Building an Acquisition Strategy with Facebook or Google

Imagine you are told to describe your business to someone as efficiently as you can. Would you use pictures or words? Is your business easy to understand or does it take a long description? Are you selling a well-known product or are you first to market? Do you already have a strong customer base or is your company brand new?

You should keep these questions (and more) in mind when you are deciding on an acquisition strategy. In this post, I’ll shed some light on two of the biggest acquisition platforms: Facebook and Google, and when it is most appropriate to use each.  At its core, this decision stems from where you think you are most likely to find your customers and how you can best represent your business.

When to use Facebook?
With more than 1.4 billion people using Facebook these days, it’s likely that your target customers are on the site. As an advertising platform, Facebook is especially useful for its creative potential and its targeting capabilities. With a wide range of advertising formats ranging from videos, still images, carousel images, interactive canvases, 360-degree videos, etc. it’s an extremely useful medium to gather people’s attention.

With all these creative options, Facebook is useful for companies who have a story to tell and want to develop their brand. When you combine this with all of the targeting capabilities of Facebook, it’s also a great discovery tool for finding your perfect customer and audiences. You can target your ads to people based on their demographics, interests, purchase behaviors, and more, which allows for some deep digging into who your best customer is.

That being said, there is one feature of Facebook that every company regardless of product or audience should be using: Retargeting. Facebook’s retargeting is extremely effective and rarely has a negative return. Plus, with an array of tools to customize your retargeting efforts, there’s no shortage of ways to optimize the way you get people to return to your site.

When to use Google?
Google’s Adwords is useful as an acquisition strategy for a number of different reasons. Firstly, it has Search. Search is an intent-based acquisition, which means that you are acquiring potential customers who have already displayed an intent by using Google to search for something related to your company/product. As such, these customers are generally more likely to be interested in whatever you have to offer, resulting in a higher conversion rate than Facebook.

However, since delivery is auction based, and people are willing to pay more to drive this intent-based traffic to their website, AdWords is generally more expensive than Facebook. For this reason, Google Search is best for businesses who have products that people are actively searching for. This part will take some research into keyword search volume and competition to see if it makes sense for your business. Bidding on branded keywords (keywords that include your company’s name) is also a great way to show up at the top of the page for companies with a poor organic ranking or who have competitors bidding on their brand name.

Aside from Search, Google also offers Display placements across the web, which I’ve found to be successful for branded campaigns and retargeting. Additionally, Product Listing Ads are useful for companies with a large range of products or those who might be losing out on sales from retailers selling their products online.

When to use both?
At the end of the day, most companies can find a path to success using both platforms for their acquisition strategy. Retargeting is rarely ineffective for businesses with an online presence, and both Facebook and Google offer great services to maximize return.

If you’ve got enough budget, a product that is widely searched for on the internet, and great creative ideas for some Facebook audiences and ads, try them both. There’s only one way to know for sure whether these platforms will work for your business: test it!

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