These days, if you want to win customers, you’ll likely find them in one of two places: Facebook or Google. Although Google properties, like YouTube, have pushed ahead of Facebook when it comes to daily traffic, both platforms still dominate online activity, with the average user spending an average of 38 minutes on Facebook every day.

With so much activity coming through Facebook and Instagram on a daily basis, it’s an audience you can’t afford to ignore. By monitoring the behaviors and buying habits of Facebook’s audience, you can boost your success rates with Google paid ads. But it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking at and how you can put the information to use.

Searching Based on Facebook Ads

Before you can get started gathering Facebook data, you’ll need to understand how Google and Facebook interact. If you’re already putting money into Facebook ads, you may assume all your traffic comes from customers clicking over while scrolling through their feeds. But in actuality, that brand mention may stick with the consumer for researching later. It’s highly likely, that the customer will see your ad on Facebook and conduct a search on Google rather than clicking over.

In fact, one study found that an ad on Facebook will increase the number of branded searches on Google by 34 percent. You may deliver an ad for a new dog toy, but the customer may want to learn more about it than the link your ad is likely to provide. By conducting a search, consumers know they’ll get a more informed take on a product or service, rather than being redirected to a  product or marketing page.

For your pay-per-click ads, this simply means that you need to find a way to learn as much as possible about the customers who are seeing your ads. It also means thinking of your marketing and advertising efforts as unified, rather than separating them by platform. When you gather data across the board and put it to use on all of your campaigns, you’ll find that your ROI improves. For example, you could consider using tools in Facebook, such as Audience Insights and Facebook Analytics.

Understanding the Journey from Facebook to Google

A successful marketing strategy starts with understanding the customer journey. This is especially true now, as customers increasingly search for products using mobile devices. Studies have shown that search engines are the primary go-to resource for customers interested in doing product research and making purchases, with search engines seeing a six-percent increase from 2016 and 2017.

Although Facebook is many things to its 185 million U.S.- and Canada-based users, it has yet to become a major shopping destination. Although you can create a Facebook shop and sell products through there, often much of the work you’ll do on the social media platform will involve driving customers to another site to make purchases. What Facebook is great for is introducing products to customers. In fact, in a survey, 62 percent of respondents said they’re at least somewhat likely to buy from a brand they follow online. If you can set up a presence, win over customers, and encourage them to recommend you to others, you’ll get the most out of Facebook.

Mapping the Customer Journey

It’s one thing to look at statistics. It’s quite another to understand what those numbers mean in practice. Consider a new mom who is looking for baby products. Demographically speaking, that mom is likely to spend at least some time on Facebook or Instagram, since more than 90 percent of U.S. moms have a social media account, with Facebook being by far the most popular. She won’t be actively shopping while on Facebook, but there are some elements that could influence her buying decisions.

As that new mom is scrolling through her feed, say she’s delivered a video ad for your new soothing sleep blanket. It’s exactly what she needs after a long, sleepless night, so she stops to watch a little of the ad. Following what studies have shown many customers do, she’ll then likely pull up a Google search box and input your product’s brand name to read more about it. If she’s ready to buy, she may even input keywords combining your product name and her own city. If you’ve invested in paid search or shopping ads, you’ll have a higher likelihood of winning that click and, eventually, the sale.

But what if you haven’t invested in paid advertising on Google? If she’s entering your product name and you’ve lined up your SEO properly, she should see your site anyway. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee she’ll input your product name. She may instead type in, “soothing blankets for babies,” at which point she’ll be served up ads for anyone who has paid to show up. If you aren’t among those payers, you could lose the sale to someone else.

To start, you need to build out a number of buyer’s journeys to better visualize how customers may interact with your business. Even if you don’t have data to back up your customer touchpoints, building a journey will help you see how consumers might interact with your brand and see how they move throughout the purchase process. Taking the example above, a mom buying a baby product could follow some of these paths: 

Combining Search and Social

This process works both ways, though. You can easily find that a customer searches for an item on Google and clicks over to your page from those search results. For best results, coordinate your Facebook and Google advertising efforts so that they complement each other, rather than operating separately. In addition to ensuring that your paid Google ads help Facebook customers find your product, you should also consider what happens when someone comes to your Facebook page from a Google search or a shopping ad. It’s the perfect opportunity to show them similar products or even upsell them to a higher-priced item. You may find that you not only win the sale, but you make more than you would have otherwise.

A good starting point is to understand the paid social process from creating awareness at the top, (test and refine your audience targeting through social ads). 

Cultivate middle of the funnel shoppers that are looking for more info and serve them up ads that speak to the pain points through retargeting ads on Google. Test content types in your social ads to see what messaging works best with the audience then use that insight to push highly effective PPC ads for those terms. Follow up with both Google and paid social retargeting ads and dynamic social ads for products they have already viewed. 

Of course, the key to success with all of it is to utilize the analytics built into every platform you use. You’ll then be able to monitor your customer journeys on an ongoing basis and know exactly what you need to adjust so that you’re more successful in seamlessly moving customers from one platform to another.

TJ has worked in the digital marketing space since 2006. He has worked at a number of agencies and and helped hundreds of clients grow their business through SEO, PPC, Social Media and Content Marketing. He currently lives in Lehi , UT and enjoys spending time with his family.