Facebook ads vs Google AdWords

There is a perception that it’s Facebook ads vs Google AdWords when it comes to online advertising. However, smart advertisers know that it isn’t a case of one or the other because there are pros and cons to each. In order to maximise your advertising you should be looking at targeting the right kinds of ads to each platform.

What’s the difference?

Let’s take a moment to look at the difference between adverts on Facebook and Google.

Facebook ads can appear on Facebook and Instagram.

Google ads appear on the Google search results and websites that have Google ads enabled. You can also set up campaigns for YouTube.

Facebook encourages adverts with large photos and little text or video adverts. This makes them stand out on the timeline and draws people’s attention.

Google ads are primarily text based. Search result adverts are only text based whereas ads on websites can also be banner images or gifs. Text based ads are overwhelmingly the most common, though.

With Facebook ads you can target advertisers based on their likes, who their friends are, what they do for a living, personal information such as gender, relationship status and interests.

With Google advertising you can target people based on their search history, location and a small amount of personal information based on things like the person having a Gmail account.

The more we look into the differences between these two advertising platforms the more we realise that it is a case of using them differently, depending on what you want to achieve with your adverts.

Facebook Pros

Let’s unpack some of the best reasons to use Facebook.

Facebook’s strength lies in the very personal targeting. This is excellent for business-to-consumer products or services. You can also target your ads to friends of people who already like your company Facebook page. This will see a higher number of click throughs because their friends provide a level of credibility to your business.

Facebook analytics is easy to use making it simple to track your campaigns.

It’s easier to make an advert go viral on a platform like Facebook because friends can tag people who are likely to buy or be interested. This is the power of social networks.

You need to have a Facebook page in order to advertise on Facebook. So you will see an immediate influx of traffic to your page. It is easier to get people to look at your page rather than visit your website because people are already on Facebook and don’t necessarily want to click off of it.

Adverts are easier to set up than those on Google AdWords.

Google AdWords pros

Now let’s look at some of the great things about adverting on Google.

Google’s network of possible places to advertise is bigger and in some regards more targeted. You can target specific websites to advertise on which is a good way to get in front of the right kind of audience.

AdWords is a better platform to reach business users. People are more likely to use Facebook for personal use and so users are not likely to buy products or services for their businesses. However, they use Google for business purposes and so it feels more natural for them to look for business-to-business solutions through Google.

Targeting searched for keywords and phrases is what makes Google such a powerful way to advertise. It makes it really easy to find people who are already looking for what you are offering and therefore they are often closer to being actual buyers.

You can funnel users to your website more easily than you can with Facebook, combine this with specialised landing pages to maximise sales conversions.

It is easier for local businesses to target people who are in the area and looking to buy.

Facebook cons

There are down sides to Facebook ads.

You can’t really target business-to-business clients.

Local area advertising is rarely as effective as it is on Google. Google has spent a lot of time and money on building local marketing opportunities with ratings, maps and the ability to search for a product or service near you. This is something that Facebook hasn’t mastered yet.

You need high quality images or video and Facebook can be strict about it. Facebook won’t let adverts with too much text go live. This can be restrictive for a lot of advertisers and often leads to ads that are unclear. It does mean, though, that the adverts are much more visually appealing.

You could be reaching people before they realise they have a need and so you are spending money building awareness of the need rather than making sales.

Google cons

Google isn’t the perfect solution either.

Setting up advertising campaigns can be time consuming and difficult. The process is not easy and Google changes it frequently, meaning you have to keep learning how to use their system.

Text ads have limited characters so you need to be smart to really draw attention to your adverts. Google ads are only really effective with multiple specialised campaigns in anticipation of all the possible search phrases that could be used. Using general ads will not work well.

There are certain industries where advertising is prohibitively expensive due to corporates being willing to pay premium amounts for advertising.

Unless you use YouTube adverts you can’t do video ads. However, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, so it is worth advertising on both Google and YouTube.

2017 Updates That Could Change Everything

Facebook recently announced that they would be changing the algorithms of what people see so that there were fewer adverts and content from businesses. General consensus is that there will be fewer spaces for adverts on Facebook and companies will have to pay more to ensure visibility, especially if they are targeting popular groups of consumers.

Browsers like Safari are leading the charge in blocking cookies that allow Google adverts to follow you around the internet from website to website. This kind of advertising is called re-marketing. If other browsers follow their lead then Google’s re-marketing campaigns will see a drastic decline in effectiveness because you can’t target the same person over and over again.

Making The Most Of Your Advertising

Facebook works well when your campaign is targeted to a specific kind of individual whereas Google AdWords works best when you want to target people who are looking for something specific and are already doing research on Google.

Use visually appealing campaigns on Facebook and well thought out keywords on Google.

Make sure that your website landing page has all the right information and a way for people to book, buy or contact you. A professional landing page that makes the right impression will help you sell more.