Influencer Orchestration Network

Report: One of Google Ads’ Biggest Customers Shifting To Facebook

Facebook Ad

Better ROI has Priceline, one of the biggest buyers of Google Ads, switching their dollars from search to social.

The battle between social and search shifted with the announcement that one of Google’s biggest advertising clients is diverting budget to Facebook because of its effectiveness.

Priceline, the top online travel agency, has long been leveling 80 percent or more of their $1.9 billion dollar annual marketing budget into Google search. But that is changing as they assess the value of investing in Facebook ads instead. In a note to his clients about why he is upgrading Priceline stock, Barclays analyst Christopher Merwin noted, “We believe Priceline will slowly divert spending to Facebook and other higher ROI channels, which should cause margins to improve.”

Priceline is hardly alone in seeking higher ROI through social. Earlier this year, Kenshoo reported that industry-wide social advertising is up 50 percent year-over-year, while search advertising rose only 8 percent during the same time period. The slowdown in search advertising has been noted by other banks and it even hit Google parent Alphabet’s stock.

Stories Deliver Better ROI: Facebook and Google Both Know It

Even as Facebook and Google wrestle for ad dollars that are increasingly being pushed to mobile, both know the winning strategy is focusing on content. While Facebook has heavily promoted the evolving live stream features of Facebook Live, Google is pushing YouTube’s live streaming capabilities and pairing ad spends with premium content. They know that quality content attracts consumers and drives both conversions and conversations. The biggest viral live stream of 2016, the massively popular Chewbacca Mom video, sold tons of product for a variety of retailers while also helping bolster brand goodwill for the store mentioned in the video, Kohl’s. These titans know that authentic content drives revenue growth and ROI better than traditional search ads.

“Creative storytelling is the new search,” says Eric Ayzenberg, chief brand soulmate at Ayzenberg and ION. “Bots can use search to find content that is technically relevant but stories and endorsements from people we know and admire, that’s what engages human beings. That’s why we track the Earned Media Value of social endorsements and actions as the ROI of social marketing.”

The rise of influencer marketing is a clear outgrowth of this philosophy, as it pairs content marketing efforts with distribution channels of engaged subscribers and followers. With 25 percent of US consumers using ad-blocking software and that number expected to grow 33 percent in a year, working with influencers to create authentic content that viewers don’t want to block is all the more important.

Social and Mobile App Search Also Eating “Cold” Search

“Google” may still be a synonym for an online search but their dominance is waning. Facebook is gaining on the leader. In 2015, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported that Facebook delivered 1.5 billion daily searches versus 3.5 billion per day on Google. While searching on Facebook may not have the power of PageRank authority behind it, Facebook has the searcher’s network of personal, influencer and brand connections to draw upon. For many, a recent study found, Facebook is the Internet and that is where they search for news, information and products.

Social isn’t the only challenge. The shift to mobile app use means fewer open or “cold” searches in a browser on a mobile phone without the context of an app or social media network. Last year, some of own Google’s statistics pointed to the fact that half of smartphone users simply conduct no searches on mobile each day. With mobile expected to continue growing, ad spending on mobile projected to hit 72 percent of the marketing pie by 2019 and consumers spending the majority of their phone time in apps, Facebook’s Messenger and original app seem likely to attract far more ad dollars than search ads delivered from Google in a browser.