Especially if you operate on a limited budget, finding the right medium to promote your brand is crucial. Naturally, you don’t want to spend your budget on a medium that does not work well for your business. In the digital realm, that decision often comes down to a simple decision of Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads.
The two largest digital advertising platforms available can each work well for your business, but only understanding their differences can help you make an informed decision about which to focus on. Join us for a discussion on the difference (and similarities) between the platforms, as well as an evaluation on which may work best for your brand.
Social vs. Search
At its core, the difference between Google and Facebook ads is simple: one is based on search, the other integrates into a social media network. Google AdWords allows marketers to place text ads on search engine results pages, as well as visual ads on one of 2 million websites that are part of its Display Network.
Facebook, on the other hand, offers ad placements that are integrated into the newsfeeds of its users, appearing as regular posts on the network with the exception of a ‘sponsored’ tag. This difference of medium informs much of what distinguishes the two networks.
As mentioned above, ads placed via Google AdWords are deceptively simple. Search ads are text only, aiming to help marketers integrate their promoted message within organic (unpaid) search results. Meanwhile, visual ads placed on the search engine’s Display Network consists of singular image files, and every text has to be integrated into that image.
Facebook, on the other hand, approaches its ads differently. Because it aims to integrate sponsored content with organic updates from users, many of which are visual, the platform allows marketers to create an ad that includes an image or video, separate text, and even a call to action button.
The difference in medium also means that depending on which platform you choose, your targeting options will differ. Both allow marketers to focus on specific geographic regions and basic demographics such as age and gender; however, that’s where the similarities end.
Through Facebook, marketers can target users based on their interests and past behaviors, going deep into advanced metrics such as past buying behavior and level of education. Google, on the other hand, focuses on keyword-based targeting, showing ads based on the words and phrases for which your target audience searches.
Click Costs and Quality
The final, and perhaps most important difference between Google AdWords and Facebook ads as they relate to your business, comes down to costs. Both platforms use a pay-per-click model, impacting your budget only when a user is interested enough in the ad to take action. You bid on ad space (or keywords, in Google’s case).
But again, Google and Facebook begin to differ from each other once you consider the impact of its results. Google tends to be significantly more expensive than Facebook, with an average cost per click of up to $5 compared to $1 on Facebook. On the other hand, the clicks your website does receive convert to leads and customers at an average of 2.35%, compared to 1.5% on Facebook. In other words, clicks from Google ads cost more – but they are more likely to impact your business as they come through.
Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are both powerful and successful platforms. Case studies show significant benefits of each, with some favoring Google and others favoring Facebook in terms of success. But if you have to choose between one of the two, which is the better choice for your business?
In the end, the answer to that question depends on your primary marketing goal. Because of a more immersive experience, in-depth targeting options and low cost per click, Facebook ads work especially well if you are looking to build brand awareness and get your business name in front of a potentially interested audience. Google on the other hand, targets users who are actively seeking out companies like yours through their keyword behavior. That fact, along with its higher conversion rate, suggests that AdWords is a better choice if you are looking to convert users with a high degree of purchase intent into customers.
Ultimately, both networks can help your business succeed. On a limited budget, you may want to give Facebook a shot before trying your luck with AdWords. But especially if you have already tried one, supplementing it with the other covers the range of purchase intent among your target audience, and ultimately will be the most successful marketing strategy.