Facebook Advertising Vs. Google Adwords

Understanding whether you should be investing your advertising budget on Facebook or Google Adwords will help you to make informed decisions to benefit your business’s ROI. Both methods have their pros and cons, whether the pros outweigh the cons will depend on your budget, your business goals, your target market, what audience data you already have and your metric of conversion.

What is Facebook Advertising?

Facebook advertising is essentially advertising through the Facebook platform. Facebook has arguably the most sophisticated targeting capabilities of any social platform. In the world of social media where 16% of consumers are going online to research products, leading to 52% of these people converting to a purchase*, choosing to advertise via Facebook is definitely an option to be explored by businesses.

Facebook advertising allows for three main types of ads:

  • Awareness ads;
  • Consideration ads; and
  • Conversion ads.

These ads include ad objectives such as reach, engagement, lead generation, clicks to website, conversion, store visits etc. Facebook ads are usually paid for on a cost per view basis. Facebook will take your daily or lifetime budget and use this to show your ads to an audience that is most likely to complete your ad objective. You can choose to do manual bidding, however, unless you have an in-depth knowledge and years of experience advertising on the platform we do not suggest this method.

What is Google Adwords?

Google is the number one preferred search engine by users worldwide with 77.43% of the market share*. Put simply, AdWords is Google’s paid advertising product. The ads that you see on the top and right of your Google search results are all products of the AdWords system. Businesses pay on a pay per click basis to have their ads shown. This is the main difference between Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. You are not paying for the number of views of your Adwords ad, but only if someone clicks on that ad.

How do I know which is best for my business?

It is worth noting that the intent of the user to convert is much higher when clicking through from a Google Adwords ad versus a Facebook Ad. In saying this, there are multiple factors that come into play when deciding which advertising platform to use.

Budget
As mentioned earlier, depending on whether your ad is set up with a daily or lifetime budget, Facebook will evenly distribute this budget throughout the selected time period. Google Adwords however, charges you on a CPC (cost per click) basis – so every time a user clicks on your ad. Depending on your industry, Adwords could be the cheaper alternative to Facebook, or be more costly – this comes down to competition in your industry.

Effective use of your budget on Google AdWords will come through correctly conducting keyword research for your particular industry and the service you offer. Theoretically, the more specific the keyword/s you are targeting, the less expensive the CPC will be.

Keyword research is not only vital to the correct use of budget but also to ensure that you understand how your target audience is searching for your product, as well as the demand for your product or service.

In comparison, Facebook advertising can be limited to a daily or lifetime budget while still reaching a large audience. We recommend spending a minimum of $100 per month for your Facebook Ads – this number will differ depending on the type of ad you run; a lead generation ad will need more spend to be effective in comparison to a video views ad. The performance of your Facebook ad will also be dependant on the creation of the ad itself.

Industry competition
The more competition there is within your industry, the more money you will have to spend to be able to effectively compete for a ranking position in the Adwords results. These clicks can vary from a CPC of <$1 to over $100 dollars.

Facebook allows you to reach a large audience regardless of competition as there are more opportunities to show your ad to a Facebook user than there is to show to a person searching through Google AdWords. It is worth noting that Facebook ads do run on a bidding structure, but there is not enough competition to affect the results of a low budget campaign.

Doesn’t fit your niche
Maybe Adwords just isn’t the right platform for your niche? This is something that will become apparent through keyword research. For example, if you are marketing a service or product that is not widely known, then the demand will be low. It is not worth spending money on Google AdWords for your product if no one is searching for it.

Facebook allows multiple methods of targeting users including uploading your email database, targeting website visitors, creating lookalike audiences and saved audiences to name a few. We have written a previous article on how to use specific Facebook audiences for specific Facebook campaigns. This audience targeting allows you to reach people who will be interested in your product or service even if they have not heard of it before.

Goal
What are you trying to achieve with these ads? The extent of Google AdWords allows you to lead people through to a landing page. This information can then be used for retargeting ads via Adwords, however, your main goal if using Google Adwords should be conversion of a user to the sale of a product.

With Facebook, your conversion metrics are widened. You can create ads for brand awareness, to capture leads to add to a lead nurture campaign, retargeting campaigns, video views etc.

What if neither method seems to work?

Creating a compelling ad is only one part of the conversion equation – maybe even just a third – the performance of your ad will also be determined by other factors.

Landing Page
If your landing page does not have a clear call to action, is difficult to navigate, slow to load or irrelevant to the ad that it is linked to, then the likelihood that your campaign will be successful is very low.

Looking into the performance statistics of your ad and comparing this to the consumer behaviour in Google Analytics will give you an indication of where there is room for improvement.

Length of campaign
It is impossible to analyse a campaign effectively if there isn’t enough data to look at. We would recommend running ads for a minimum of a month before being able to come to conclusions of why your ad did or didn’t work well. Any less than 4 weeks makes it hard for there to be enough traction to your ad.

Budget
Much like the length of a campaign, it is important that you have enough money behind your campaign to allow it to run effectively. Without sufficient budget, your campaign does not have the chance to perform at its best to provide you with valuable insights to analyse.

Expertise
Was your ad set up correctly and was it set up to achieve the best results possible? It is not fair to write off a campaign or platform if the execution of that campaign was not done justice. If you are not familiar with Facebook advertising or Google Adwords, we would highly recommend engaging a professional for this service. As a campaign set up incorrectly can be very costly.

*Sources: Sensis Social Media Report 2017
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