Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads

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So you want to advertise online, but you don’t know where to start. You want something cost effective, but you want to reach the largest audience possible. You’d like to target specific customers, but you want the highest conversion rate. Regardless of your criteria and concerns, when it comes to online advertising there are no two better platforms than Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. The question becomes, which one is better and why? Both online platforms offer a variety of advantages and disadvantages compared to the other one, it just depends on what you’re looking for.

Who Are We Targeting?

The way these two platforms target potential customers is both very different, yet can be very rewarding at the same time. Google AdWords targets those that are targeting them. When an individual searches for certain keywords, such as “basketball apparel” specific businesses associated with “basketball apparel” are displayed at the top of the page matching those keywords. Companies bid on specific keywords for the possibility of their ad popping up when those keywords are searched. This is beneficial because these individuals are already looking for specific information, products, or services and the ads being displayed can provide the customer with what they’re looking for. Google AdWords are not limited to just Google alone, but also incorporate YouTube and the Google Display Network, which allows ads to be seen by a much broader audience.

Facebook ads on the other hand provide much more customizable options when it comes to finding your target audience. Ads on Facebook can be segmented by age, gender, interests, and location among others. This allows users to target a very specific group of people who may have an interest based on the information provided in their profiles. Facebook ads can be customized to be seen by specific lists such as email or mailing lists and also allow for pictures and video, which may help to draw potential customers in.

Show Me The Money

Cost is generally one of the biggest factors when deciding how an advertising plan will be executed. Everyone wants the most exposure for the cheapest costs possible. Since Google is one of the largest search engines in the world, that makes Google AdWords one of the most sought after platforms with which to advertise on. When dealing with Google AdWords, costs can vary significantly depending on competition and how specific or generic your keywords can be. The heavy presence of competition for keywords drives up the prices significantly. For example, the word “Dentist” is going to cost a great deal more on AdWords than “Glendale, Arizona Dentists” would because “Dentist” by itself is much more generic.

Google prices are listed by cost per click (CPC), meaning Google charges a certain dollar amount every time someone clicks on your ad. Google AdWords has a very useful tool called the Keyword Planner, which allows the user to input keywords related to their web page and gives you calculated results based on those words. The results show the individual keywords, how often those words are searched on average monthly, the level of competition, and how much they suggest you bid for CPC. This tool can give you a good estimate on how much you would need to spend to get the keywords you like and be seen.

Facebook ads for the most part are cheaper than advertising on Google AdWords. Much like Google, Facebook also uses bidding for keywords to determine a CPC price. Along with CPC are other bidding alternatives such as cost per thousand impressions (CPM), and cost per action (CPA). Instead of using Keyword Planner like Google has, Facebook allows you to set up your ad according to your target consumer. Here is where you can sift through a number of demographic options, locations, and interests to pinpoint your ideal customer that you would like to view the ad. Once that’s finished you can select your max bid for keywords, set your budget, and choose how you’d like to bid. Again, with Facebook, the average cost per click is generally cheaper due to less competition than Google AdWords might have.

So My Ad’s at the Top, Now What?

Once you’ve made a bid for a competitive CPC, your ad might be one of the first few featured, so what are the chances someone clicks on it? A recent study conducted by Wolfgang Digital shows that click through rates (CTR) for Facebook ads aren’t quite as high as their competitors at Google. According to the study, ads displayed on the side of Facebook pages have a .04% CTR while ads appearing in the news feed jump up to 2.09%. Google ads average a 3.6% CTR for the top four ads, while the top spot can average 7%. These results make sense due to the fact that the ads displayed on Google pages are directly related to the search query that was just entered.

Additional Pro’s and Con’s

Google searches are generally quick with most people finding what they want within seconds of completing a search leaving only a short amount of time for the ad to be seen. On the contrary Facebook users spend more time browsing news feeds or looking at other people’s profiles, therefore giving them a longer time to view the ads. Facebook also allows people to see which of their friends have liked other ads or pages recently, which sometimes can act as an icebreaker and add trust that it’s not spam.

So now that we’ve listed the pros and cons, what’s the best strategy? In reality, the best strategy is to probably use a combination of both if you can afford it. Both of these platforms are very effective and can provide benefits that the other cannot. Unless your business is a very specialized niche, it may be better to start off with Google AdWords due to the sheer volume of traffic Google handles and the number of searches that occur daily. Besides, these people want what you have; they just said so in the search bar.

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