Which is better – Facebook Ads or Google Adwords? It’s a good question and one is commonly asked here at Think Big Online for people looking to start advertising on the web.
Now we hate to disappoint you but there’s really no direct answer to which one is better; the truth is that these are two different marketing mediums and work well for different businesses under different circumstances. What we’ll do in this article instead is to go through the different points and scenarios wherein Facebook ads and Adwords may or may not work for your business. Only then can you assess which marketing medium is actually better suited to your business. Let’s get right to it!
The Buying Cycle
Adwords target “ready to buy” people; Imagine the buying cycle as a funnel and you have people on top that may be aware of your business but just are not ready to buy anything just yet. The people at the bottom of that funnel are the people that are ready to put money into your bank account as they have an immediate need for your products or services. Google Adwords lets you target the people who are right at the bottom of the buying cycle. People that already have their credit card out and are simply looking for someone to give their money to.
Unlike Adwords, Facebook Ads targets people in the full buying cycle. There’s no way to specifically target people who are the bottom of funnel and ready to make the purchase. That said, targeting people who are the top of the funnel is definitely still worth looking into and with Facebook ads, you have the potential to effectively do just that and with generally better results than that of Adwords.
The marketing reach of Adwords
Adwords, as a marketing medium possesses a much broader reach compared to Facebook ads. You can target people on Google itself, Properties or on Youtube; it’s all thanks to the vast network Google has in place. Facebook on the other hand is only limited to the social media platform.
Brand Awareness on Facebook
Although Facebook is limited in terms of reach, it’s still the dominant social network on the web and a great place to promote local brand awareness. Nearly everyone maintains an active presence on the social network and with good content marketing, you can effectively position yourself as a brand authority in your niche market.
Tracking in Adwords
Adwords present a more effective means of tracking purchases and inquiries which is a great boon for businesses that rely heavily on lead generation. You can even track phone calls and best of all these are all free services and come with the use of the Adwords platform. This tracking feature is something that is yet to be seen in the Facebook marketing platform.
Social Proof in Facebook
Facebook may not offer much in the way of tracking but most web marketers would agree that it makes up for it by way of social proof. Come up with a good ad and people are bound to like, comment or share your ad which builds trust so that people are more likely to purchase the products or services that you’re offering.
Dynamic Insertion Ads on Adwords
It’s a significant advantage of Adwords over Facebook ads and to better explain this feature, it would be best to cite an example. Let’s say somebody goes to Google and does a search for “Red Hats”. Well with Adwords, you can insert that particular search term dynamically into your ad. The result is an opportunity to create ads that are on point and convinces people that it’s exactly what they are looking for online.
Targeting your audience on Facebook
Facebook offers 3 ways of targeting an audience for your marketing ads – interest, geography and demography. Of course Adwords offers something similar but what makes Facebook marketing truly powerful is that you can easily overlay the 3 to create a highly targeted and more profitable list of audience to market to. Facebook also offers a means to split test your ads, making it so much easier to identify what’s working for you.
Youtube is owned by Google
Google owns Youtube and that’s yet another significant advantage when it comes to marketing with Adwords. This means that you can run your Adwords off Youtube which is actually the 2nd biggest search engine on the Internet. There are millions of searches done on Youtube everyday and Adwords lets you tap into yet another rich pool of audiences that you can market to.
Rich Media in Facebook Ads
Facebook lets you create ads that contain rich media in either text, images or videos. You can always combine any of those to create your ads.
So there you have it – the specific advantages of each platform. Of course to really decide which is better for your business, we need to also tackle the specific disadvantages of each platform. Let’s get right to it!
The disadvantages surrounding Facebook Ads and Google Adwords
Poor Overlay targeting in Adwords
One problem that most marketers often encounter when it comes to doing Google Adwords is that while you can specifically target people based on their intention and what they’re looking for, there’s currently no way to overlay all that with certain demographics like age, gender or interests. Hence you stand to waste some of your ad budget as you go about tweaking your campaign.
No targeting based on keyword searches on Facebook
This is a significant flaw one would currently find in Facebook ads; there’s simply no way to target people based on whatever search terms they are using on the social network.
You need a good website to draw people to in Adwords
To be truly effective, Adwords requires a substantial website to direct your audience to. You can’t just set up a basic page to drive traffic to and expect good results, While Adwords may bring you lots of traffic, those mean nothing if your website doesn’t successfully convert that traffic, whether in the form of sales or completing a capture form.
Banner blindness on Facebook
While Facebook is definitely a popular avenue to market your products or services, people will become bored if they are shown the same banner and images. Such limitations can adversely affect the performance of your marketing campaign over time. One way to combat this is to always make sure that you regularly rotate your ads and switch up your images.
Limited audience with Adwords search
While you can target people on Adwords based on their intention, there’s only a certain number of people doing a particular search on a given day regarding a specific topic or keyword phrases. Scaling up can be a problem as you are limited to the number of people searching for your product or service on a certain day which might restrict the effectiveness of your web marketing campaign.
Facebook ads make it difficult to promote boring topics
Facebook marketing is primarily driven by excitement which makes it a challenge for businesses engaged in selling products or services that people don’t find particularly interesting. Say you’re in the business of selling basketballs; enthusiasts are likely to buy your products simply because it interests them. If you’re a law firm however offering legal assistance for a divorce then that can be a problem because it’s a subject that people generally don’t find exciting or interesting.
Adwords search ads is restricted to only a few lines of text
On Facebook, you can literally write an ad consisting of a whole article. Granted you’ll need a good writer to come up with content that people will find interesting and engaging. This is something that you simply can’t do in an Adwords ad.
Content restrictions on Facebook
As a reputable social network, Facebook imposes a lot of restrictions on the type of content shared on the network. This can be a problem for businesses that delve in such restricted content such as alcohol, weight loss products and adult-related products.If you’re niche belongs to any of these categories then Facebook is definitely not for you.
You cannot use Adwords to split out devices by type
Adwords literally forces you to run your ads through a wide range of devices – laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc. This can affect the profitability of your advertising campaign whereas Facebook ads grant you the option to only show your ads to an audience using a particular device.
Cost of Facebook Ads can be affected by seasonality
Ad expenses can spike significantly depending on the season as there are bound to be an increase on the number of businesses promoting relevant products on the social network. This can drive up your marketing expenditures compared to Adwords where ad spending remains relatively the same.
So there you have it – the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. One marketing medium is not necessarily better than the other and as a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to combine the use of the two if you’re in a highly competitive market. You can target people on Facebook that share the same interests then drive those people to your website for a much lower cost. You can then apply retargeting using Adwords to maximise your chances of getting those people to buy your product or service. This will drive your total cost down while shaping an extremely competitive business on the web. Inversely, you can target “ready to buy” people first using Adwords and then re target them using Facebook making it seem like you’re everywhere. Either way, Facebook Ads and Adwords are both excellent marketing mediums and you need only implement them based on their their specific strengths and weaknesses.
Samuel Junghenn is the Managing Director of Think Big Online and has over 12 years experience in Online Marketing. He is passionate about building businesses using the power of automation and the Internet along with the thrill of motor racing.