Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising?

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There are so many debates about these two advertising platforms and which to choose. For SMEs it is difficult to not be swayed by one or the other, especially with the mass of opinions out there. How can you know which advertising method is better for you?

Facebook’s recent ad algorithm change when it comes to predicting who will see your ads has been of interest. Now, the success of an ad on Facebook will be determined by the amount of likes or shares it has. Like a domino effect, the more reach your ad has, the more reach it will generate. In turn, of course marketers will spend more on Facebook ads to compete in the advertising market. How many times have you seen the “Pay xx and reach xx people.” Facebook knows how to make money? What about all those fantastic ads with super content that are left in the dark simply because Facebook users have not been exposed to it? This will make advertisers pay more for an ad so that it gets exposure.

But what about Google AdWord’s PPC?


Facebook targeting is very specific and can be customized to distance radius of a location, a person’s age, gender or job title. Facebook ads are exposed to viewers based on their behavior on social media, what they share or like, their hobbies or interests, meaning that your ad target audience will be very precise. With Facebook retargeting, you can also reach again those who visited your website. Perhaps the downside of Facebook targeting is that you cannot select times, or days of the week to display an ad. Facebook also offers Lookalike Audiences where you can expand your customer list and reach more people with the same interests.

Google on the other hand, is more restrictive in this regard as you can target people within a country or region, and where your clients are located when they search. While Google does monitor a searcher’s behavior and predicts whether he/she is likely to click on your ad, they will only be exposed to this ad initially if they type target keywords which you also used in your own ads. Take this example: If Mary-Jane sells cakes and wishes to advertise her business via Google AdWords, she would only be targeting people who search for a keyword related to baking or cakes. On Facebook, however, if a person is scrolling aimlessly through feeds and suddenly sees an enticing ad regarding cakes, he/she may immediately become interested, although it never occurred to them to search for such a business.

Also, if you have a small business, it may be best to use Google AdWords so that you are targeting the right people near you. Facebook advertising is more of a shoot in the dark when controlling who can view your ads, and therefore causing you to pay more without really getting any visitors or sales.

While Facebook allows you to choose between desktop or mobile ad appearances, Google AdWords forces you to choose all (tablet, smartphone, desktop etc). This may affect the profitability of the ads since some have proven to be more successful on mobile, while others on desktop.

Ready to Buy vs Scrolling 

When customers search on Google, you know that they are ready to buy something. On Facebook, browsers rarely want to buy anything. If you are looking for immediate sales or conversions, Google AdWords may be the best option. If you want to spread brand awareness, Facebook may be the way to do it.

Quality and Cost of the Ad

While on Facebook you have endless ways to advertise, such as videos, image carousels, gifs and infographics, Google also allows for text ads, ad extensions, images, gifs, WAP mobile ads, click-to-download apps, video and product listing ads, as well as videos. Google may cost more, but your ad exposure will be greater, giving viewers the ability to interact with your business in diverse ways. However, Google’s advertising options will always depend on the campaign type you have, whether on the Google Search Network or the Display Network, and most of the times it require you to have ‘All features’ turned on for each. For video ads, for example, you can only show on Google Display Network. Image ads can also only be displayed if you have both Search and Display Network campaigns, or at least Display Network campaigns.

Average CPC:
Facebook is between €0.45 and €1.
Google AdWords is between €0.35 and €5.

Facebook is between €0.80 and €1.
Google is €2.75.

Facebook has a click-through-rate between 0.027% and 0.9%.
Google has a solid 2%.

Facebook has a conversion rate between 1-2%.
Google ads generally lead to a 2.35% conversions.

Average Cost per Conversion:
Facebook likes on your ads generally cost between €0.34 – €1.57.
CPA for Google varies depending on your AdWords bidding.

The benefits of Google AdWords is that you can see an immediate ROI. By determining the CPC, you can better see how you are making a profit and what needs to be readjusted to ensure a good ROI. Google’s fantastic ability to track click-to-calls right through to actual sales is very comprehensive in showing how your audience interacts with your ad. Facebook does not offer such a detailed analysis off your ad performance, nor does it suggest ad prices, such as bidding options and suggestions available on AdWords.

Since the targeting options on Google AdWords do not include age, gender, interests etc, some ads may reach irrelevant searchers who may simply click on the ad for entertainment or out of curiosity, but which does not actually lead to conversions. If you are using Google AdWords, your website must be top-notch as this contributes to the Quality Score of your ad.

As you can see, there are many reasons to pick either Facebook advertising or Google AdWords and each business is different, therefore requiring different advertising approaches. Some key questions to think about before deciding which advertising medium to use are: Is my product/service tailored to age, gender, or people with specific interests? Do I want to drive immediate sales or just spread brand awareness?

If you were too lazy to read the above article, or simply did not understand it, have a look below for a quick, interactive summary. google adwords or facebook advertising