Facebook Advertising vs. PPC Search Advertising

By Sarah Lokitis | Jul 26, 2011
More Articles by Sarah

Facebook AdvertisingLast week, I listened to a webinar by Addie Conner, VP of Advertising at SocialCode, Inc. as she discussed the differences between Facebook advertising and PPC search advertising, tips for Facebook ad testing and optimization, and how to avoid Facebook ad fatigue.

Facebook is a powerful research engine. What users say can inform pages, ads, apps, and surveys. With this research and development, there is increased ability to build targeted fan bases, engage fans, and even monetize fans. To truly monetize your brand you have to engage users in reciprocal interactions and figure out how to extract value from the Facebook community.


SearchGoogle AdWords

  • People ask, you answer. Your ads are a response to demand.
  • Filter users by keywords. Ability to sculpt campaigns with positive and negative keywords.
  • Send user down information or conversion pathway.


  • You create the demand. Looking for profiles instead of demand behavior.
  • Filter based on user attributes and language within the ad itself.
  • Ads allow first connection to establish long term relationship with user.



  • Ad variables: headline, body, display URL, keyword(s), click to call, call metrics, site links, geo-targeting, language, search network, content network, etc.


  • Ad variables: headline, body, image, social features, targeting- geo, age, gender, birthday, sexual preference, relationship status, language, interests, education status, educational institution, major, grad year, workplace, job… **All these variables can tell us about the people we want to target. For instance, there is the ability to target people who like Rolexes when selling Jaguars.



  • Initial Quality Score based on historical data – keyword, account and URL.
  • Now strongly tied to CTR represented by ad position, minimum bid and effective CPC.
  • Engines have algorithms to suppress irrelevant ads.


  • Based on user feedback – Facebook tracks user response.
  • Not bidding in a transparent position based environment.
  • Ad Fatigue – deliberate and controlled by Facebook.
    • Frequency correlates heavily with unique CTR. If CTR is going down, ad shows less often.
    • Rotate ads every 3-6 days!



  • CPC, position based auction.
  • Assumption of a linear relationship between bid and traffic.


  • CPC or CPM
  • No position transparency and fewer “positions.”
  • Acts more like Google content/display network where bid influences back end ad serving, traffic quality and traffic types.
  • Placing bids is not as simple as looking at conversion rate and desired ROI.



  • Head: highly searched, root keywords.
  • Tail: fewer searches, long specific keywords.


  • Completely up to you how broad or granular you get and what you want to target.
    • Have ability to target men in NYC who like football or entire male population.
  • Reach and granularity is a result of how you structure your ads and who/what you target.



  • Different states indicated by keywords.
  • Can attribute value to early stage keywords by aggregating user cookie data across all interactions with ads.
  • Early stage keywords usually undervalued. Ex. No conversion action taken.


  • Different stages controlled by ad copy.
  • Social ads allow low barriers for entry for early stage users.
  • Not a one and done click! Value from messaging and response over time.
  • Can retarget set of users with ads and can speak to them for free through newsfeed.

Give users something of value, then extract value from them as you work to build and maintain the relationships. Get creative as you learn to measure value. Do not expect to see the same click or conversion rate on Facebook advertising as on AdWords because search users are actively looking for you, while Facebook is targeting different characteristics of a person.

Stay updated about Facebook by following Search Marketing Sage’s Facebook posts and feel free to send over questions to @Lokitis or @SearchMojo on Twitter or on Facebook.

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