Wherever you look at the moment, Facebook advertising is being talked about as the next big thing, when it comes to online pay per click advertising.Â And the question is, just what impact is it going to have on Google? Â So why is this happening, and is Facebook advertising really going to be the next big thing?
Approximately 6 months ago, Google went on a serious banning spree, literally black-listing and disabling thousands of accounts (particularly focusing on the business opportunity industry). Why did they do this? Well no one knows entirely, but it really came down to a certain rule, within their policies and guidelines, that Google thought people were breaching. Anyhow, what this has effectively meant is that, without warning, without giving them chances to rectify the situation, heaps of people were left in the lurch by Google.
For so many years, Google has dominated PPC advertising, resulting in competition within many industries, which has become incredibly fierce. This meant that the cost per click for advertisers was being driven up very high. A few months before the black listing of accounts occurred, Facebook entered the PPC industry with its own pay per click advertising product.
The main way that Facebook differentiates itself from other pay per click advertising is the way you can target your advertising. Unlike Google, Facebook captures a lot more information about its users, and as such gives you the opportunity to target your advertising, based on the variables they capture. You can literally target people that are in certain groups, list certain interests, are of a certain age and gender, etc. If you think about it, there are many different things that you can list on your profile, and in some way or another Facebook advertisers can choose one or many of these variables, obviously based on their target market for the advertisement.
In terms of pay per click advertising, Facebook advertising has really allowed pay per click advertising to go to the next level. It takes the guess work out of how to best reach your key target market within paid advertising. However there are still some flaws that are bound to occur in the early stages of a new product. Firstly, I've had problems with using direct payments and for most payments have had to go through PayPal. Additionally I have found that the clicks that Facebook charges don't always match the visitors to a page (there are more clicks than visitors on some days). I have asked Facebook about this but have failed to get a response that can explain it.
Despite this, I would have to say that Facebook advertising is an incredibly powerful tool and does have the ability to be the next big thing when it comes to pay per click advertising. The ability to be so targeted to your target market presents an enormous opportunity for you; particularly if you already know your target market well and how to communicate to them. Additionally, because it is still relatively new, there are still some very cheap clicks available, and competition is still relatively low, so there is a big opportunity there to get in before your competitors.
The question that remains is how will Google respond?
I believe that Facebook Advertising is fantastic within certain niches; however search engine advertising still has great advantages in terms of targeting visitors who are ready to buy now. When you have a user that's going to a search engine, searching on a certain term, there is more of a chance that the person is ready to buy now, than someone viewing an advertisement on their Facebook Profile.
So, if Facebook advertising takes off (which I believe is about to happen), then this will definitely work in your favor, if you jump in now. However when it does take off, expect competition on Google to drop, click through rates to drop, and more opportunities to open up there as well. If there is one thing that Google has shown us, it's that they are innovative and they are powerful, so they aren't going to go away without a fight.
Mark Blomeley is the founder of Social Media Branding Australia, a company that specialises in training business owners and managing social media campaigns for small, medium and large businesses. Read more about Mark here.