It is widely acknowledged that Google Adwords has a higher average click through rate (CTR) than Facebook. The question is, how much higher? Well, that depends on a variety of variables. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind when designing either a Google Adwords or a Facebook Ad campaign.

  • Identify advertising goals
  • Choose relevant keywords and placement
  • Create straightforward, easy-to-remember ads
  • Optimize your website’s conversion funnel
  • Use analytics, testing and tracking to determine what is and is not working

Conversion rates on online insurance ads are not as important as ROI. Always remember to include all costs, including time and software costs, when calculating ROI. Google Adwords can be expensive compared to cheaper Facebook ads. Also, keep in mind that Facebook and Google target viewers in fundamentally very different ways.

1. Google ads target users while they are looking for a product, while Facebook ads target groups of people.

Insurance agents can use this essential difference to their advantage to determine which platform is best for a particular advertising campaign. For example, if the advertisement is for a new life insurance product, Google Adwords may make more sense. This is because interested customers who have heard about the product will be looking for it by name. When the Google ad appears they will be likely to click on it. On the other hand, if the advertising campaign is geared toward a particular market of people, a Facebook ad may present better ROI. For example, if the advertisement is designed to target high-net worth business women in Chicago, a Facebook ad may be the most effective tool.

2. Google Adwords are easier to use and quantify.

ROI includes time to create, set up and manage the ads, or the cost of hiring someone to do this for you.

Google Adwords tools are very well designed and they are free. Google has been at this for a long time, and even though their best customers are their biggest, there are immense resources within Google to help a small business or an individual design a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign. An understanding of how to effectively use keywords and get the message out in front of the intended market is not too difficult.

When viewers click on the ad, they are sent to your website. At this point, it is up to your onsite conversion to capture their attention and convert them into clients.

Facebook’s analytics tool, Insights, is poor compared to Analytics. Furthermore, Facebook ads are still fundamentally difficult to quantify. Viewers may see the ad, see that two of their friends like your business, but not click on the ad. In fact, they may even like your business themselves, but still not click on the ad. This is because Facebook users are generally not in shopping or searching mode. This fundamental difference has caused many large companies to avoid Facebook ads. However, for an insurance agent, the Facebook ad can do two important things that a Google ad cannot. First it can target a group of people where you already have loyal customers. Second, it is a soft sell clout builder. What does this mean?

For very little money a Facebook ad can get your name and face in front of the right people without actually hard-selling anything. There are 15 unique targeting criteria that an advertiser can use to promote an ad to the right people on Facebook.

Insurance ad spend on facebook

These viewers may not need a new insurance policy now, but in two months when they do, they may remember your name, remember that several of their friends use your services and call one of them for your number. They may not even remember where they saw the ad. They might just remember that a friend recommended you. The value of this type of advertising is very difficult to quantify. Does that mean that it does not work? On the contrary, it can work very well despite being difficult to track the ROI.

Another thing to be aware of with a Facebook ad is that it should be constantly refreshed to avoid higher CTR costs. According to Justin Kistner, Director of Social Products at Webtrends, ads should be changed 2-3 times a week on Facebook to keep click through rates high. Facebook ads are wonderful because they allow graphics. However, be aware that these “cheap” ads come with a creative Achilles heal. Usually a designer is needed to create these ads, and 2-3 creative pieces a week can be a lot of money.

Ad management software, or Facebook ad API partners can help scale Facebook campaigns very effectively. However, this also increases the costs of Facebook ads and lowers ROI.

3. Analytics for insurance ad spend on Facebook

Accurate ROI is impossible without analytics and testing. Google Analytics is a fundamental part of Google Adwords. Google has understood almost from the beginning that advertisers only want to pay for ads when they see results.

In contrast, Facebook Insights isn’t as easy to use or understand as Analytics. There are third party analytics programs that can help with this. However, getting the third party analytics programs set up can be tricky due to Facebook’s privacy issues and firewalls. Here are a few of the best third party analytics tools on the market that are designed to work with Insights. They dig deeper and are easier to understand.

Simply Measured: Facebook Fan Page Analytics: Great graphs and easy to understand.

SEOmoz Pro: This website is one of the best for SEO on the web. Very technical. They cover all topics related to marketing websites and rank them in Google. They now have a social analytics tool.

PageLever: This is the most popular third-party marketing tool, giving insights the way marketers want it to be. There is a 14-day free trail period.

Buddy Media: This is a more comprehensive tool that helps you set up a good Facebook page and then track it. The analytics tools are excellent and they have partnered with Comscore to provide another level of data to their users.

Clickable: Facebook Advertising Suite. This tool is great for managing multiple ads and larger campaigns.

4. Google Adwords and Facebook ads have very different SEO profiles. Facebook ad market

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t something most companies think about when using PPC, but it is important. A Google ad directs customers directly to your website. Depending on how good the website is, they may then spend an additional hour on the site reading. This is valuable SEO time. Time on site is one of Google’s top criterions for ranking websites in organic search.

On the other hand, according to Social Fresh, 70% of Facebook Ads are directed to Facebook pages rather than offsite. Facebook code is built in such a way that the time a person spends viewing your Facebook page counts as time on site for Facebook, not for your website. However, if a viewer likes your page and turns you into a friend, this provides a direct lead to a potential customer. What is not good for SEO can still be great for business.

5. Testing and time is the only way to get accurate ROI on insuance ads

A/B testing and time are the only ways to get an accurate ROI for Facebook and Google Ads. A/B testing refers to using one ad or website customer interface for some viewers and using another for others. Tabulate the results, then factor in costs, and ROI becomes obvious.

Time is one of the trickiest and also one of the most important criterion for calculating ROI for online advertising. An ad needs to run long enough to get accurate numbers on its effectiveness. As mentioned above, Facebook Ad Creative is optimally changed 2-3 times a week. Quickly it will become apparent what works and what does not. Similarly, Google Adwords testing and tracking makes it possible to refine ad copy and conversion pages and get the best ROI possible. The moral of the story? Give all ad campaigns plenty of time to run and track everything.

For more from Lisa Pluth, see:

7 Ways Mobile Marketing Can Improve Your Client Relationships

Email Marketing: A Study in Demographics

Google+ for Agents: Sowing Seeds for Tomorrow’s Business