Online Advertising : Facebook Vs Google Vs Twitter Vs LinkedIn Vs Quora – Which is The Best Platform?

The ultimate guide that tells you how to target the correct audience on each platform

The Internet is a jungle, and no two animals are the same even if they are vying for the same set of eyeballs.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn and Quora, all of them are amazingly successful social websites used by billions of people and all of them have online advertising features that can help put your product before the right audience if you approach it correctly.

Unlike print advertising where all platforms and all advertising look the same, things are very different online. Each of these platforms has a uniquely different targeting approach and there’s no universal approach that you can take to all of them.

To sum it up, an expert in Google Adwords is not equipped to be an expert in Facebook advertising just by the merit of their knowledge of Adwords. They have to start from scratch, bringing very little from their Google advertising experience.

It’s all about targeting.

In this article, I am going to give you the fundamentals. The correct mindset that you need to have to profit from each platform. You’ll learn what each platform is about, and how it’s different from the others.

By the end, you’ll be prepared to dive into every one of them individually, look for the right information and select the right kind of advertising.

Facebook – Target me for what I like

Facebook knows a great deal about people who’re on it. Probably more than any other platform in all of these. It builds up a profile for every user on the social network over time based on their behavior.

  • What kind of posts did they like?
  • What pages they’re a fan of and what groups they’re in?
  • Where they log in from and how often do they change cities?
  • What kind of family do they have?
  • Who are their friends and where they are from?
  • What is their opinion about issues?
  • How often do they buy online?
  • What kind of items do the buy?

A lot of this is made possible by your interaction with Facebook on their platform, and the rest by your interaction on any website that has the Facebook tracking pixel installed.

Yes, that makes nearly all of the practical web cause almost every major or minor content and e-commerce website has the Facebook pixel so that they can retarget their visitors and customers.

All of this targeting information is available to you through the Facebook business manager. If you’ve never checked it out earlier, you’ll be pretty startled at the range of targeting Facebook gives you. From people who recently got divorced to people who are fresh parents, Facebook knows it all about everybody.

When you approach Facebook advertising, create a mental image of your ideal customer. Who is he? Where does he live? How much money does he make?  What does his family look like? What does he like to do on weekends? Is he social? Answer all the questions you can think of, and you’ll be able to zero in pretty accurately on the person you want to reach with your advertising.

Google – Target me for what I am seeking right now

Google deals less with people and more with needs and that way it can be amazingly effective. On Facebook, you’re trying to be in front of people who would want your product, on Google you’ll be in front of people who are looking for product.

That’s all about search. People go to Facebook to hang-out, chill, share an opinion or discover what’s going on. They’re open to being informed about random things. Facebook’s success is in keeping people on their platform as long as possible.

On Google people go to search. They’re looking for something specific and they don’t want to be distracted. They want to get what they want and get to it as soon as possible.

Google’s success is in getting people out of their site and to what they want as soon as possible.

These are two very different approaches and your advertising approach must be tailored similarly.

You can’t waste people’s time on Google by spreading your targeting wide. You’ll want to identify exactly what your ideal customer would look for (keywords) and target those keywords with extremely concise and to-the-point advertising that will make the visitor want to click on your ad instead of the top result from Google.

Yes, you’re competing with Google’s AI which is frightfully accurate and the information they put on top usually leads to free resources. You better be exactly what your customer wants, and you better have the message across fast.

The best thing about Google is because the advertising is all about needs and wants, you can get amazing results. Unlike Facebook audience targeting, which starts giving lower RoI over time as your ad is shown again and again to the same audience, Google’s RoI is steady almost forever.

You only have to pay to be before people who are looking for you. What can beat that about long-term targeting?

When you approach Google advertising, ask yourself. What are you selling? How is it best described? What words would people use when they look for your product? Answer all the questions about yourself and you’ll know what to say on Google to get your lead.

Twitter – Target me for who I want to hear from

Twitter is all about finding people who will tell you the things you want to know. When someone goes to twitter they are not exactly looking to find their friends or family, nor they are going to search for something specific.  They’re there to hear from the people they follow.  Their favorite movie stars, writers, politicians, the leaders in their chosen profession.

They’re looking for opinions and for information that’s curated for them by real human beings.

While Twitter does allow you to target people according to interests because it’s able to build a semi-profile of people based on the hashtags they use, it’s not the best and the most accurate targeting system because not everyone uses hashtags all the time, and people tend to talk about random stuff.

But twitter advertising is not a lost cause. There’s another very-powerful targeting mechanism that you can use very effectively to zero down pretty accurately to the person who can be your buyer.

Follower targeting

Yep. Twitter’s most powerful mechanism is targeting the followers of the ‘influencers’ who matter in your space.  You can select the influencers who matter in your market and then show your ads to the people who follow the influencers.

Twitter users are more tech-savvy, more upwardly mobile, older, more professional and typically busier than the people on Facebook. It’s an important thing that you’ll need to remember.  On Twitter you’re marketing to a filtered crowd that is particularly interested in the things that your target influencer has to say,

That crowd may be smaller, but you can get some very amazing click rates at an astonishingly low cost if your product is targeted correctly. I am talking about less than 1 cent per click.

It’s good to get a crowd but let me tell you. Twitter users are impatient, and they don’t linger long on landing pages. They’ll be gone before you know it. Your actual conversions from your visitors are going to be much lower than other platforms.

When you approach Twitter advertising, ask who is the person that your audience loves and idolizes? Who do they want to be like? You’ll be able to find the shepherd whose flock you need to target.

LinkedIn – Target Me for What I do

LinkedIn is a social network that’s about professionals. You don’t go there to meet friends but to meet people who can be your colleagues and partners. You’re looking to show off your professional achievements, learn about job opportunities and interact with a future employer or employee.

That’s why the crowds at LinkedIn are thin. People don’t stay long and they may not visit LinkedIn every day. Although LinkedIn has changed itself radically in the last few years, focusing on making content an integral part of their platform, this is Twitter’s bastion and it hasn’t really broken into it yet.

Yes, now LinkedIn has content and a feed that looks a lot like Facebook, and it’s slowly building up a dedicated audience that is coming to LinkedIn to further their careers.

LinkedIn offers you content ads and their unique InMail ads that will go as personal messages to the people you want to target.

If you’re advertising on LinkedIn you’re typically not selling a consumer product. You could be a b2b products creator, a SAAS owner, a consultant or someone who’s trying to target professionals like CPAs, or lawyers with their services.

Like every platform we’ve seen so far, LinkedIn too has some really unique targeting features. You can target people according to their education, their professional expertise, the company they work for, the job profile they have. All strictly professional things and a goldmine if you’re targeting professions.

The catch – LinkedIn inventory is not cheap. It’s going to be costly. If you’ve got a product that’s targeted to the professionals you’re marketing too, and you’re looking to find high-paying customers then you will have better success getting a return on your investment than if you were selling a low-cost product.

When you approach LinkedIn advertising, ask What does your ideal customer do? Who does he work for? Where did he go to college? And you’ve got your market.

Quora – Target Me for What I Want to Know

Quora is the world’s top questions and answers website and it’s known for really detailed and personalized answer to questions on virtually every topic you can imagine. Quora is all about discovery. Visitors find Quora from search, and they stay after they discover amazing content from real human beings like themselves.

Advertising in Quora is not for everyone because Quora will not accept advertisements easily. Quora won the battle for Q&A niche by being a missionary about answer quality and they’ve carried forward this approach to the advertising they run on the platform.

Each ad that you try to place on Quora is reviewed by a human being. Not just the ad in fact, also the landing page and the product that you’re trying to push. A decision is made whether the quality of each element is good enough to be on Quora and it’s not easy to make the cut.

Quora offers topic-based targeting. You don’t target people, you target the topics that your ideal customer is interested in.

If you’re looking to advertise on Quora you’re probably an enterprise not an upcoming vendor and you’re looking to target really broad-based and wide topics. You can’t really go very narrow on Quora because there will be no traffic.

Quora’s advertising format is very non-invasive. They don’t have graphics and the ads do not stand out from the answers themselves. It’s just a box wrapped around your headline and a small description.

Don’t go looking for insanely high click rates from Quora. Your target is already engrossed in the answers and may not give your ad more than a glance before he goes back to his reading.

When you approach advertising on Quora, you want to ask What topics your customers are interested in? Get those topics and you have your targeting.

Conclusion

Here we are at the end of this quick guide. We’ve covered the uniqueness of each platform in a concise yet comprehensive way. You have everything you need to know to make a decision about where you should be advertising. What platform you need to master, and where your precious ad dollars should go.

There’s so much more to know. Each platform has their own targeting systems, optimization tricks, and mechanisms that you must know before you can be an effective advertiser, but you’re ready now to take on that challenge.

Good luck and may you make the most from the money you spend!

About the Author: Cyril Maithily Gupta

Cyril M Gupta is the CEO of Teknikforce. A veteran programmer and marketer, he's also a travel junkie and a seeker of experiences.

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