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Where To Spend Your Budget: Facebook Ads Vs Google Adwords

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Overview

Until recently, many advertisers viewed Google and Facebook Ads in a very adversarial way. The two companies’ long-standing rivalry that is often dramatized by technology media outlets, was taken as irrefutable evidence that the two platforms are in direct competition with each another, and that it was necessary for businesses of all sizes to make a tough decisions about what platform was right for their needs; a false dichotomy that remains confusing and misleading to those people and businesses new to online advertising.

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Google Adwords is no longer the only major player when it comes to PPC advertising. It has a giant competitor that is ready to challenge Adwords and this is none other than Facebook Ads. The two companies can give their ‘fight’ for the share of the market but what is important to you, the advertiser, is where and how you spend your advertising budget for maximizing ROI.  Although the two platforms have often been positioned as competitors, nothing could be further from the truth in a more practical sense. Many business organizations are leveraging the strengths of advertising on Google and Facebook Ads in order to achieve maximum visibility, increase leads and sales, and finding new customers, adopting different strategies that align with the functionality of each platform and seeing remarkable return on their advertising expenditure.

In this guide, we’ll examine what sets Google AdWords and Facebook Ads apart, how the two ad platforms work, and why you should consider using both as part of your wider digital marketing strategy.

Facebook vs Google

Google Adwords- Paid Search (PPC)

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Google is responsible for the growth of PPC that has played a big role for the growth of Google to the size it is today. Google was in fact the first company that looked at PPC seriously and took advantage of it by utilizing its huge user base of people who are searching on Google and browsing the thousands of websites that have Google Ads enabled through Google Ad sense. Paid search focuses on the targeting of keywords and the use of text-based advertisements. Advertisers using AdWords bid on various keywords that are specific words and phrases included in search queries entered by Google users. They hope that their ads will be displayed alongside search results for these queries. Every time that a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser gets charged a certain amount of money, hence the name is “pay-per-click advertising.” Advertisers are paying and bidding for the potential to find new customers  based on the keywords and search terms that users enter into Google search.

Facebook Ads- Paid Social

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Facebook on the other hand has approximately 1.49 billion active users per month or more could not leave this opportunity go wasted. With all the demographic information that it has for all of us, Facebook has a big advantage over other advertising companies. Facebook knows what we like and soon what we dont like, what our friends like, the pages we interact with, our relationship status, education, where we live and many many more personal details.

Facebook Ads is a prime example of what has come to be known as “paid social,” or also know as the practice of advertising on social networks. With the highest number of monthly active users compared to any other social network in the world, Facebook has become a highly competitive and potentially lucrative element for many business’ digital advertising strategies. Although advertising on Facebook can be to some extent similar to that of  AdWords, that advertisers using both platforms are essentially promoting their business through the Internet, but this is where the similarities end. Unlike paid search that helps businesses to find new customers via keywords, paid social helps users to find businesses based on the things they’re interested in and the ways in which they behave and engage with content online.

When it comes to the primary difference between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, you can put it this way: AdWords helps you find new customers, while Facebook helps new customers find you. So, on one side we have Google that knows ‘what we want’ and Facebook on the other side that knows ‘what we do’. So what does this mean for advertisers and where do you put your money?

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It is easier to answer this question by explaining the primary use of each network. Now that we’ve covered the elementary difference between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads (or paid search and paid social), let’s examine the advantages of each platform and how these online marketing tools can be leveraged effectively by businesses and advertisers,

When To Use Google Adwords

Adwords is an important and essential tool for business growth. If one can avoid mistakes that can drain your budget, Adwords can become a very profitable sales channel for almost any kind of business. So why is that? Because of Google. Anyone using Google search engine or any of Googles other products like YouTube for example, is either looking for information on any topic or area, answers to questions or products and services to buy. This means that users have a ‘clear intent’ and a good idea on what they are looking for. This is why they use Google to find it on the Internet. If you are into selling products, services or even information that people search for, then Adwords is the right channel for you.

Google’s advertising offerings are split across two primary networks namely: The Search Network and The Display Network. Firstly, the Search Network encompasses the whole of Google as a search engine. Advertisers can bid on millions of keywords and phrases to target prospective customers and generate leads.

The Google Display Network on the other hand, which offers advertisers more of visual ads such as banners, spans approximately 98% of the World Wide Web, making it a great choice for advertisers who want to accomplish marketing goals that aren’t necessarily as conversion-driven as those of PPC ads, such as raising brand awareness and increasing visibility of your brand or business.

Advantages:

  • You can reach people searching on Google, its Partner sites and the Google display network.
  • You can use various keywords to control when your ads should appear or you can also use the Dynamic Search Ads or Google shopping campaigns to advertise your products without worrying about the keywords.
  • Adwords is a very powerful and flexible platform which gives you a number of options to optimize your campaigns and spending.
  • You can target people based on their location, device, country etc.
  • You can also do re-marketing with Adwords both on Google Search and the Display network.
  • You can use Adwords to make your search presence even stronger if you already have good organic rankings.
  • When people click on your Ads, they go directly to your website or dedicated landing page.

Although PPC ads in AdWords remain text-based, advertisers can take advantage of an incredible number of features to make their ads more compelling and enticing to prospective customers. Ad extensions, site links, social proofing such as user reviews, location targeting, Shopping ads, and a host of other features are available in Adwords, offering an unparalleled level of customization and control to advertisers. Google has also introduced ad formats tailored to the unique needs of specific types of businesses, such as vehicle manufacturers and hotels, that go far beyond the typical text-based ad experience and incorporate rich visual elements such as high-resolution images and interactive map data.

No matter what you sell or to whom you sell, the chances are good that there’s an ad format or feature that will make your products or services more appealing to your target market. Google is continually implementing new ad formats and features which further empowers advertisers to reach new audiences and drive new business.

When To Use Facebook Ads

Facebook and Facebook ads are also a sales channel but that’s not its strongest area. These type of ads are more suitable for creating brand awareness, spreading the word to the world, winning the social proof game, networking and connecting with your audience. When you login to Facebook, your primary concern is not to find something to buy or to search for information but to see what your friends are doing, read news and interact or engage with them. The fact that Facebook will show a bunch of ads in your timeline, does not mean that it is something you want, even though sometimes you may find it interesting and like it.

Compared to Google AdWords, Facebook has been refining and improving its advertising solution for several years now. Today, Facebook Ads is a pioneer in the sphere of paid social, and has become a central part of many business’ digital marketing strategies.

Advantages:

  • You can use text, images and videos in your ads.
  • You can target people based on their interests and demographic characteristics.
  • You can perform re-targeting and connect with people that visited your website from Facebook or lookalike audience.
  • It’s a great marketing tool especially when it comes to raising awareness and creating visibility for your brand.
  • You can use Facebook ads to get ‘likes’ for your business page, visits to your website or sales and also create engagement through comments.
  • There are many number of ways to define how you want to be priced for your campaigns.
  • You can perform A/B testings by trying different campaigns and creatives for your ads.

Google is constantly experimenting with the formatting of its text-based PPC ads and Facebook too is also constantly evaluating how it can offer advertisers a superior marketing platform and users a satisfying, rewarding online experience. In the past however, Facebook had mandated that ads on its platform featured text that occupied no more than 20% of the total advertising area, a restriction it has since relaxed. Despite this considerable change to its advertising governance, Facebook remains an inherently visual platform and a major selling point to many advertisers and businesses.

Which Should You Be Using?

Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are incredibly powerful advertising platforms. They both cater to virtually every type of business and products or services. When evaluating each solution’s strengths and potential applications, it’s also apparent that the two platforms should be viewed in a complementary, rather than in an adversarial way. Some people compare Facebook Ads to the Google Display Network. While the two platforms share some similarities , the ways in which the two platforms have evolved independently of one another shows that AdWords and Facebook should be used in concert and not in opposition.

Harnessing the power of both paid search and paid social is a remarkably effective digital advertising strategy. However, it necessitates a dual advertising strategy that aligns with the strengths of each respective platform weather its Adwords or Facebook. Although marketing messaging can – and arguably should – remain consistent across both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, it is vital to understand how to effectively and efficiently use each of these platforms for maximum ROI and greater business growth.

Definitely you can use both as part of your digital marketing strategies.  They both can be used in parallel lines and since both platforms have good ways of measuring the return from your investment you can do pilot or test runs and then find out how much it will cost you to get a conversion for your business or client.

Image Credits: Google.com, Statista.com

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