Choosing the Right Advertising Platform: Meta, Google, or LinkedIn?

Advertising on Meta (formerly Facebook), Google, and LinkedIn each offer unique advantages and target different audiences. this is a question we get asked regularly and the answer usually begins with ‘it depends’. Depending on your specific marketing objectives, target audience, and budget, one platform may be more suitable than the others for your advertising campaigns.

Here’s a comparison of advertising on these platforms:

1. Audience Targeting:
Meta: Offers highly granular targeting options based on demographics, interests, behaviour, and more. Allows advertisers to reach a broad audience or narrow down to specific segments.
Google: Utilises search intent to target users actively seeking information or products. Advertisers can target based on keywords, location, device, and demographics.
LinkedIn: Focuses on professional networking, allowing advertisers to target based on job title, company, industry, skills, and professional interests.

2. Ad Formats:
Meta: Supports various ad formats including image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and lead generation ads. Also offers Stories ads and in-stream video ads.
Google: Offers text ads, display ads, video ads, shopping ads, and app ads. Ad formats vary across the Google Search Network, Display Network, YouTube, and other platforms.
LinkedIn: Primarily supports sponsored content, sponsored InMail, display ads, and dynamic ads. Ad formats are tailored for professional networking and B2B marketing.

3. ROI and Conversion Tracking:
Meta: Provides robust tools for tracking ad performance, including conversion tracking, pixel integration, and analytics dashboard. Offers insights into ad reach, engagement, and conversions.
Google: Offers detailed conversion tracking through Google Analytics and Google Ads conversion tracking. Provides insights into ad performance, keyword effectiveness, and user behaviour.
LinkedIn: Offers conversion tracking for sponsored content and lead generation campaigns. Provides insights into ad engagement, lead generation, and audience demographics.

4. Cost and Budgeting:
Meta: Offers flexible budgeting options including daily or lifetime budgets, bid strategies, and ad scheduling. Ad costs can vary based on audience targeting and competition.
Google: Ad costs are based on a pay-per-click (PPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM) model. Advertisers set bids for keywords or placements, and budgets can be adjusted at any time.
LinkedIn: Typically has higher advertising costs compared to Meta and Google due to its niche audience targeting. Advertisers can set daily or total budgets and adjust bids based on performance.

5. Platform Reach:
Meta: Has a massive global user base, including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp users. Offers extensive reach across various demographics and regions.
Google: Dominates the search engine market with billions of searches conducted daily. Additionally, reaches users through Google Display Network, YouTube, and partner sites.
LinkedIn: Targets a professional audience, making it ideal for B2B marketing and professional networking. While its user base is smaller compared to Meta and Google, it offers access to decision-makers and professionals.

6. Ad Placement:
Meta: Ads can appear in users’ news feeds, right-hand columns, Messenger, Instagram feeds, Stories, and more. Offers a variety of placements to reach users across multiple touchpoints.
Google: Ads are displayed within search engine results pages (SERPs), on relevant websites within the Google Display Network, on YouTube videos, and in mobile apps.
LinkedIn: Ads appear in users’ news feeds, InMail messages, on the platform’s sidebar, and within LinkedIn articles. Provides opportunities to target professionals in various contexts.

7. Ad Creative and Messaging:
Meta: Allows for highly visual and engaging ad creative, including images, videos, carousels, and slideshows. Advertisers can craft personalised messaging to resonate with their target audience.
Google: Ad creative varies based on the ad format, but typically includes text, images, videos, and interactive elements. Ad messaging should be concise and relevant to the user’s search intent or browsing context.
LinkedIn: Emphasises professional and business-related messaging. Ad creative should be professional, informative, and tailored to LinkedIn’s audience of professionals and decision-makers.

8. Ad Performance and Analytics:
Meta: Provides detailed insights into ad performance, including reach, engagement, clicks, conversions, and return on ad spend (ROAS). Offers ad testing tools to optimise campaigns for better performance.
Google: Offers robust analytics through Google Analytics and Google Ads reporting tools. Provides data on ad impressions, clicks, conversions, bounce rates, and more. Allows for A/B testing and performance optimisation.
LinkedIn: Provides metrics such as clicks, impressions, engagement, and conversions for ad campaigns. Offers insights into audience demographics, job titles, industries, and company sizes for better targeting.

9. Ad Policies and Compliance:
Meta: Enforces strict ad policies regarding content, targeting, and user privacy. Advertisers must adhere to community standards and advertising guidelines to ensure compliance.
Google: Has policies governing ad content, user experience, and data privacy. Advertisers must follow Google Ads policies to maintain ad eligibility and avoid account suspension.
LinkedIn: Requires adherence to advertising policies regarding content, targeting, and professional standards. Advertisers must comply with LinkedIn’s ad guidelines to ensure campaign approval and delivery.

10. Support and Resources:
Meta: Offers comprehensive support through the Facebook Business Help Center, advertiser support teams, and online resources. Provides ad creation tools, educational resources, and best practices guides.
Google: Provides support through the Google Ads Help Center, advertiser support teams, and community forums. Offers certification programs, tutorials, and resources for advertisers.
LinkedIn: Offers support through the LinkedIn Help Center, customer support teams, and online resources. Provides advertising guides, case studies, and webinars for advertisers.

 Here’s a list of questions to help you determine which advertising platform is best suited for your campaign:

1. Audience Targeting:
Is my target audience primarily consumers (B2C) or businesses/professionals (B2B)?
Which platform offers more precise targeting options for reaching my specific audience segment?

2. Reach:
Do I need to reach a large, diverse audience (B2C) or a more focused, niche audience (B2B)?
Which platform has the reach and scale to effectively connect with my target audience?

3. Action (Engagement):
What actions do I want my audience to take? (e.g., engage with content, sign up for a newsletter, visit my website)
Which platform’s ad formats and features are best suited for encouraging audience engagement and interaction?

4. Conversion (Lead Generation or Sales):
What are my primary conversion objectives? (e.g., lead generation, product sales, website conversions)
Which platform provides the tools and capabilities for driving conversions and achieving my desired outcomes?

5. B2C vs B2B Focus:
Am I targeting individual consumers (B2C) or businesses/decision-makers (B2B)?
Which platform is more aligned with my target audience’s preferences and behaviour?

6. Ad Formats and Messaging:
Which platform’s ad formats and messaging styles resonate best with my audience and match my brand’s tone and identity?
How can I tailor my creative assets and messaging to effectively engage with either B2C or B2B audiences on each platform?

7. Budget Allocation:
How does my advertising budget align with the cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM) rates on each platform?
Which platform offers the most cost-effective advertising options for achieving my objectives within my budget constraints?

8. Industry and Competition:
What industry am I operating in, and what platforms are commonly used by competitors targeting similar audiences?
How can I leverage platform-specific features and strategies to differentiate my ads and stand out from competitors?

9. Analytics and Measurement:
Which platform provides the most comprehensive analytics and measurement tools for tracking ad performance, audience engagement, and conversions?
How can I use platform insights to refine my targeting, messaging, and campaign strategies for better results?

10. Previous Experience and Success:
Have I previously run successful campaigns targeting either B2C or B2B audiences on any of these platforms?
What learnings and insights can I apply from past experiences to inform my advertising strategy and platform selection?

Are you ready to elevate your digital marketing efforts and reach your target audience effectively? Take the next step towards success by selecting the advertising platform that aligns best with your objectives. Whether it’s engaging consumers on Meta, capturing leads on LinkedIn, or driving conversions with Google, make the right choice for your business today. Start maximising your ROI and achieving your marketing goals now and contact us.

Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.