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Google & Facebook: Cross-Channel Integration

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 the platforms which aid integration, the steps needed to integrate and just some of the many benefits of a holistic marketing strategy.

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. This ultimately gives the customer a more streamlined user journey by engaging them on the platforms most relevant to them at key points.

Google and Facebook – dominating digital

By Q4 of 2019, Facebook had almost 2.5 billion monthly active users and with Google receiving well over 3.5 billion searches per day, these internet juggernauts are an inevitable part of any digital marketing strategy.

Bridging the silo mentality and integrating the two channels 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 with a cohesive narrative;
  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, avoiding misallocation of budgets due to inaccurate credit attributions;

3 steps to successful integration

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 on either channel, plan and run tests to inform future decisions 
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 or custom audiences based on those who have come to site through search ads
  • 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.
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 the first interaction to conversion.

 

An alternative platform, is Facebook’s new service, Facebook attribution. When set up fully, the service enables credit to be fairly distributed to touchpoints both on and off Facebook. This gives advertisers a clearer view of both the customer journey and what is ultimately driving business outcomes. 

 

Both platforms offer a chance for advertisers to create more informed, holistic and smarter marketing strategies, the days of siloed planning and performance are over in the digital marketing world.


Practical use cases of cross-channel integration

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 and drive traffic from Facebook, you can increase conversions on via Google later in the customer journey. 

Target users on Google using data from the Facebook Pixel. The Pixel tracks website activities, this can then be utilised by retargeting to those who engaged on Google.

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


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 relevant content at the correct time is vital to cost-effectively achieving conversions. 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. With new platforms aiding the creation of a holistic marketing strategy, more and more advertisers are certain to take this approach to achieve business goals more efficiently.

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 touchpoints most valuable to achieving a 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 performance.

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