If you’ve been debating whether to use Facebook Ads or Google AdWords to launch your next marketing campaign, let me help you navigate this confusing decision. I’ve had countless business owners ask me if one platform is better than the other. And while each offers certain advantages, at this point I can say that Facebook Ads are now better than Google AdWords. Sometimes, that is.
As with any rule of thumb in marketing, there are always exceptions. To help you understand the benefits of using one over other let’s look at how and why Facebook Ads can really come in handy.
Both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords can keep costs relatively low if used wisely. Comparing the cost between the two can be somewhat difficult as both use bidding, which can vary your cost per click (CPC) tremendously. But generally speaking, Facebook ads are cheaper.
According to a recent report from Nanigans, the average CPC for a Facebook ad is lower than Google Adwords; though this can vary depending on how much competition there is for your target audience. Facebook also offers you additional biding options such as Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM) and Cost Per Action (CPA), which provide you with alternative pricing options that could be lower.
With Google AdWords, on the other hand, there is more competition for keywords due to higher usage, which can result in higher prices. Broader keywords with a higher search volume will have a higher CPC with Google. To get a more accurate picture of the cost comparison for your particular campaign, you can build a campaign on both networks and compare the estimates.
Facebook has a huge ad inventory
Facebook represents a large portion of display ad inventory (the amount of available ad space) on the web–more than 25% according to a ComScore study–positioning the service at a big advantage. Users typically spend extended periods of time browsing through Facebook, as opposed to quick Google searches, further increasing ad exposure opportunities. Not only can marketers take advantage of ads on the right hand side of Facebook pages, but they can also utilize the Newsfeed for dynamicly creative ads.
Watch a Video On Facebook Marketing
John Lincoln, Ignite Visibility CEO, covers Facebook.
Facebook’s recent purchase and revamp of the Atlas ad network from Microsoft, also extends its ad inventory to off-Facebook sites. With Atlas, the performance of ads can be tracked better across the Internet whether users are on their smartphone, tablet, or personal computer. Google AdWords, however, are limited by the cookies on a particular device and won’t travel with the user to other devices.
Facebook Ads are very visual
Facebook ads extremely eye-catching and allow marketers to utilize images, video, and now even Instagram, to draw customers in. As our attention spans shrink by the day, a powerful visual element can dramatically increase the chances of conversions for an ad with Facebook. Google AdWords on the other hand rely primarily on text alone. Not everyone looks to Google Shopping for images, but Facebook offers an ever-present opportunity for captivating photos and images that jump out at users.
Facebook is native advertising and more personal, while Google is more research oriented
Facebook ads also come with a set of powerful and effective targeting options, which enable marketers to make their ads even more personal for the user. Facebook ads can be targeted according to age, gender, interests, location and much more. Alternatively, Google AdWords are limited to a keyword scheme and rely upon users searching for specific words and phrases in order for ads to appear. One advantage to this, however, is that when customers search for something they may be more inclined to click through if the Google ad meets their criteria, compared to Facebook where they may just be socializing.
You can get more creative
Along with the benefits of visual elements with Facebook comes more creative freedom, too. The sky is the limit with creative images and video that you can use with Facebook ads. Facebook ads can also direct users to a giveaway or contest to help build your email list or brand awareness. You could also geographically target users to let locals know about a specific discount, offer or limited promotion.
Facebook users have a different mindset than someone doing a basic search
It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook users aren’t on the platform to be pitched to, so a hard sell you might use in a Google Ad probably won’t fly. That said there are distinct advantages to targeting Facebook users that take that different mindset into account.
Facebook users are typically looking to connect with friends, find out the latest news and stories, and to stay up on the latest social trends. Play to those aspects in your Facebook ads and you’re likely to see tremendous results:
- Position your ads as something buzz-worthy that they want to share with friends.
- Keep the tone casual.
- Use humor to your advantage where appropriate.
- By targeting according to interests and likes, you can reinforce credibility when users see that friends have liked your ad.
Custom Audiences and Lookalike ads work
Two other major advantages to using Facebook ads over Google AdWords are that you can utilize custom audiences and lookalike ads. Custom audiences allows you to reach previous customers through Facebook ads by uploading email lists and phone numbers that you’ve already gathered. You’re able to get even more value out of the ads because people who are already familiar with your business are usually more likely to be interested again. Doing so will help increase page likes, extend the reach of your posts, and sell or upgrade a product.
Facebook recently expanded the capabilities of Lookalike ads, which enable you to target people who are similar to your Custom Audience list. Now you can use Facebook’s Website Custom Audiences to find users similar to any visitors to your website or even specific pages or sections on your site. And with Conversion Pixel you can even target users similar to those who have previously converted through sales, registrations, etc. All of these tremendously powerful features give Facebook Ads a significant boost over Google AdWords for many businesses.
Google AdWords can obviously be a tremendously powerful tool for marketers with an incredible reach. However, given the recent developments with Facebook Ads, the social network is quickly gaining ground and offering features that are unmatched by Google. If you can swing using both platforms, you’ll cover more ground of course. But if these advantages offered by Facebook Ads are ringing true for you and your business, your money will be spent very wisely there.
Have you had positive experiences using Facebook Ads over Google AdWords or vice versa? Let us know in the comment section below.
- “Facebook Ads vs. Google AdWords: The Facebook Targeting Advantage” (Crazy Egg)
- “Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads: Choosing the Right Marketing Platform” (Social Media Today)
- “Understanding the basic differences between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords” (InTouch Marketing)
- “Why Facebook Advertising Is Better Than Google AdWords” (LinkedIn Pulse)
- “Get the Most Bang for Your Buck: Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads” (Vertical Response)
- “Facebook Aims to Shrink Google’s Lead in Digital Ads” (The Wall Street Journal)