When most marketers or business owners think of advertising online, the two main sources which come to mind are Facebook Ads and Google AdWords, and we usually assume that one of them must be inherently superior to the other. Well, we are here to tell you that this is not the case; in fact, the use of either (or both) Facebook Ads and Google AdWords can be a part of a successful online advertising campaign for businesses of all types and budget sizes.
‘Paid Social’ and ‘Paid Search’
Facebook has the highest number of monthly active users (MAU’s) of any social networking site in the world so it’s no surprise that businesses have tapped into the potential advertising market of such a powerful resource. Facebook Ads fall under the category of ‘paid social’, or paying to advertise on social media, and works by targeting customers based on their online behavior.
Essentially, this means that users can find businesses online according to their own personal information, search history, and other important Facebook user data that helps Facebook’s algorithm find relevant content.
Google Adwords is also known as a ‘paid search’ advertising method and Google AdWords also happens to be the most popular pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform. The PPC advertising method is when advertisements appear in text-based form to users of search engines (like Google) after typing in a query into the search field, and the advertiser is then charged every time someone clicks on the ad.
In order for their ads to appear, the advertisers must find and bid on the keywords and phrases that they believe their customers would be most likely to type into a search field on Google.
Now that you know the basic difference between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords, let’s take a closer look at how the strengths and weaknesses compare between these two online advertising methods.
Strengths of Facebook Ads
- Target specificity: With Facebook Ads, you have the ability to pinpoint the exact people who you want to see your advertisements so you can decide which audiences will see which ads based on their own characteristics derived from data on Facebook.
- Reach audiences early in the buying process: Since Facebook Ads appear directly in the newsfeed of users, you can get your product and brand noticed by your audience by gaining their attention before they begin the buying process.
- Dynamic nature of the ads: The visual appearance of an advertisement can make all the difference online, and that’s why the paid social method can be so beneficial for advertisers. Visual imagery and videos help to deliver a message that resonates in ways that simple text ads can’t often compare to.
Strengths of Google AdWords
- Keyword based approach creates ads tailored to the intention of the searcher: In other words, ads appear in search engines like Google based upon how relevant they are to the long tail keyword typed in the search field by the user. When searching for a product or service online, a person is usually ready or almost ready to buy that product, which means that Google AdWords is ideal for businesses looking to find customers at the end of the buying process.
- Beneficial for local businesses: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that customers don’t use Google to find local businesses, because they absolutely do! While Facebook is a primary way that your audience can find out about your brand, people likely to do business with small companies are more often than not going to do a Google search for services in their area.
- Win attention over your competitors: One way of competing with the companies in your area is through PPC ads. By getting your brand noticed amongst top-name competitors in your area, as well targeting potential clients with further calls to action (i.e., a ‘click to call’ link) or other offers, your company will begin to garner more attention on SERP’s and earn more brand recognition as well.
When it comes to deciding which advertising platform will be most effective for your business, it’s important to remember that both methods can be used as part of a successful online marketing strategy for any type of business or brand. And while it’s necessary to be able to compare the basic features of both of these online advertising methods, what it really comes down to is which option makes the most sense for what you are trying to accomplish with a specific campaign or target audience. Don’t forget-Facebook Ads typically help users find your business, while Google AdWords helps your business find new customers.
Written by Cassandra Sohn