Want to Advertise Online? Why Search Ads Make More Sense Than Facebook

Before you decide to shell out big bucks to advertise your business on Facebook, consider taking a cue from GM. The third largest advertiser in the U.S., GM pulled $10 Million in ads from Facebook last week as a result of their ineffectiveness. How is it that the largest social networking website can be such a disappointment for advertisers?

Business Insider looked at what makes Facebook ads less effective than Google search ads. The key to successful advertising online is to understand user intent when you are choosing where to advertise.

With Google search, consumers are looking for a particular service and want to learn about the product they are researching.  With Facebook, users visit the site for entertainment purposes (for example, tagging their friends in photos from a concert or checking on whether or not their ex is dating someone new yet). Advertising here needs to be much more attention-grabbing because consumers are not using this website to research products.

Business Insider offers this insight:  “Search advertising—the kind Google provides—tends to be more effective on customers who are actively doing pre-purchase research. Facebook, on the other hand, is more of an entertainment medium; no one is shopping for cars on Facebook—a fact GM seems to have now learned.”

Another fact to consider- while it seems that nearly everyone is on Facebook, it actually reaches only 51% of all internet users, paling in comparison to Google’s colossal reach: 90% of all internet users.

If you are considering internet dental marketing, your success will depend on knowing what your user intent is and which medium would work best in order to reach those users.

Choosing the Right Media for Your Message

When evaluating media alternatives, there are a number of considerations.  One question that arises from time to time is the effectiveness of TV advertising for a dental practice.  Doctors we have worked with have had success and disappointment with TV.  Having worked in a media department of an ad agency and as a marketing manager earlier in my career, there are three things worth considering when evaluating TV or any other media for advertising.

1. What is your objective and message:  Depending on what you want to accomplish, TV may or may not be the best way to deliver the message.  TV can be good practice name and positioning reinforcement.  It can also be a great way to showcase the benefits of your work with the live video.  However, will the ad format give you enough time to deliver the message you need to send?

2, Evaluate what you are really buying with the TV schedule:    When are they running the spots and what is the expected audience for the ad schedule.  The three common measures for a media buy are     * Reach (percentage of audience reached during the schedule), Frequency (avg. number of times someone is likely to see the ad) and CPM (cost per thousand viewers reached). This should all be measured against the type of patient demographic you are trying to reach (ex. women and men ages 25-64).  It is a good idea to also  look at the geography of the TV coverage and determine how much of it is your market area (where patients will realistically drive from to reach your office).  There is a level of waste in TV and any marketing.  Consider then how much of that coverage will be helpful to you.  If you are wasting 80% of the coverage on people too far away to drive to your practice or on viewers who are not your target demographic, there may be better options that are more targeted to your practice.  Much of the effectiveness will also depend on how good the ad is.  Then look at the cost per thousand, and you can more easily consider the cost against the costs of other marketing options such as internet marketing or direct mail.

3. Consider the value of the TV spot production:   Just the production of a quality TV spot can often carry a large price tag.  If you have access to the ad video (which you should be able to do) you could use it on your website (becoming increasingly important on websites now) and also post it on YouTube for additional visibility online. So, there may be some value in the production itself to consider.

If you are still unsure, conduct a test and track the results.  Make sure you run it long enough to fairly evaluate the results but contain your commitment until you have a better idea how it will perform for your practice.