Facebook and Google are locked in a titanic struggle, a heavy weight fight if you will and, they are fighting over you! How wonderful. However, Facebook and Google aren’t interested in being your friends; unfortunately for you, they just want your money. It’s their lifeblood, it generates revenue that allows them to do all the cool stuff like VR, AR, AI and, well… you get the idea. These two tech giants are increasingly trading blows, upping their feature counts, redesigning UIs and churning out endless guides and “how to’s” to try and make themselves the place to advertise on the Internet.
So which one should you use as an agency, in-house team or SME?
Well, that’s a difficult question to answer. They both offer something different. Each has their own style and can be applied in different ways to help you achieve your objectives. Let’s take a little dive into each.
Facebook Ads Manager
Facebook Ads platform is like a sweet shop. They offer a huge range of features and an eye-popping list of targeting options that range from interests and behaviours to everything they’ve ever been able to get their hands on concerning demographics (and that’s quite a lot).
The platform also produces a more visual style of advert, offering an array of different display styles to engage potential customers. Facebook Ad Manager allows you to drill down into your customer, their demographic, habits, interests and life events. This is because Facebook is inherently a social site and have been able to amass a huge amount of data on their users.
Users are able to create very specific marketing campaigns for each demographic or group of people they decide to target, this alone has huge creative potential. Just recently, I was working with a gifting business, we were using Facebook ads to target users who had a friend’s birthday coming up soon, with a “save the day” style advert; something which would have been very difficult to execute on another advertising platform.
Google AdWords is, primarily known for its Paid Search feature - the ads that appear when you Google something, displayed at the top of the Search Engine Results Page. AdWords links all your Google Ads into one platform, showing any ads you have running on YouTube, the Android App Store, Gmail etc. all in one collated dashboard. AdWords is like porridge. Solid and reliable, it fills you up and you can even add some interesting extra ingredients like YouTube video advertising or Gmail ads. It may not be as exciting and as visually pleasing as Facebook Ads, but what makes Google AdWords so successful is the core search text ads - the ads that display at the top of the page after conducting a Google search. It’s the plain porridge, the porridge that’s just right.
Those core ads are so important for many businesses we work with. If used correctly you can grow your business very quickly, targeting thousands of keywords and users in minutes, whilst SEO could take months or years of work to even begin ranking for the very same keywords. Yes, you are paying for traffic and no, it isn’t always going to work but I’d recommend that you trial AdWords for around 3 months at some point, especially if you are a smaller business looking to grow your online presence.
So, which one?
There are many differences between the two, making it essential to understand the goals and objectives of your marketing campaign. If you know exactly what you want to achieve then you can make better decisions on what adverts, styles and platforms to use. The major difference between the two platforms, besides user demographics, is that Facebook ads target users who have a lower, to no buying intent.
For example, a Facebook ad randomly selling ‘caravans’ is going to go down like a lead balloon because it’s not necessarily what users are looking for in that moment; they’ve probably been busy watching cat videos or laughing at memes. However, an ad on Google Search targeting the key words “Caravans for sale” is going to be much more successful. This is because of the nature of the product and the intent of the customer at the time of searching; Google are specifically mirroring buyer behaviour by displaying relevant content aligned with what people are searching for.
In terms of respective cost of advertising, generally speaking, it is Google AdWords that is the more expensive. However, it is important to understand that certain campaigns on either platform can vary greatly in price. I would argue that Google drives more meaningful interactions than Facebook. Whilst both platforms use similar measurements metrics (clicks, views, engagements etc.), there is a clear differentiation in policy on what the definitions of these interactions are. So, I recommend you check them out and understand exactly what you are paying for. For example, a ‘view’ of a Google video ad only counts once a user has watched at least 30 seconds. Whereas, a ‘view’ on Facebook only requires 3 seconds of a user’s time in order to count.
One more thing to bear in mind is that your ad campaign needs to be well crafted and relevant. There are plenty of good resources to help you and there are many great examples so take a look online, but please don’t blindly follow the platforms user instructions. Depending on how you are crafting your campaign and the settings you choose will determine your success. If you were unsure I’d recommend small trial budgets or talk to an expert.
There is no silver bullet to figuring out which ad platform to use. Testing assumptions through small campaigns is an excellent way to understand how customers will interact with your campaign. By refining content, keywords or demographics after a trail run you can boost performance as you scale a campaign up.
The key to creating and optimising campaigns that deliver results is to experiment; Even the most lovingly crafted campaign could fall flat on its face, and if it does you need to analyse and experiment to understand what went wrong in order to improve it. This is where you get the most value from working with experts.
Get to know your Facebook and Google metrics a little more here:
Google AdWords -https://support.google.com/adwords/topic/3119141?hl=en&ref_topic=3181080,3126923
...and your Facebook Ads:
If you want to learn about AdWords in less than 300 words take a look here.
If you want to see some more pros and cons of the platforms and also some case studies look here.