Titans of Media: Google vs. Facebook for Nonprofits

Knight fighting

Which media titan should be favored more heavily in your marketing mix?

Digital marketing is a core strategy element for most nonprofits. Reaching users where they’re most engaged—with the right content, at the right time—is key. Consumer expectations evolve in concert with technology, and organizations that don’t adapt their messaging, fundraising, and list growth strategies will quickly be left behind by their competitors.

When deciding where to invest a digital marketing budget, the term “media mix” or “pie chart” usually enters the conversation. Which platforms will you be using and how much money will you be spending on each one? In order to create an effective media mix, it’s critical to understand your goals and your budget. Remember to set goals for each segment of your user base: donors, non-donor list members, sustainers, lapsed donors, etc. Don’t forget about distinct goals for lead generation and prospecting. Your media mix governs the creative plan you’ll need to generate, the different types of engagement available to users, how many distinct landing pages you need to create, and much more.

Along with email, two words will almost always show up in a media mix for large nonprofits: Google and Facebook. This is because these two titans dominate daily digital engagement for many audiences. Combined, these three channels probably account for most of your digital behavior too. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common misunderstandings about how best to employ the vast and diverse array of advertising solutions offered within these platforms.

Fundamentally, though, there are a few core differences between Google & Facebook as advertising channels:

Google Search owns a massive user base because users trust search results. The primary value of Google Search Ads is that Google is the most popular and trusted search platform. Reaching users in search can be an excellent way to curate an ROAS (Return On Ad Spend) positive, low-friction way for users to find and engage with your website. With the right landing page experience, it can also be an effective lead generation and prospecting tool. Google’s advanced automated bidding strategies, dynamic ad content, search audience segmentation, retargeting, and partner networks make it a must-try for most organizations that have the budget. Let’s not forget also about other search platforms like Bing, which can be highly successful in augmenting and extending Google Search campaigns.

Facebook offers extremely robust targeting based on demographic data, user interests, behavior, and (much) more. Advertisers can attach all kinds of visual collateral (images, slideshows, videos, gifs, cinemagraphs, and more) to their ads, making Facebook a powerful platform for messaging. These targeting and creative elements make Facebook a great way to target new audiences with content designed specifically for them. Compared to Google, Facebook might be an even better way to introduce your organization to potential donors. Additionally, Facebook is also used to reach CRM lists during key fundraising drives and critical periods in the news cycle (much like email).

Which media titan should be favored more heavily in your marketing mix? Which key features are going unused in your ad accounts? How do they work together? You’ll learn all of this and more on our free webinar on demand: Titans of Media: Google vs. Facebook for Fundraising and Lead Gen

Originally published on the 2018 Bridge Conference blog. 

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