Which is better: Google AdWords or Facebook Ads?
Google AdWords includes a range of different channels targeting different stages of the marketing funnel. Most businesses and users will be most familiar with Search Ads, which are displayed when a customer enters a Search Query into Google’s search engine. In addition, Google also has a Google Shopping Ads for eCommerce stores and the Google Display network where advertisers can target audiences and relevant content with banner ads or video.
Let’s assume for this post that the comparison is Google Search Ads and Facebook Ads.
When to use Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are shown in the Facebook news feed, in the sidebar on desktop devices and alongside content or within apps across Facebook’s network. Targeting options are many and varied, suitable for targeting huge, broad audience campaigns, but also awesome for local businesses targeting local customers with niche interests.
For businesses marketing events, Facebook’s local targeting options combined with interests present a powerful opportunity to create awareness and interest in those events. Advertisers looking to increase trust and confidence in their brand or product can also create niche, interest targeted campaigns to gain engagement, fans and traffic.
With Facebook’s lead cards, Facebook can be a powerful channel for capturing leads – names, phone numbers and email addresses which can be followed up with email marketing messages or phone calls. But these are ALL interruption strategies.
The targeting options are, without doubt, among the most comprehensive of any digital platform, but advertisers are still interrupting an audience that didn’t ask for the ads. Creating a campaign with a great response is tough and achieving direct sales with Facebook Ads is rarely a successful strategy.
When to use Google AdWords
The market-leading pay-per-click product for many years, Google AdWords Search ads put an advertiser’s business or product in front of an audience right when they’re searching.
Unlike Facebook Ads, Google Search Ads are shown in direct response to a customer’s need. They need a local car repair company, ads are shown for that query. Searches for wedding planners show ads for wedding planners. Searches for products show relevant product ads.
These ads are much more welcome, create a much greater click through rate than Facebook Ads and almost always produce a better conversion rate and a lower cost per lead or cost per sale. Why? Because customers searching for what they need right now are more likely to buy than customers who are interrupted with an offer, no matter how compelling.
Google Search Ads vs Facebook Ads
The comparison isn’t so simple. It’s a little like comparing bacon and eggs – which is better? Individually, they’re both pretty awesome. Together, fantastic, in my opinion. The same is true of the Facebook vs AdWords comparison. Facebook arguably has greater reach and better targeting opportunities to create awareness and interest in a brand, an event, an offer or a product. Google Search is way better for capturing high-intent customers who are ready to buy. The truth is, they are both very different advertising opportunities which are very different strategies.
For many businesses, it shouldn’t be a choice between on or the other, but both. Since these two great PPC platforms fit in different sections of the marketing funnel, combining them is an awesome strategy. Our event marketing campaign for a fitness company even proved the strategy. Facebook Ads were used to target a local audience interested in running and fitness. After a few weeks, it was clear that Facebook Ads didn’t convert into bookings. The cost for each booking was too high, so our client insisted on turning the Facebook Ads campaign off. Bookings were coming through the site from Google Search, so that was fine. Or so they thought.
Within two weeks of disabling the Facebook Ads campaign, the Search traffic slowed and bookings almost completely dried up. The event was coming up really quickly and would make a loss if we couldn’t get bookings! Facebook Ads created the awareness of the event to a local, relevant audience who weren’t ready to book or buy in that moment. But it did create conversion among friends and running groups and, most importantly, created Search traffic.
In disabling the Facebook Ads campaign, the awareness dropped, the search traffic dropped and bookings suffered as a result. Once the Facebook Ads campaign was resumed, search traffic almost immediately increased and bookings began to increase too. Facebook is great for creating demand, but not so good at direct sales. Google AdWords Search Ads are great for converting demand in to sales, but not so great at creating demand.
Without demand, Search Ads don’t work. Without a search presence, Facebook Ads are much less effective. Together, Facebook Ads and Google AdWords together are a powerful strategy.