How can Facebook and search advertising co-exist?

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Though many marketers see Facebook and Google as opponents in the advertising world, more companies are finding they actually complement each other quite well.

A new study by Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Marin Software shows that search campaigns actually perform better when they are done in concert with a Facebook campaign. The study discovered that users who click on both a company’s search and Facebook ads are much more likely to purchase a product. People who clicked on both a search and social ad contributed 4x more revenue than someone who just clicked a Facebook ad only.

Marin Senior Marketing Manager Dan Morris talked with Inside Facebook about how advertisers are getting smarter about utilizing both Facebook and Google/Bing advertising:

When you look at all this data and synthesize it together, it becomes very clear that there’s an opportunity. It shouldn’t be about search or social. It should be how to use search and social. … When you think about it from a customer-centric perspective, (you can) use the two channels as a means to get to the customer the right message at the right time.

Morris said that brands aren’t necessarily cutting into their Facebook ad budget to spend money through Google or Bing, but are rather allocating money from other sources to have both avenues play off each other. While it’s sometimes difficult to determine intent with Facebook ads, users who search for specific products on Google are usually in the market to buy. Advertisers can then take search history into effect when retargeting Facebook ads at a user.

As the below graph shows, campaigns that utilize both search and Facebook advertising did quite well in the study.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 8.38.03 AMMarin also found that social campaigns managed alongside search campaigns have a 26 percent higher revenue per click than search-only campaigns. Advertisers in the study saw a 68 percent lift in revenue per conversion from search campaigns when they were managed together with Facebook ads. The revenue per conversion for isolated search campaigns was $24.95, but that skyrocketed to $41.97 when the search campaign was done in conjunction with a Facebook campaign.

Morris discussed ways that advertisers have found success with the two formats: through search-to-social retargeting, and social-to-search retargeting. In the former, advertisers are retargeting users on Facebook based on search queries. For instance, if a user searches for snowboards on Google, they can then see ads for snowboards on Facebook. The second concept, social-to-search retargeting, drives traffic from Facebook to a website, tracked by a Google pixel on the page.

The study advises brands to think of their advertising campaigns as truly cross-platform instead of keeping Facebook, Google, etc. in separate silos. By keeping track of performance across all of the platforms, Marin says marketers should see a truer picture of ROI:

These marketers recognize that the highest-value customers are those who touch both their search and social messages. In order to effectively acquire these types of customers, the two channels must be managed in an integrated manner. Successful marketers also recognize that there are performance synergies between the two channels and that holistic management drives incremental lift in overall campaign performance.

Increasingly, successful marketers will integrate search and social strategies in order to better manage, measure and optimize toward customer lifetime value, increase efficiencies and improve overall ROI.

Readers: How do you manage Facebook and search campaigns?

Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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