Google Adwords can be a confusing beast to tame. To those that have never used Google’s self-serve ad system before, getting started with a basic campaign build that works requires hours of learning, trial & error to get right.

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about Google’s advertising products is that although they live under the same AdWords umbrella, the way they work are vastly different from one another.The biggest difference between Google’s two primary advertising methods that we take a look at in this week’s video are what we call interruptive or native advertising.

Interruptive advertising looks a lot like traditional media advertising: big, boldĀ and more often than not, unwanted. Interruptive advertising can be anything from billboards, commercials and posters to online equivalents such as banners, video pre-rolls and website pop ups. If you’re running a display campaign in AdWords, you’re ‘interrupting’ a visitors internet experience in the hopes of catching their eye with relevant advertising. While Google’s retargeting and display advertising gives you more of a ‘hook’ or connection with the user in that they visited your site or are reading about your target keywords, the practice of interrupting the user makes these forms of advertising very different to what many people know as Google AdWords.

The other side of AdWords is likely the side more people know about. Using your search keywords, Google inserts advertisements into your results that match what you’re searching for. Google’s AdWords search marketing is used more or less in the same vein that the Yellow Pages has been used in the past, with users actively searching for the services that these advertisements are offering, resulting in higher relevance and more conversion-ready potential customers.

Ensuring that you understand the difference between AdWords display, search and retargeting campaigns can greatly reduce your spend. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these products also gives you a better understanding of how to use Google’s suite of AdWords products to your advantage.

But Google aren’t the only guys in the game anymore…

Now we’ve got Facebook infringing on Google’s territory with a vastly expanding set of advertising tools for marketers and webmasters. The key difference between Google’s ad products and Facebook’s is that instead of using site keyword analysis to determine the potential relevance of a display ad to a user, Facebook utilises it’s user data and social graph to find connections that may make advertising more relevant to it’s users.

The only downside of these highly-targeted display ads is that they can only be displayed on Facebook and not on any other websites. However rumors have been swirling for some time now that Facebook are looking at the possibility of expanding their ad network to other sites, testing a basic form of these display ads with Zynga’s website last year. Facebook is also getting into retargeting with the launch of it’s Facebook Exchange program last year, allowing businesses to retarget users on Facebook who have visited their site and have stopped short of conversion.

While Facebook has successfully built a display ad empire, it’s efforts outside of interruptive advertising has just begun to grow. With the announcement earlier today of Facebook’s new Graph Search features that will be rolling out to users soon, Facebook will soon be able to go after the intent-via-keyword market that Google has had cornered for some time. Added to their stable of offers and reach-optimisation products, the non-interruptive side of Facebook’s business is looking increasingly interesting for online marketers.

Ultimately though, the best way to determine how your ad spend should be distributed is by understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each product and through rigorous testing of each to determine the suitability to your business.

Want to learn more about how to set up any of the above? Here’s a set of materials that will get you up and running in no time:


  • Google AdWords display advertising
  • Google AdWords search marketing
  • Google AdWords retargeting


  • Facebook Exchange retargeting
  • Facebook Ads & Sponsored Stories
  • Facebook Offers

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