10 Best Practices for Combining Paid Search and Social

March 23, 2017

The digital advertiser typically has a one-word goal: growth. These 10 best practices illustrate how to coordinate Facebook and Google campaigns to deliver superior results.


Coordinate your story across channels.

Develop a narrative that includes consistent messaging across channels. For example, if you’re running a direct response initiative to drive e-commerce sales, make sure the call to action in your Google text ads mirrors messaging in your Facebook prospecting ads. Think about how you’d react if you saw these messages in both channels in sequence and if the action you’re being asked to take is clear.

Align objectives and formats across channels.

Include formats across both channels that reinforce your objectives. For example, if you’re a direct response retail advertiser looking to promote a store-only offer, include Google’s Local Inventory Ads and Facebook’s Store Visits objective into your media plan.

Allocate budget between new vs. existing customers.

Use Google’s Customer Match and Facebook’s Custom Audiences to differentiate messaging between customers and prospects. Exclude customers in all of your prospect-oriented campaigns with monthly refreshes. (We’ll discuss using naming conventions to roll up performance in the Measurement section.)

Run a test.

Skeptical about the impact of incremental spend in either channel? Run a test and let the data tell the story. This can be helpful when working across siloed organizations.


Use search intent data to optimize campaigns on both Google and Facebook.

Users are telling Google exactly what they’re looking for. Use this information to tailor the ads they see on Facebook by creating audiences based on their search query. Here are some examples of how search intent can influence your Facebook ads:

  • A user searches for a brand term. Change the messaging in the Facebook campaign to leverage their brand affinity.
  • You could convert non-branded queries related to your offering into highly relevant ads across the Facebook universe. For example, if people are searching for hotels in San Francisco around a specific amenity such as ocean views, walking distance to downtown, or outdoor pool, highlight the amenity in your Facebook ad copy.
  • Leverage lookalike audiences aligned with type search queries to enable targeted prospecting on Facebook.

Use social engagement data on Facebook to inform your paid search strategies.

  • Use Facebook’s Audience Insights tool to perform analysis of your customer base to generate insights like age, gender, likes, purchase behavior, and interests. Then, use these insights to craft your copywriting strategy.
  • Use top-of-funnel strategies on Facebook—like driving awareness with a video ad with specific keywords referenced—to increase paid search volume and conversions.
  • Create audience segments on Google based on engagement insights on Facebook for more precise bidding/targeting. For example, if women converted at a significantly higher rate than men on a Facebook campaign for a particular product, then you could add female demographic targeting to your Google ad groups and bid higher in these groups.

Design the account structure for feed-based ad delivery.

Align the account structures of your Facebook Dynamic Ads and Google Shopping campaigns. For example, break out top products to allow for greater control and visibility.

Cross-sell across channels.

Someone just converted on search? Increase their lifetime value by cross-selling them complementary products on Facebook.


Use a standardized naming convention.

If your paid search and social teams implement standardized campaign naming, it’s easy to roll up across channels.

When creating a standardized naming convention, include attributes like target prospect or customer, test details, placement, or references to a specific initiative. Your campaign name should match your UTM structure in your URLs to coordinate with your analytics tool.

Align on a multi-touch attribution model.

Many search and social teams still operate on a last-click conversion, which doesn’t take into account all of the interactions that took place prior to purchase. Teams should align on an attribution model that takes into account each touch point to conversion with a common conversion window.

Brett Loney

Marin Software
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