Momentum Consulting grew out of a recognition that small and medium sized businesses often advertised haphazardly, throwing money at ads when their ad reps dropped in to see them with a great deal. Often these one-time deals left business owners with a sour taste because they saw little as a result of their one-time ad spend.
We wanted to offer business owners and now non profits the option of creating an actual strategy to use their advertising budget to drive sales. In this way, digital advertising is much like traditional advertising. It’s easy to boost a post on social media without giving a lot of thought to what you want to receive in return.
On social media, non profits are viewed the same as businesses. Each organization needs a professional page which comes with restrictions on how often organic posts are viewed by followers. Google treats non profit websites the same as business websites showing them in organic search results based on a complex algorithm of keywords, quality of traffic and content.
So how does a non profit decide where to spend their digital advertising budget?
Begin with the End in Mind
Steven Covey’s second habit of highly effective people rings true in non profit advertising. As you start your Facebook ads vs Adwords comparison, know what you want to accomplish. Do you want to drive ticket sales to an event people may not know they want to attend? Do you want to drive people actively looking for your services to your website? Do you need to build your pool of volunteers with people who don’t yet know who you are? Do you want volunteers searching for opportunities to find your website quickly?
To target people who are actively searching for your services, local events, volunteer opportunities or anything else you offer, Google Adwords is your best bet. Although cost per click may be higher than Facebook, you’re targeting people who are actively looking for what you offer. Through the Ad Network, you can also specify onto which websites you’d like to have your ads appear. The key with Google Adwords is to target people who are using keywords related to your site.
When your goal centers around reaching people who are not looking for you, turn to Facebook. Facebook knows all about its users relationships, work and health status along with favorite television shows and game apps. You can target current supporters or constituents or even people who look like your current supporters or constituents with an ad about an upcoming event or service you offer. It’s a great opportunity to plant a seed in the minds of people who don’t know they need you.
Know Your Budget
For our clients running Google Adwords, ads start at around $2 per click, but depending on your keywords, those clicks can cost $20 or more. To make the most of your budget using adwords, you need to test multiple ads and watch your budget and responses closely. Remember, your goal is to reach people actively searching for an organization like yours, so you want to target keywords those prospects would actually use.
Facebook Ads offer a multitude of options when it comes to choosing what action results in a charge to your ad account. If you’re looking to grow followers of your Facebook page or conversions on an event page, your cost per action will vary. Although we’ve seen cost per click well under $1 each and cost for event conversions as high as $50 per conversion.
What makes sense for your organization? If your event tickets cost $300 and you sell two from ads that cost you a total of $100 you made $500 from your ads. If you are looking for volunteers for an event and need to raise awareness, you may have a smaller budget.
Facebook allows you to be more intentional about the action you want users to take while Google may attract hotter prospects.
Use Your Marketing Collateral
For organizations with amazing graphics and heart tugging video, Facebook ads allow you to highlight this collateral in their ads. In fact, they reward great use of media. If you have to purchase stock photos, schedule a photoshoot or create a video, the cost of that collateral should be included as part of your budget. (Of course images and video are a great way to incorporate storytelling into your non profit marketing strategy, so you can use them for more than just your social advertising.)
Google Adwords strictly use a text format (unless you are on the Google Ad Network). If your organization is struggling to find the right collateral and stock images will not work for you, Google Adwords could be an easier place to start because you do not need those elements.
Buy Apples and Oranges
Facebook Ads vs Google Adwords does not allow us an apples to apples comparison. I’m not even sure it’s apples to oranges. Maybe it’s more like apples to yogurt. Both taste good but offer completely different nutritional benefits. So do not buy the myth that you must choose just one. If your budget only allows one option, go back to our first point and choose based on your goal.
Targeting people who are actively searching for your organization as well as people who do not know they need you yet allows you to cast a wider net and accomplish more goals.