Google AdWords continues to dominate the world of online advertising. But now, in the form of Facebook, it has a rival that is growing in strength. So which platform is right for your business? In this guide, we’ll consider the pros and cons of both Google AdWords and Facebook ads to help you make a decision on which to use.
AdWords vs Facebook ads – a general overview
So what are the key differences between AdWords and Facebook ads?
First up, there’s the obvious difference in where people can see the ads. AdWords ads appear in Google search results and on third-party sites that form the Google Display Network.
Facebook ads appear in various locations across the social network, including users’ news feeds and the right hand side bar. Facebook also has its own network of third-party sites on which it displays ads. It’s called the Audience Network.
Then there are the differences in ad targeting. When someone sees an AdWords ad in a search result, that ad is targeted based on the search term they’ve used. If someone sees an ad on Google’s Display Network, then the targeting is likely to be based on that user’s search history.
On Facebook, targeting is based on demographic data and information about a person’s interests. For example, if a user has expressed an interest in football, then advertisers will be able to target them based on that interest.
Different business models
It’s also important to bear in mind the fact that Google and Facebook have differing business models. And that this affects the way their ad platforms are designed, and the way their ad platforms should be used.
Google is all about helping people find whatever it is they’re looking for – whether that’s information or a certain product. In many ways, this is an ideal situation for advertisers as people will be happy to engage with them.
Facebook is focused on socialising, can be a harder place for advertisers to get attention. For that reason, it can be harder to sell directly on Facebook than it is on Google.
What about the cost?
Money is clearly a big issue for any business, and before you start any advertising campaign you’ll want to know what it’s likely to cost you.
The first thing to mention is that both platforms allow you to put a cap on the amount you spend, meaning there are never any unexpected surprises.
In terms of pricing models, both platforms offer a choice between pay per click (PPC) and CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions).
With PPC, you pay each time someone clicks on your ads, whereas with CPM you pay for every 1,000 people that see your ad.
The exact amount you pay per click or per 1,000 impressions varies depending on a number of factors.
However, one of the most important things to understand about AdWords ads is that the price you pay per click can be very high for the most competitive search terms.
The upside here is that the cost is high because a high proportion of people who click on AdWords ads end up buying a product. But remember – not everyone who clicks on your ads will end up buying from you. You need to ensure that your profit margin on a product multiplied by the number of people who end up buying the product after clicking on an ad is greater than the price per click multiplied by your total number of clicks, or you’ll end up making a loss.
Cost per click tends to be lower on Facebook, but that has to be weighed against the fact it’s more difficult to make a sale. However, that lower cost per click does make it an inexpensive platform on which to promote content such as blog articles.
Google Adwords vs Facebook Ads – Pros and cons
Ok, so we’ve covered the basics of each platform. Now let’s have a look at the pros and cons.
Google AdWords pros:
- Outstanding control panel which lets you easily track campaigns
- Can reach users who are looking to buy
- Complete control over the daily budget and maximum cost per click
- Various ways of advertising, including display network, search network and remarketing
- Uses retargeting for those who have already visited your site and are therefore more likely to become customers
Google AdWords cons:
- Difficult to master
- Potential to make costly mistakes
- The design and management of the ads can be very time-consuming
- Limited space in the display (three lines of text)
- If you do not use other forms of Google advertising, such as Google Shopping and YouTube Advertising, you can’t use pictures or videos
- Cost per click can be very high
Facebook Ads Pros:
- Campaigns are easy to track
- Complete control over the day’s budget and maximum CPC
- Advanced targeting options, including, cities, regions, age, preferences / interests, income class, and other demographics data
- Easier to set up than Google AdWords
- You can use pictures and videos to sell products and services
- CPC is relatively cheap, depending on the industry
- Using lookalike audiences, you can create target groups that match your buyer profile.
- Can retarget users who have already visited your website and are therefore more likely to buy from you
- Good way to promote content
Facebook Ads cons:
- Incorrect settings can lead to ads targeting irrelevant audiences
- Facebook users aren’t usually looking to buy a product when they’re using the site
- Can be harder for business-to-business companies to make an impact
Google AdWords vs Facebook ads – which should you use?
We’ve looked at the pros and cons of AdWords and Facebook ads, but which is the best platform for your business?
Well, the real answer is “it depends”. If you’re looking to sell a product, then AdWords is going to win out over Facebook every time.
However, Facebook is excellent for content promotion and can be an inexpensive way to boost sales if your brand is a good fit for a network that is primarily based around socialising.
Facebook also has an advantage over AdWords in that it’s easier to get started with. However, in the long run it may be worth your while putting the effort to master AdWords.