How to combine Google and Facebook ads to increase conversions for brands

The marketing “rule of seven” is still relevant today — a prospect will have seven interactions with your brand before a conversion takes place.

In the noisy online space, a cross-channel digital advertising strategy can help you achieve these interactions by targeting potential customers with the most relevant content, on the right channel, at the perfect stage of their buyer journey.

This blog describes some of the key ways you can use search and social advertising used together to accelerate these interactions and drive conversions faster.

Uniting the power of  Google and Facebook    

There’s no denying that Google (and YouTube), and Facebook (and Instagram) dominate the digital space—they’re the world’s most visited websites and account for 59 percent of all US digital advertising spend.

While both of these platforms offer a variety of advertising options that span use cases from brand awareness through to conversion advertising, for the purpose of this guide, we’re focusing on Google’s search network and Facebook’s News Feed ads only.

Google Search Ads        

  • Excel for targeting people who are actively searching for your keywords
  •    Provide access to enormous search traffic, as Google owns 75% of all search engine
    market share
  •   Offer little control over who sees your ads, but a lot of control over what keywords
    your ads appear for
  • Traffic has intent to convert—users are actively searching for something— so click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates are high

Facebook News Feed Ads

  • Deliver sophisticated audience targeting options from Facebook’s large and diverse user base
  • Provide an opportunity to engage audiences before they know you
  • Offer a lot of control over who sees your ads, but viewers are not specifically looking for your product or service in their social feed
  • Have a very cost-effective cost per click (CPC) and daily spend

Google: Users have intent

When a pipe bursts in your home, which is the more likely scenario?
You visit your Facebook News Feed to see if any plumbing-related content shows up

You do a Google search for plumbers in your area

Google visitors have intent. They are actively searching for something—and while they may not know your brand yet, they have a pain point that you can target with the right keywords.

Facebook: Users are highly targeted

Facebook offers a different ad experience— because of the wealth of information it collects about your audience and their networks, it can serve up ads that are more targeted and more likely to convert.

In this example, Facebook knows that the user is Vancouver-based, has been to a Cirque du Soleil show in the past, and has friends who reacted to this post.

Each of these advertising types serves a different purpose—and is  delivered at a different stage of the buyer’s journey. If you want your digital ad campaigns to be as effective as possible, you need to stop choosing between search and social and start considering their combined role across the entire buyer journey.                                                   


Facebook ads get your product or service in front of new audiences


Users visit Google search to conduct their own research

Share insights across Google and Facebook to reach the “rule of 7”


Users visit both Facebook and Google to search for reviews, coupons, and offers

Re target Google search visitors with an offer via Facebook ads

Let’s understand the everyday tactics that will help you effectively use Google’s search network and Facebook’s News Feed ads together to capture your audience at the perfect stage of their journey.

  1. Build your brand with Facebook, close with Googlesearch
  2. Create consistent messaging across search and social ads
  3. Use Facebook to retarget users from Google search ads
  4. Align Facebook Audience Insights with Google search queries
  5. Use a cross-platform ads management solution

1   Build your brand with Facebook, close with Google Search

Facebook ads are a proven way to build brand awareness and put your product in front of new audiences.

Businesses of every size can use Facebook’s advanced targeting options to get the right content in front of the right people. The best part is that you don’t need a massive budget to be successful on Facebook—you just need to know your audience and tinker with your targeting options until you find the perfect blend.

Eventually, when they’re ready to move along the buyer journey from awareness to consideration, the people who saw your Facebook ads will go to Google to search for your brand.

Tips: Turn cold audiences into leads and drive awareness of your brand, product, or service—then close the deal when they decide to search for your brand—in two steps:

 Use Facebook ads to target an audience that has no awareness of your brand but has expressed interest in offers and brands that are similar to yours.

Run Google ads using your brand name as a keyword.
Running Google search ads for your own brand is an established best     
practice. It helps your new audience find you, and it also helps you stay competitive—in fact, it’s likely at least one of your competitors is using your brand name as a keyword (see how Asana has used’s brand name as a keyword in the example here).

Don’t let your brand awareness efforts on Facebook go to waste by sending your audience straight to the competition on Google!

2   Create consistent messaging across search and social

The buyer’s path to purchase is no longer linear—the route people take to find out about your offering, learn about your brand, and ultimately buy something from you can be long and convoluted. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, marketers use an average of 13 tactics in their efforts to convert a lead.

Consistency of messaging is very important because people rely on  repetition to help with memory recall. Facebook is the perfect place to set the tone with compelling visual assets and messaging that you can then recall with consistent messaging in your Google search ads.

Tips: Be consistent with your messaging—people are just as likely to search Google for your offering, your tagline, or your Facebook ad headline as they are to search for your brand. Here’s how to do it:

Use insights from Facebook IQ to help with stronger keyword targeting—you can learn a lot from the creative used on Facebook to build stronger keyword targeting on Google.

 Test creative headline options. A catchy headline can be more memorable than a brand name and generate more direct searches.

 Consider using the headline as a long-tail keyword on Google to bring down CPC.

Drift promotes attractive visuals and a compelling piece of content to create brand awareness.

The user doesn’t register the Drift brand but searches for the title of the content and is served with the Google search ad.

3   Use Facebook to retarget users  from Google Ads

The previous two sections describe an informal—and for the most part, unmeasurable—form of retargeting. These tactics rely on people “warming up” to your ad on Facebook and then finding their way to Google to conduct their own search.

“Behavioral retargeting” is advertising targeted to potential cus- tomers based on their previous online actions. Retargeting takes the connection between Google and Facebook further and is a proven, effective technique to bring back potential customers who might otherwise drop off before continuing along the customer journey.

Tips: Use Facebook to retarget people who landed on your website from a Google search ad. Here’s how:

 Ensure your Google ads and Facebook ads are sending users to a unique landing page. All campaign links should have UTM parameters for this page.

 Use Google ads to retarget visitors to the page.

Set up a Facebook pixel for the same landing page and create custom audiences for additional Facebook ads targeting and audience expansion.

Try targeting the audience with a clear call to action such as a limited-time offer to create a sense of urgency to convert.

Prospect searches for “beach vacation” on Google. They click through a few sites—yours is one of them.

Retarget the prospect on Facebook to stay top of mind and move them forward in their buying journey.

4   Align Facebook Audience  Insights with Google search queries

The more customer insights you have, the better targeted and more cost effective your digital advertising campaigns will be.

Facebook Audience Insights is a useful tool that helps marketers learn more about their target audiences, including aggregate information about geography, demographics, purchase behavior, and more, so they can make better decisions about content, ad spend, and timing.

It’s also a great source of insights for your Google ads campaigns. One effective tactic is to use Facebook lookalike audiences to find your new best customers. Lookalike audiences are a powerful way to improve Facebook ad targeting by using data points about your most successful customers to find new people who are likely to be good customers, too.

A lookalike audience basically allows you to target people who are similar to your ideal existing customers, making it one of the most efficient ways to optimize your ad spend. For example, if your search query custom audience is made up of just 1,000 people, you can build a lookalike audience using your list to target 10,000+ prospects who are similar to your original list.

Just because you didn’t convert the people who clicked on your Google search ad, doesn’t mean you won’t convert their lookalikes!

In a similar way, you can also use Facebook to find and connect with audiences with strong affinity towards competitors or businesses that are comparable to yours in some way.

(A word of warning: Don’t use heavily overlapped audiences! If you target the same people more than once, you’ll end up competing for them in different ad sets. You can avoid this by excluding the original audience set from your lookalike audience.)

Tips: Be insights-driven and apply Facebook insights to Google campaigns and vice-versa. Here’s how:

 Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to analyze your customer base and generate insights like age, gender, likes, purchase behavior, and interests.

 Use these insights to craft your copywriting strategy.

Build your lookalike audience in Facebook using a group of 1,000 to 50,000 of your best customers based on lifetime value, transaction value, total order size, or engagement.

 Create audience segments in Google based on engagement insights from Facebook for more precise bidding and targeting. For example, if women converted at a significantly higher rate than men during a Facebook campaign for a particular product, you could add female demographic targeting to your Google ad groups.

To use a similar approach for competitive targeting:                                                           

Use Facebook’s Audience Insights to analyze what competitors or businesses like yours are doing—you can get this information if your current audience is following these brands.

Bid on branded search terms for those brands or businesses. These companies are already attracting prospects via Google—and in some cases, the prospects are already solution-aware and ready to find your product or service.

5   Use a cross-platform ads management solution

There are several benefits to managing your search and social ads from one platform. First, you can unify your reporting across

Facebook and Google so you can compare and analyze your perfor- mance across channels in real time and easily reallocate budgets from underperforming ads to those that see the best results—even if it’s on another platform.

Second, with an ads platform that includes automatic data sync to connect your CRM to Facebook and Google for retargeting purposes, you can automatically send your Facebook leads to your CRM and feed to Google for further retargeting. The key thing here is to use a platform that automates this process for you, making it easy and efficient.

Save time, optimize your advertising budget, and simplify execution of your retargeting tactics by bringing your search and social ads together in a cross-platform ads management solutions tools like Hootsuite

Tips: Use a cross-channel ads platform to simplify the manage            ment of your digital advertising campaigns:

 Publish, monitor, and report against all your advertising campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, and Google in one dashboard.

Take a snapshot of your ad spend and performance across Facebook and Google from one dashboard.

 Automatically sync leads from Facebook to Google to create new audiences.

 Reallocate your channel budgets depending on which campaigns are performing better on which channel.

Next steps               

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