The fact is that these days it’s very difficult to get far in your business promotions without paying for advertising. It has always been the case that ads on Google would be charged for, but now even social media platforms are asking you to cough up the cash if you want the reach that used to be free. Having said that, you’ll get better, more appropriately targeted reach for your money.
Small businesses generally have fewer resources, so it’s important to get your advertising right. Knowing which platforms are most appropriate for your business will save you time and potentially a lot of money. Below we’ll cover the basics of the top three advertising platforms: Google, Facebook and Instagram.
Advertising with Google
It’s not news that Google is the most popular search engine in the world, but as it may cost you a lot to use it, you should consider if it’s worth it for your small business. However, Every day, 4 billion visitors click through to sites via Google ads… so there is definitely scope for sales. What’s more, although Google ads can be costly, they are planning to revise the local ad pack for the benefit of smaller businesses.
Google Adwords offers you two types of ads: display ads and text ads. Display ads are those that appear on the various pages you visit, and are tailored to your preferences according to past searches you did. Text ads appear right above search query results; they might also be shown in a list on the side of the results page. These are all related to the search performed, and advertisers only pay when somebody actually clicks the ad; this is known as pay-per-click (PPC).
You should note that Google AdWords can be complicated to master, and may not work for your business. Success is dependent on polished and effective SEO, and also the industry you work in. With PPC ads, your keyword ranking has to be on point, so there are things to learn about that. Niche markets may find it easier than those with a lot of competition, and it will certainly cost them less to rank highly than it will for competitive industries.
Advertising on Facebook
Facebook remains the social media giant, with more than 1.7 billion people using it each month; more than a billion of these do so every day. Depending on what you want to achieve, Facebook could be a better choice than Google. For example, if growing brand awareness and gaining a public following is important to you, Facebook is useful.
Facebook users spend twice as much time on the site than on Google, and they can share information easily. Given that all users are apparently connected by 3.57 degrees of separation, you can imagine how far and wide your posts could spread. The good news is that Facebook ads don’t have to cost you the earth – but bear in mind that this is when it is properly used. You’ll need to get to know how its algorithms work, for one thing.
You’ll pay-per-impression, as you would with Google, and you can select your audiences with precision, given that so much data is available to you. The metrics allow you to make adjustments through the life of your campaigns, and you’ve got access to plenty of data on, engagement and reach, plus impressions, click-throughs and more.
The downside is that people aren’t necessarily looking to make purchases. Your success can largely depend on the popularity of the products you’re selling, which is why it’s best for brand awareness and securing a place in future customers’ memories.
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram is just getting bigger and bigger, and it now has over 800 million users active each month. More than one million advertisers make use of Instagram per month, so success is certainly possible. One plus point is that Instagram engagement is higher than Facebook’s: ten times higher to be precise.
Those who have mastered visually impactful content and hashtag use should do well here. Like Facebook, Instagram offers you excellent metrics and the ability to target carefully. There are also plenty of useful business tools and you can monitor ad performance to see which types of ads are worth paying for.
In order to advertise with Instagram, you must also have a Facebook page, as the two must be linked. That’s because Instagram takes its data from Facebook. Again, it’s important to do your homework on your audience if you are to build successful campaigns.
In a nutshell, Google advertising is the toughest to master and will cost you the most, but is more likely to result in quick sales. Instagram and Facebook will cost you less and bring you greater brand awareness, but sales may be more of a slow burn.
Between Facebook and Instagram, the latter is probably better because of its metrics, tools, and potential for engagement. However, if you have the budget and develop the know-how you can work wonders across all platforms.