy and paste the code into the website rather than using a tag manager because that way you have more control over things that can go wrong but if you are not familiar with the code of your site you might want to go with the first option. There are also several WordPress plugins that facilitate this.

Facebook Pixel Code

Facebook generates a handy dandy Facebook Pixel ID and instructions to send to your webmaster. The code has to go on every page of your site for it to work properly. The best way to do this is to install it in your header file somewhere between the <header> and </header> and before the <body> tag.

Facebook Pixel Set Up

Pixel Events Code

The Facebook Pixel events code tracks specific actions on your pages. The first thing you need to think about is your website’s call to action – what is it that you want people to do on your site? There are 3 options in the setup process.
  • Basic – lets you track events and optimize for conversions based on people who take action on your site.
  • Recommended – includes all of the above along with basic parameters providing additional data and measurement parameters.
  • Advanced – adds an extra layer to include product level granularity (i.e product type, style).
Here are the standard Facebook Pixel options:
  • View content
  • Search
  • Add to basket
  • Add to wishlist
  • Initiate checkout
  • Add payment info
    Make purchase
  • Lead
  • Complete registration
Choose the most appropriate of these depending on your goals for website traffic, conversions and what it is you want to track.
Facebook Pixel Events

Once these pieces of code have been installed on your site you will get a Facebook notification.

Facebook Pixel Notification

You can check to see if your Pixel is working by going to your Facebook Ads Manager. There you will notice a new Pixel tab.


Click on it to see your Pixel Fires (total amount of pixel activity in the date range).

Facebook Pixel Chart

 

To troubleshoot or validate your Pixel set up, there’s a useful Chrome add-on called Facebook Pixel Helper.

Facebook Pixel - Helper

Facebook Pixel Next Steps

Now that you’re all set up with Pixel, it’s time to create audiences and track conversions.

Create Audience

This allows you to target your Facebook ads to audiences of people who have visited your website and lets you remarket to them.

From your Facebook Ads Manager click on Pixel then on the ‘Create Audience’ button. Audience options include:Facebook Pixel - Audience

• Anyone who visits your site
• People who visit specific pages
• People who visit specific pages but not others
• People who have visited in a certain amount of time
• Or, you can create your own custom combo.

Decide which option best fits your needs, name your audience and that’s it. You are ready to create your first remarketing ad on Facebook but first, you have to wait till your custom audience is big enough.

Create Conversion

From your Facebook Ads Manager, click on Pixel then again on the ‘Create Conversion’ button.

This time you have 2 options:

  1. Track conversions with standard events – use this if you simply want to track and optimize conversions and build your audience.
  2. Track custom conversions – use this if you can’t use standard events on your site or if you want to split conversions on your site.

Facebook Pixel Conversions

Related articles and resources on Facebook Pixel:

Learn about Facebook Ads

Facebook Pixel Implementation Guide

 

 


How to Advertise on Facebook – Updated

Okay, so you’ve developed a presence on Facebook for your business and want to start using Facebook Ads, but where do you start? How do you advertise on Facebook? When you start delving into Facebook’s advert guides, it can all feel a bit confusing, but don’t fret! We are here to help guide you through the process. Since our last post about how to advertise on Facebook, their Adverts are still a very strong tool, but now with more options. Follow these tips and you will be up and be advertising on Facebook in no time.

Facebook Reach / Audience

Before we begin, let’s take a look at Facebook’s stats, which are quite impressive. Back in April of 2012, Facebook bought Instagram and as a result, it has opened up your reach to a wider audience. This means you can link your business’ Instagram page to your Facebook Advert account and your ad will automatically show up on both platforms. Together Facebook and Instagram have almost 2 billion users visiting their sites each month. Even with competitors like Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat, Facebook is still number one when it comes to the number of users and potential consumers.

Do You Have a Facebook Business Page?

Before you start, make sure you have a Facebook Business Page as you cannot create ads via your personal Facebook page. While there are a number of ways to access Facebook ads, we recommend signing up for “Business Manager” and creating an “Adverts Manager” account to design and manage your ads. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that it allows businesses to give access to multiple people working together on an advert campaign and to easily see who is working on what. You can even assign your employees specific role-based access to adverts in order to control what they can see on your account. Once you’ve signed up for an Adverts Manager account it will walk you through each step.

Determine Your Marketing Objective

Every campaign starts with an objective so determine what yours is. Not sure? Facebook helps you determine your marketing objective by defining each type of objective they offer to help guide you to the outcome you want for your campaign. When you are setting up your ad campaign, you will see a list of all the possible objectives (see image below). You can click on each objective for its definition to help you decide which one is best for you and your business goals.

For more detailed information, read Facebook’s “Advertising Objectives” article in their help section.

Some of these options offer what Facebook calls a “split test” which is also known as A/B Testing. It allows you to create two adverts to test and compare which one does better. Speaking of testing, it’s always a good idea to test two adverts at the same time. They should only have one to two different variables such as different images. Run them for 1-2 days and see which one does better.

Define Your Audience & Advert Placements

After you have identified your objective, the next step is to identify your target audience. Facebook makes it easy and steps you through the process. This is where you will spend most of your time defining whom it is you want to reach with your ads.

Facebook Audiences

You choose your audience based on demographics, their behaviours, interests, and/or their contact information. There is a handy-dandy Audience definition (graph) to the right-hand side of the audience page (see the image below for an example). Use it to gauge how well you’ve defined your target audience. It will tell you the difference between how many people you are actually reaching versus how many people you could be reaching. To reach more of your targeted audience, increase your bids and budget.

Facebook Audience SelectionYou can also choose where your adverts will be placed or you can let Facebook automatically select this for you. We recommend that you select “Automatic Placements” when you first start out. The available placements are:

  • Facebook feeds (mobile and desktop)
  • Facebook right-hand column
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network

Know Your Ad Budget

It’s important to know your budget before you start creating your advert campaign. Facebook has an ad for every budget making it affordable for everyone. It’s also important to know that there are two different types of budgets: Daily Budgets and Lifetime Budgets.

A Daily Budget is what you’re willing to pay for an ad per day. What you spend on the first and last days are prorated depending on the run time for those days. Meaning what time did the ad start on day one and what time did it end on the last day. Those two times may be different which is why the cost is prorated. The default minimum cost per day is still $1.00 for Daily Budgets. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be charged $1.00 every day your campaign runs. For example, one day it might be $1.50 and another day $0.50 to maintain an average daily budget of $1.00. You can increase your daily budget to improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Remember, Facebook will always let you know the maximum amount you’ll spend during your campaign, so you don’t have to worry about going over budget.

A Lifetime Budget is what you’re willing to pay over the duration (lifetime) of an ad. Facebook tries to apply your budget evenly over the length of time the ad runs. The default minimum cost for Lifetime Budgets is $30.00, and like the Daily Budget, you can increase it to any amount you want which will improve your ad’s exposure and reach. Whether your ad runs for a week or a month, the cost will be at what you set it.

If you are just starting out, using the default Daily Budget option of $1.00 or even increasing it to $5.00 is more than enough to test the waters and see what works and what doesn’t. You can always change your budget once you’ve figured out which ad campaigns have worked the best for you.

Schedule Your Ad

Don’t forget to choose a schedule. There are two options:

  1. Run my advert set continuously starting today.
  2. Set a start and end date.

It’s up to you which option you choose, but if you’re someone who is a tad forgetful, then choose a specific time range. You can always stop the ad whenever you want. Remember the length of time your ad runs, also affects your budget. The longer it runs, the higher the cost. We recommend that you run an ad for no more than 3 weeks as Facebook ads tend to get stale by that point. You can always replace it with a new ad campaign with fresh images and text.

If you’re wondering how Facebook determines the cost of their ads, well it’s a bit complex and it doesn’t help that Facebook is constantly adjusting their formula. The exact cost associated with your advert being shown to someone is determined in Facebook’s Advert Auction. To learn more about it, read “Understanding how bidding and our ads auction work.”

Choose a Facebook Advert Format

Facebook adverts offer more format options than ever before. There are five to choose from: Carousel, single image, single video, slideshow, or Canvas. While most of these formats are self-explanatory, Carousel and Canvas are not.

Carousel lets you show up to 10 images and/or videos in a single ad. When people view your ad, they can scroll through the carousel cards. One of the benefits of Carousel is that it lets businesses tell a story through carousel cards or to showcase one long image that is divided between the carousel cards.

Canvas is Facebook’s newest format and it allows you to combine both images and video. You can tell a more in-depth story about your products and/or services. It is customizable and there is no one way to create a Canvas ad. If you choose to design a Canvas ad, it’s best to plan in advance what type of experience you want to create for the viewer and to have all your media materials ready in advance.

Facebook Advert Formats

Your ad will appear on desktop, mobile news feed, feature phone, and Instagram, so it’s important to follow Facebook’s guidelines when designing your ad. You want to ensure it looks good everywhere it appears whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram or your mobile phone. Listed below are the recommended design guidelines to ensure your ad displays the way you want it to:

  • Recommended image size: 1,200 x 628 pixels
  • Image ratio: 1.9:1
  • Text: 90 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters
  • Your images should have minimal amounts of text. Facebook adverts that contain images with little to no text tend to cost less and have better delivery than adverts with image text. So, what count’s as text in your advert image? Logos, watermarks, and numbers.

For a comprehensive list of design guidelines for each marketing objective, read Facebook’s “Adverts Guide.”

It’s easy to use your own images. Just remember to size them properly beforehand otherwise, they won’t upload or they will be cropped. Don’t have any of your own photos? You can use the free stock images provided by Shutterstock via Facebook.

There are three areas on your advert to add text: Text, Headline, and Link Description. You don’t have to use all of them. What text you include is up to you, but it’s always a good idea to have a call to action. You can even use Facebook’s “Call to Action” button which offers a number of options such as contact us, learn more, download, signup, and etc.

You now have the option to add a Facebook Pixel to your ad campaigns. The Facebook Pixel is a piece of code that you install on your website. It allows you to more effectively measure the performance of your ad campaigns and it helps you determine exactly who sees your ads. Learn more about it in our blog post, “How do Facebook Pixels Work – Getting Set Up.”

While designing your ad, there is an advert preview pane to the right that updates every time you make a change. There is also a drop down menu that shows you what your ad looks like on other platforms or you can use the arrow buttons to scroll through. You can experiment with your ad’s format, images, videos and text until you are satisfied with the results. You can make your advert as fancy or simple as you like.

Tracking The Results of Your Facebook Ads

Okay, so you’ve created your ad, hit the “Place Your Order” button and it has been reviewed and accepted by Facebook. What’s next? Track and measure the performance of your advert campaign using Facebook’s adverts analytics tools. Information is presented in easy and simple visual reports. Your report includes topics such as reach, actions taken, details on the audience that you reached and more. Reports are also tailored based on which marketing objective you chose. Use these analytic tools to determine if your campaign was a success and met your objectives and goals. The data can also inform your future campaigns.

Are you ready to get started? Need help? Just let us know. Facebook ad creation and management is just one of the many services we provide.

About the writer: Gloria Botelho is a practicum student from the Digital & Mobile Marketing program at Simon Fraser University. Gloria lives in East Van and is obsessed with cats, flowers, street art and all things Portuguese. You can follow her on Twitter @glorbot and on Instagram @gloria_boria.

Related Articles: How to Advertise on Facebook

Related Articles: Facebook Ads – Don’t Get Dinged


Google Adwords Express and Adwords

Did you know that there are two versions of Google’s advertising platform Adwords? There’s full blown Google Adwords and Google Express. They are both really similar but Adwords Express is designed to make it easy for you to set up your ads. Managing your ads easy is because you don’t have to – it’s all automated.

If you don’t have a website then Google Adwords Express is the way to go as it allows you to advertise your Google+ page on Google and Google Maps. It might also be the right solution if you have a small budget, want to spread a wide and targeted net and you don’t have a clue about (or don’t want to learn how) to manage your bids. But beware, with Express Google decides the keywords your ads show up for and you have no insight into how much bids cost.

Benefits of Adwords:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • Full control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords, and how your account is structured
  • Targeted by geography – can reach people anywhere
  • Access different ad formats and reports on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.

Benefits of Adwords Express:

  • Pay when someone clicks on your ad
  • No control in choosing keywords, bidding on those keywords or how your account is structured
  • Advertise on Google, Google Maps, and partner sites.
  • You can reach people anywhere

If you want full control over the search words your ads appear for, or if you want to manage how much you bid for those keywords then Adwords is the best option.

Adwords Express is a way to test the waters and to find out how Google’s advertising platform works but if you are serious about advertising on Google, full blown Adwords is the only way to go. Adwords can be quite complex but it’s easy to learn yourself if you have time to dedicate to it, if not consider outsourcing (hint – we do that!).

Switching From Express to Adwords

When you are setting up a new advertising account Google really wants you to set up an Express account so it is easy to set up Express accidentally. If you started out with Express and now want to move to the full blown Adwords to take advantage of full functionality, the best way to switch from Adwords Express to Adwords is by calling Google support.  Here’s a link that will help you with that.

If you set up Adwords Express by mistake you can cancel the account by clicking on the Settings Cog at the top right of your screen after login then clicking on preferences in the left hand sidebar and scrolling down to the bottom of the page where you will see the ‘Account Cancellation’ option. However if you do this then try to set up a fill blown Adwords account using the same email address you might not be able to. Best to call support!

Using Adwords Express and Adwords Together

Using both of these at the same time is not recommended, there are no benefits from doing so and it will make it more complicated to keep track of everything and to manage your campaigns.

 

 

 

 


Why You Need to Advertise Online

Here at Out-Smarts, we’re big fans of online advertising. We like the fact that it’s affordable, traceable and tailored to your target audience – meaning you’re not spending important advertising dollars to get your ad in front of people who don’t have a need or want for your product.

Advertising online is highly targeted and beneficial because it relies on keywords that people use to search for content online with Google Adwords, and topics people have indicated an interest in on their Facebook profiles with Facebook Ads.

When you advertise offline, such as putting up a billboard downtown, it’s hard to know how effective that billboard was at driving traffic to your business. The nice thing about including online advertising in your overall marketing strategy is that it’s highly traceable. You know exactly who visited your website or interacted with your Facebook page as a result of your advertising efforts  – and, as a bonus, online ads generally won’t break the bank.

The two biggest ways to advertise online are through Google Adwords and Facebook Ads. We discuss both in detail below.

Google Adwords

Google Adwords is a cost effective way to rank highly in Google search results for highly targeted keywords that describe your business. We recommend using Adwords to augment your SEO efforts such as targeted website copy, completed META titles, tags and descriptions, directory submissions, link building, etc. If you’ve completed all of the above, or you’re in a highly competitive industry, and you’re still not ranking at the top of first page search results, then Adwords is for you. Very few people go beyond first page search results, meaning if you don’t have some sort presence there, your website may never be found by potential clients.

Adwords is great because you can target by geographic area and language, and it’s tailored to your budget. You can spend as little or as much as your budget allows each day on advertising. There are also extensive built-in metrics that track how well your ads are doing including; clicks, impressions, click through rate (number of clicks on your ad compared to how often it appeared to your target audience), average cost per click, total cost, as well as your best and worst performing keywords and ad campaigns. The sheer amount of data and metrics available through Adwords can be overwhelming at first but, trust us, it can quickly become addicting to tweak your keywords and campaigns, and watch the effect it has on your ability to reach your target audience.

Adwords also gives you the option of your ads appearing in search results, on their content network, or both. Search results are pretty self-explanatory – your ads may appear when someone executes a Google search using keywords you’ve bid on. Advertising on the Google content network means your ads may appear on websites that Google has determined are related to the keywords that you have bid on.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are great because of how highly targeted you can make each ad. For example, if you’re a Vancouver based fitness centre, you can get as granular as targeting women, between 30-40 years old, that are married, living in Vancouver, with a university education, that have expressed an interest in fitness and healthy living. It’s easy to see how beneficial this can be for your business.

Another nice thing about Facebook Ads is that they are completely tailored to your budget. You can pay as little as $1 a day, or as much as your budget allows for advertising. As well, you can direct your ad to land on either your Facebook business page or your website, depending on whether your goal is to build your Facebook presence and engagement, or drive more traffic to your website.

Once you’ve run a Facebook Ad campaign, you can see how effective your ad was using built-in metrics such as campaign reach, frequency, social reach, actions (people that connected with your page after viewing your ad), clicks (people that clicked on your ad but didn’t connect with your page), as well as your click through rate and ad spend.

You do need to provide Facebook with your credit card information before you can set up Facebook Ads, but this is a simple process and allows for easy billing once you start generating clicks on your ads. Speaking of which, we always recommend choosing the ‘pay per click’ option – meaning you only pay if someone clicks on your ad versus the ‘impressions’ option – meaning you pay whenever someone sees your ad.

If we’ve convinced you about the important of online advertising, and we hope we have, contact us and we can help you get started.


Search Ads Showdown – Google vs Bing

I’ve been managing Google Adwords campaigns for clients for 6 years now but Microsoft’s recent aggressive campaign to promote Bing ads grabbed my attention so I decided to compare the two search ads.

bing-ads-370x229Google and Bing are the search engines people use the most.  Google facilitates over 100 billion searches per month (over 4b in Canada alone) and Bing’s core monthly search count is over 24 billion. So if you are going to choose one over the based on sheer volume then Google Adwords is the one to go for as they have a whopping 67% of overall search (based on US stats) with the Yahoo/Bing collective garnering about 28%. Bear in mind though that Bing is slowly eroding Google’s share and that because of the lower search volumes, costs per click tend to be lower for Bing ads (you might get more Bing for your buck!).

So who uses Bing and who uses Google?  Well your average Bing user is older than your average Google user  and tends to be less well educated Bing users use the search engine from home rather than from the office or elsewhere.

The tools themselves are very similar with comparable capabilities, set up and interface.  It’s obvious that Bing has copied Google from an interface perspective which means that if you know how to use Adwords already, you will quickly be able to use Bing Ads.  Bing wins out on user interface though – it is much more attractive and easy to use than the utilitarian user interface Adwords has.

My big pet peeve with Adwords is how glitchy it can be with unwarranted and unexpected error messages when you try to do simple things like go back to your MCC (My Client Centre) from a client’s interface.  Adwords Error Message

 

In my years of using the tool, the interface has barely changed or improved which doesn’t make sense to me given the fact that Adwords is one of Google’s main revenue generators – you’d think they would spend more time and effort on making it better and retaining their clients. I guess with 67% percent of the market cornered, they don’t have to!

We are still running way more Adwords campaigns than Bing campaigns and expect to do so for the foreseeable future but Google should be looking over its shoulder and at the very least looking at ways it can improve the use ability factor.

googleadwordsWhen considering your options, Google still gives you the biggest audience and the most potential for conversions but take into account education and age and you might find that Bing might be a strong alternative or addition.  Given that most advertisers use Google, the under  utilized aspect of Bing could be a huge advantage for you.