By Frederieka Bangemann

Picking up a customer at the right time on their journey along the funnel by integrating Google and Facebook into a cross-channel strategy helps to establish an all-encompassing digital presence. Find out how you can drive awareness, traffic and conversions in three steps.

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Digital platforms are continuously growing and evolving, challenging marketers to keep pace and take full advantage of tools and resources to maintain a competitive advantage. Integrating multiple digital channels into one strategy can be key to efficient campaign management, the right performance measurement, accurate credit allocation and as a result, company growth.

The idea of a cross-channel marketing strategy is to take the audience on a journey through the marketing funnel to engage the audience on the medium they prefer and at the most appropriate time. 

Google and Facebook – dominating digital

In 2016, users spent 75% of their time online on Google and Facebook. With a broad reach and constant developments and innovation, both platforms have become an inevitable part of any digital marketing strategy today. 

Bridging the silo mentality and integrating the two channels together allows advertisers to take advantage of two platforms that can perfectly complement each other. Both offer targeting and ad formats for every step of the customer journey, providing advertisers with even more opportunities to meet their marketing objectives.

An example of digital touchpoints along a user’s journey to conversion.

“AdWords helps you find new customers, while Facebook helps new customers to find you.”

Cross-managing the two platforms to unite the customer journey can help to prevent: 

  1. Mixed messaging by strategically targeting new and existing customers across platforms;
  2. Funnel blindness by integrating measurements and strategies across platforms to serve ads at the right time and place;
  3. The sole usage of last-click attribution models;
  4. The misallocation of budgets due to improper credit attributions.

3 steps to successful integration

Integrating Google and Facebook into one cross-channel strategy requires a lot of time and effort. For agencies that operate in silos, communication across departments is vital to build out a consistent strategy that makes the best use of everything that each platform has to offer. 

Image based visual from Marin Software's webinar ‘Facebook + Google: Bridging the Search and Social Divide’. 

There are three main steps to follow for a successful integration:

Step 1: Planning
  • Encourage the user to take a certain action by using consistent messaging in related narratives across channels.
  • Use complementing formats across platforms to reinforce the same objective.
  • Allocate budgets using granular targeting options on both platforms to pick the user up at the right spot along their journey.
  • If you are unsure about the impact of incremental spend in either channel, run a test!
Step 2: Execution
  • Use search intent Data to tailor ads on Facebook by:
    • changing your messaging to match branded searches to leverage brand affinity.
    • converting non-branded queries related to an offering into highly relevant ads.
    • creating Lookalike Audiences based on search queries.
  • Use social engagement Data to inform paid search strategies about user traits by:
    • using Audience Insights to craft a copywriting strategy.
    • using top-of-funnel Facebook strategies to increase paid search volume and conversions.
    • creating audiences based on engagement insights on Facebook for more precise bidding and targeting.
  • Align the structures on all levels on both platforms to ensure consistent messaging and format.
  • Use conversion information from Google search to cross- or up-sell products on Facebook and vice versa.
Step 3: Measurement
  • Use people-based data to understand the full conversion path.
  • Standardise on all levels, e.g. naming conventions, on both platforms to recognise overall campaign performance.
  • Make use of multi-touch attribution models to evaluate which touchpoints across channels should get what amount of credit for a conversion.

Native Solutions to Cross-Channel Integration

Google has made a first step to full cross-channel integration with DoubleClick, an integrated ad-technology platform that enables agencies and advertisers to more effectively create, manage and grow high-impact digital marketing campaigns. 

DoubleClick’s Campaign Manager (DCM) can be set to consider traffic and data from all digital marketing channels to correctly allocate credit where credit is due. It provides click and impression trackers that can be implemented into all digital channels to track Social, affiliate, email, video, referral and even organic traffic. While this doesn’t yet allow advertisers to run fully integrated cross-channel campaigns from a single platform, it helps to track activities across channels and along the marketing funnel to understand the full journey from first interaction to conversion.

5 ways to make use of cross-channel integration

1. Users are often inspired by Facebook ads and turn to Google at a later point to search and convert. If you tailor your messaging to inform and educate the audience to create awareness on Facebook you can increase conversions on Google. 

2. Target users on Google on the basis of Facebook Pixel activity data. The Pixel tracks website activities which can be used to retarget those website visitors on Google.

3. Use related images to target the same audience across platforms. Especially when cross-retargeting users, making use of similar media is key to ensuring brand recognition.

4. Identify the highest volume keywords in AdWords campaigns and plug them into Facebook ads. When the user is ready to convert, they will most likely search on Google using these keywords, benefiting the effectiveness of Google’s keyword-based remarketing campaigns.

5. Use AdWords and/or Programmatic UTM tags from an ad’s landing page to retarget users on Facebook with content they have previously accessed on Google. This takes cross-channel targeting onto the next level.

Final Thoughts

Picking the user up at the right point in the marketing funnel and targeting them with the right content at the right time is vital to achieving those conversions that are most relevant to the business. But not only that – when done right, working across digital departments also supports brand recognition and raises web-traffic.

However, running an integrated strategy across search and social requires a lot of planning, time and effort. Especially in an agency that operates in silos, communication is crucial for effective cross-channel marketing. Managing all channels through the same platform, e.g. 4C Insights, can help to make communication and referencing across departments easier and planning and executing a common digital strategy even more effective.

A combination of an integrated digital strategy, the right data and attribution model is an advertiser’s most efficient tool to adequately allocate credit and to identify those touch points most valuable for the conversion. Bridging the silo mentality by cross-promoting on both platforms and taking advantage of all options Google and Facebook offer helps to establish an all-encompassing digital presence to drive digital performance.

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