Paid search ads directed to Facebook?

A recent Media Post article proffered the question, should paid search be used to send users to a facebook page.

The author didn’t actually answer the question, but posited a number of “issues”. The only upside that was suggested is that doing so is a way to marry the search and social channels.

Don’t Force Social Media On Users

This is a distraction for the user and the brand. Paid search users have a specific intent, and expectations that they will be brought to a page relevant to that intent. Basic optimization requires a level of tracking and control that is not available on FB. Search traffic should be directed to a landing page directly connected to the brand site, created for the intent. This allows the experience to be optimized to the expectations.

Social media engagement should be in the context of a user’s social media experience. While cross channel engagement may be desirable, it is only so when the connection between the channels is natural to the user, not forced by the brand.

Social Media Advertising

In the area of social media, when it comes to advertising, we view brand interactions at three levels:

1) Resident – The brand is actively engaged in the social landscape with ongoing interactions with users, involvement in topics related to but beyond the brand or brand’s products & services (charities or the arts as examples) and is generally “expected” to be seen.

2) Visitor – The brand has a page and responds regularly to user initiated interactions such a product queries, help requests, or review responses. The brand is not expected by users, but in mild doses, it is accepted.

3) Intruders – Dormant pages, poor response times or no natural connection to the users. Ads seemingly appear from nowhere and don’t serve a purpose in the user’s experience.

Not all paid search users are on facebook. Even if they are, being there at that moment (when conducting a google search) is not what they wanted; if they did, they would start on facebook. By pushing search users to facebook, brands are creating an unnatural path for them. Regardless of what your standing is on facebook, the interaction you create by doing this is forced, unexpected and creates a tension that should not be there.

Social media is a connection while paid search is a transaction. The two should not be confused.

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