So, you’ve decided to invest some money into your online marketing, but with all the conflicting advice out there, how do you know if you should spend your hard earned dollars in a Google Adwords campaign, or on Facebook Ads?
Both offer you opportunities to reach more potential customers, improve your web traffic, and boost your sales. But, each work in very different ways, with different benefits and drawbacks. In this article, I’m going to break down both platforms, and help you decide which path is best for your business.
How Google Ads Could Benefit Your Business
With Google Adwords, you can promote your business to potential customers who are already searching for whatever it is that you’re selling. When they type your selected keywords into the Google search engine, your ad could appear right at the top of the results. It’s “intent-based” advertising.
With Adwords, it’s super easy to target your content at bottom of the funnel (BOFU) customers. It’s going to be seen by people who are actively interested in you and your product. If someone is already searching a term related to your product, they are probably ready to spend some dollar and buy, buy, buy. There is less friction when marketing to people who are ready to buy now.
There’s also a confidence that comes with Adwords thanks to its market leadership position. The platform has been around for close to two decades already, and has no signs of disappearing. The brand familiarity of its name helps users feel confident both promoting their product, and being sold to.
The support system that’s in place to help users is also a huge advantage. The people over at Adwords have a live phone support system, so you can speak to a real person when you have any issues. No matter how Adwords savvy you are, sometimes a phone call is the only way to get to the root of the problem.
The backend dashboard is also super easy to navigate and allows you to dive into some advanced level optimization tactics to boot. You can use their tools to make sure that the right people are seeing your ad when they type in that little Google search box. You can optimize and target customers by any of the data points:
- Device (mobile vs desktop vs tablet)
- Age group
And, you get to tie all this together with the rest of the Google suite – Analytics, Search Console, and Google Data Studio. Having all of these tools connected so easily means you’re able to track customer journeys with more ease, tailor your tactics, and optimize the entire process seamlessly.
Why Google Adwords Isn’t Perfect
Nobody’s perfect though, right? And that goes for Google too. While it’s popularity may be great for bringing in an audience and instilling you with confidence, it also means alot of other businesses are using it too. More users = more competition. You’re not just competing against other businesses who choose to do it themselves. You’re competing against agencies and PPC professionals like myself who have years of knowledge and more experience than you would as a novice. So if you choose the DIY route, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.
Second, if you want to get your ads seen by the right people, your budget is going to need to be healthy enough to compete with others. Now mind you, I’ve dealt with small budgets and produced alot of bang for the buck. And there are plenty of DIYers who have done the same. But having a healthy budget gives you wiggle room to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. Whereas having a very small budget doesn’t give you alot of room for mistakes. And trust me, you will make mistakes as a novice.
Finally, Google Ads is the more expensive of our two options in terms of the CPC, or cost per click to those not in the know. The average cost per click on the platform is between $1-2, with some of the most expensive keyword categories costing up to $50. Unless you’re Adwords Yoda, and feel confident that you can convert these expensive clicks, you should be steering well clear of those keywords
From Wordstream, these are the most expensive keyword categories in terms of CPC. Note that these aren’t the CPC associated with a keyword but with keyword categories. Actual keywords will vary;
- Insurance – $54.91
- Loans – $44.28
- Mortgage – $47.12
- Attorney – $47.07
- Credit – $36.06
- Lawyer – $42.51
- Donate – $42.02
- Degree – $40.61
- Hosting – $31.91
- Claim – $45.51
- Conference call – $42.05
- Trading – $33.19
- Software – $35.29
- Recovery – $42.03
- Transfer – $29.86
- Gas/Electricity – $54.62
- Classes – $35.04
- Rehab – $33.59
- Treatment – $37.18
- Cord blood – $27.80
In conclusion, Adwords is challenging due to several factors:
- There’s alot of competition
- It’s not friendly towards businesses with small budgets
- Keyword bidding can be expensive (due to the competitive nature mentioned in #1)
Why Facebook Ads Could Help Your Business
The largest social network in the world, everyone and their grandmother is on Facebook now. You’re able to target people in a very precise way, which can help generate new customers who otherwise would never have considered you.
When I talk about Facebook Ads, I’m not just talking about a one-dimensional service revolving around text ads. The platform is filled with advanced search and social advertising tools such as Facebook Messenger, video ads, and even live video – giving you numerous opportunities to reach your target audience
Your ads will appear in the middle of people’s news feeds, giving you an opportunity to capture their attention. And, thanks to their excellent retargeting features, you’re able to expertly target your ads at both middle and top of the funnel consumers. This means that you can generate awareness of your product or service by targeting people who are in the top of the funnel. It’s also ideal for targeting middle of the funnel customers who are in the consideration phase of the sales cycle. If executed properly, your Facebook ads can move prospects who are in the MOFU stage to the BOFU stage quickly.
Someone browses your site but doesn’t buy? Do they fill their cart but abandon it? Facebook ads to the rescue! This is the perfect time to utilize the platform to keep reminding that almost customer and help them find their way back to you. We know that customers don’t always buy on the first visit and it can take a couple of visits before they purchase. Would you be willing to pay a few extra cents or dollars via Facebook remarketing ads to convert that prospect? Of course!
The usability factor is also a big plus for this platform. The interface is easy to navigate, and people usually find it much easier to set up a campaign on here compared to Adwords thanks to the whole “do it yourself” mentality associated with it.
Customization Through Hundreds of Data Points
The best thing though? The customization options. There are over a hundred data points that you can choose from when creating your target market. You can build a persona that includes statistics such as age, location, interests, professions, and likes. This amount of data means you’re able to get very precise with who you want to target while improving the success of your marketing campaign.
Cheap Cost Per Click
The average cost per click here is just $0.27 as well – much lower than with Adwords, which averaged $2.32. This makes Facebook cpc more than 80% cheaper than Adwords. This matters alot if you’re a beginner and just want to get your feet wet with paid advertising.
Why Facebook Advertising Isn’t Perfect
Despite some of the enticing elements to the platform, Facebook does have its drawbacks. While it has managed to survive the recent data privacy issues that have been floating around since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, there are some that have fled the platform because of it. It’s also cast a shadow of uncertainty over the social media giant as it continues to struggle with issues over privacy.
Time Intensive Creatives
There’s also a lot more work that needs to go into the actual content you’re using for your ad. On Google, it’s just a couple of lines of text which, while they are still super important, take much less time to produce. On Facebook, you need a properly developed marketing funnel along with a well-crafted lead magnet. People aren’t searching for your product, so you need to work a little harder to grab their attention and pull them in with effective creatives. Headline, main content, and the landing page all play an important role in creatives. This is far harder than what you would need to do on Google Ads.
You’ll also need to keep testing at every stage of your campaign. This, of course, takes time, money, and manpower to successfully run. This is in large part due to the abundance of targeting options available for Facebook ads. There are dozens of elements you can A/B test on before you finally find winning ad creatives. Sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing.
Business Manager is Cumbersome
While corporate has made significant strides to the Business Manager dashboard, there are still alot of complaints about the UI experience. Many advertisers report of glitches, bugs, and poor design issues that drives them crazy. As a Pay Per Click marketer myself, I can attest to the buggy nature of Facebook Business Manager. I almost want to smash my keyboard at times. I’ve found the Google Ads backend dashboard to be much friendlier and intuitive.
Poor Customer Support
If you run into any problems, your only option is to try and get the support through email. The back and forth can take some time to complete, and your problem can escalate quickly if a solution isn’t found soon enough. Without the speed and personal approach of a phone line, it can really cause your campaign to fall before it takes off.
What Skillsets Are Needed to Succeed with Google or Facebook Ads?
I just wrote alot about each platform along with their strengths and weaknesses. However, the one thing that hasn’t been discussed is your skillsets. It doesn’t matter which platform is best or worst unless you have the right skillsets to master them. There is a learning curve associated with both platforms. If you want to succeed at paid advertising, you will need the following skills in order to become successful:
- Copywriting – A mediocre copywriter will write mediocre ads that never get clickthroughs to your website. A great copywriter will know how to get people to click on the ads. Those same copywriting skills will also need to be applied to the landing page copy. Mediocre copy will not know how to convert visitors into actual leads or sales. And this ultimately drives up cost. Great copywriting will convert those visitors into actual customers which ultimately will lower your cost per lead or cost per acquisition.
- Web design skills – You need to design landing pages that looks good in both mobile and desktop. You also have to make sure the webpage loads quickly so as not to deter visitors from leaving. Not to mention it’s your responsibility to ensure the landing pages flow in a natural order that encourages a visitor to take action.
- Marketer – This is more of a big picture skillset. It’s the ability to understand what motivates your customer and developing tactics that help influence purchasing decisions. It’s learning to look at the analyze the marketing canvas such as webcopy, landing page design, and multiple data points to help make logical marketing decisions.
- Learn the Interface – Google and Facebook makes their platform interface look deceptively easy. But there are alot of hidden features and layers to that only reveals itself if you are willing to do a deep dive into either platforms. Some have the patience to endure and learn the ins and outs. Some don’t
- Analytics – Some people enjoy pouring over data and learning to make the proper analysis that will help drive their marketing tactics. Others can’t bear the thought of staring at data and trying to make sense of various metrics and acronyms like CPC, CPA, and ROAS. Which are you?
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads. Which Is Better To Use?
I know conventional wisdom says that because Adwords cpc is higher than Facebook, one should choose Facebook over Adwords. But cost per click shouldn’t be the only factor in choosing a platform especially when there are other factors involved with successful paid advertising. No one is better than attracting potential customers who are ready to buy now than Google Ads. As an advertiser, there is something to be said about knowing what is going on in the head of a customer especially if I know they are ready to buy now. It takes less effort to market to these customers.
On the other hand, Facebook has powerful capabilities when you want to target potential customers across the entire marketing funnel from awareness to interest and then desire. Not even a search giant like Google can match Facebook’s ability to allow advertisers to target across more than 100 data points including psychographic, demographic, and interests.
Facebook has also shown to be a powerful tool when you want to retarget. All studies show that a potential customer will not initially buy upon landing on your website. It can take multiple visits or exposure to your business before they finally become a customer. Facebook’s powerful remarketing features can play a role in staying top of mind to potential customers until they are ready to buy. You can remarket with educational articles, creative videos, and discounts to help push customers further along the marketing funnel.
5 Questions To Ask To Help Decide if Facebook or Google Ads Is Best For You
What Is Your Business Goal?
If it’s to just generate brand awareness, then Facebook advertising is the way to go. If it’s to generate immediate leads or sales, then both can work.
What is Your Experience With Pay Per Click Advertising?
If it’s a little or none, then Facebook Ads is slightly friendlier than Google Ads. I emphasize slightly because to be really good at Facebook Ads, you have to really do a deep dive. I don’t want to misrepresent Facebook ads as a walk in the park and that anyone can succeed. Because they can’t.
What Is Your Budget?
If it’s small, then Facebook advertising is the preferred route. You can dip your toes in the shallow water and see how you fare. If you have a healthy budget, then it’s a toss up between both platforms and you may want to consider hiring a professional to manage the advertising for you.
How Many Touchpoints Do You Need To Acquire A Customer?
As mentioned, Google Ads is great for targeting customers with high intent to buy. However, if it’s going to take multiple visits to acquire a customer (and it usually does), you’ll need to consider to consider adding remarketing to your marketing funnel process. You can remarket through the Google Display Network (GDN). The primary challenge with GDN is that CTR rates is about 0.35% as of first quarter 2018. That’s abysmally low. The other remarketing opportunity is through Facebook Ads. I think this is the better route to go especially when you consider all of the advertising tools that Facebook gives you for remarketing. Lookalike audiences, messenger bots, and video ads are just several ways to stay top of mind to a prospect until they are ready to buy.
How Much Time Can You Dedicate To Learning About Paid Advertising?
This is a trick question because regardless of which platform you choose, you should expect to spend time learning about the platform and doing a deep dive. You can’t expect to just start spending money and succeed right off the bat. Both advertising platforms are very deep in functionality and opportunities. You should expect to spend time honing your tradecraft regardless of the ad platform you choose to go with.