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.