Internet Marketing: Facebook Vs. Google
Unless your business is a rare one of a kind that sells itself naturally, everyone needs to actively market their business. Whilst there are lots of ways to promote your business, it is more cost effective to do it online, and two of the popular channels through which to conduct Internet Marketing is Facebook Ads and Google Adwords.
If you look around, you will find a lot of articles advocating why one platform is better than the other. The truth of the matter is that each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and depending on the nature of your business and your marketing objectives, you may find one being more favourable than the other- or choose to use both. In this blog post, I relate my experiences with each to help you make up your own mind.
The Major Distinction
What distinguishes Facebook Ads from Google Adwords is primarily the fact that Facebook Ads are a “paid social” means of advertising which is the practice of advertising on social networks whilst ads in Adwords are a “paid search” form of advertising where paid adverts appear alongside organic search results.
Both platforms use either the Pay Per Click(PPC) or the Cost Per Thousand Impressions(CPM) billing mechanism when you set up ad campaigns. PPC is a billing mechanism in which you are billed according to the number of times your ad is clicked by the target audience whilst CPM is the amount you are billed to have your ad shown to potential customers for the given number of times.
Ease of Ad Setup and Management
Even though slightly technical in their own right, Facebook Ads are easier to set up compared to Google Adwords. The reason for this is that Facebook Ads have little reliance on the ad owner's website since most of them can run completely within the Facebook ecosystem, using Facebook Pages to direct potential customers once they click an ad.
In Adwords on the other hand, the target audience has to be directed to the ad owner's website once they click on the ad. This requires more knowledge and some technical skills to set up the ad and the corresponding landing pages. You might need the assistance of a web developer with some Search Engine Optimization knowledge and experience in this case.
Adwords is also more complicated than Facebook Ads when it comes to targeting. Whilst Facebook Ads uses data collected from its massive user base for targeting, all provided to you in a convenient user interface, Adwords targeting is by means of keywords which require the necessary keyword research and an understanding of how keywords work to implement.
Availability of Ad Formats
Facebook Ads are highly visual, allowing for you to set up ads that have graphics and even video with as much text as you deem appropriate. There are even many variations of ads including collections of images that tell a singular story.
Adwords is offered on two main networks- the Search Network and the Display Network. The search network encompasses the entire Google Search Network which only serves text based ads with limited length whilst the Display Network offers visual ads in formats such as banners suited for promoting brand awareness rather than conversions. I have found it more practical to stick with the Search Network on Google Adwords which limits my ads to the text format.
Quality of Reports
It is crucial to be able to track how your marketing campaign is going and reports help with just that. Facebook Ads offers very generic reports usually showing the numbers and demographics. I have found that it offers very little in terms of customizing these reports.
Adwords on the other hand offers custom reports which can be edited to include a wide range of data. The reports can also be scheduled to be emailed to you or any designated party. There are so many options in fact that the report creation interface can seem overwhelming and intimidating for the uninitiated.
Ad Spend and Reach
Both Facebook Ads and Google Adwords offer competitive rates and their algorithms are not designed to rewards only the big spenders. Which is good news for small businesses. All you need to do to ensure you get reasonable rates and that your ads keep running is to ensure that you write compelling ads that keep your target audience engaged.
Since Facebook Ads uses information provided by Facebook users and gathered through their interactions on the platform, it is possible to get highly granular targeting. It is more precise to target users on Facebook than it is with Google Adwords which uses keywords for targeting. However, because people searching on Google already have the intent to seek what they are searching for, the Adwords ads are more likely to convert into buying customers.
So, Which One Should You Use?
If you have the budget, instead of thinking either or, it might serve you well to market on both platforms but with different intentions on each. Facebook Ads are a social experience that is highly targeted and visual but more suited for building relationships or increasing brand awareness for a product or service and not necessarily closing the deal. Google Adwords on the other hand is driven by high user intent with an existing market of searchers and therefore is more likely to produce more leads for your business.