If you’re ready to invest in online advertising, there are important things to keep in mind, especially when it comes to the differences between two of the most popular types of digital advertising out there: Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
Both are incredibly effective, and for different reasons. Which is better for your business depends on several factors including your budget, the goals of your advertising campaign, and how customized you want your ads to be.
Below, we explain the difference between paid search and paid social. We’ll also discuss the differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, so you can decide how to go forward in the wide and rapidly changing world of online advertising.
Paid Search 101
In terms of audience reach, you can’t get much larger than Google. Before we get started, it’s important to note that while Bing, Yahoo and other search engines offer paid ads, Google Ads go farther by a long shot. In this article, when we talk about paid ads, we’re referring to Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords).
Google Ads works, essentially, as a bidding system. Google text ads incorporate keywords (that are around the length of haiku) and are displayed at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when they are matched with Google queries. You’re only charged when a user “clicks” on your ad, hence the term “pay-per-click,” or “PPC ad.”
Google Ads come in two network options. First, the search network, involves the entire search network. These are the ads that you see at the top of the SERP. The second, the display network, lets you advertise via display ads.
Paid Social 101
Paid social refers to any advertising on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. The largest and arguably most extensive digital advertising opportunities are on Facebook since it is the platform with the most active monthly users of any social network (although Instagram is gaining momentum).
Facebook ads are more visual (than Google’s search network ads) and they tend to blend into a person’s newsfeed, which creates a more organic experience for the viewer (and potential customer). Additionally, they offer an excellent ROI, but more on that a bit later.
Benefits of Google Ads
A massive audience (even on the local level)
Every second there are nearly 40,000 search queries on Google. That offers businesses an incredible opportunity to raise visibility and attract customers on a large scale. That’s great news for large, national companies, but what if you’re a small business looking to increase revenue closer to home?
Because Google Ads are highly accurate and rely on Google’s own artificial intelligence to provide the very best targeting for search results, they work very well at attracting customers in your area. In fact, Google Ads have increased its emphasis on local ads.
A focus on quality
Google is the number one search engine in the world for a reason. They are constantly improving algorithms and making other updates so that the user experience on the platform is second to none. A part of this is taking into account the relevance and quality of a Google ad before its displayed.
Every Google ad has a quality score based on a number of factors. The higher the quality score, the better chances your ad will be seen. Additionally, only ads that are highly relevant to a user’s search will show up in the SERP.
It’s important to note that there can be a bit of a learning curve to understanding how Google Ads work. Google Ads are incredibly helpful as a tool for understanding your customers, but it may take some time to get used to setting up, managing and tracking the success of your campaigns.
Benefits of Facebook ads
If your business is on Facebook, you can drive sales and attract new customers through Facebook Ads at a relatively low cost. Today, Facebook is the leading social platform for advertising and for good reason.
Incredible targeting opportunities
Facebook has about 1.55 billion active users; many who share personal details like the neighborhood where they live, favorite books and travel destinations, their profession and hobbies. All of these details (and more) allow you to customize your ad’s reach in a number of ways.
Let’s say you’re a custom home builder, for example. You can create an ad about a new development and then share the ad with people on Facebook who make a certain income, and who like relevant things like home remodeling and improvement, luxury brands, and magazines about home décor and architecture.
Facebook also gives you the ability to upload your client and customer information to let the platform create lookalike audiences for even more targeted advertising.
Compelling visual ads
Facebook ads can incorporate images, video and other types of visual content, making them extremely engaging. They work seamlessly into newsfeeds without interruption. While Facebook no longer strictly adheres to the rule that text only make up 20% of an ad, it is still first and foremost a visual platform.
Facebook ads are simple to set up and they make it easy to stick to a budget that can be as low as a few dollars per day to as high as thousands per day. The “bang for your buck,” as one might say, is a big one, even if you’ve only got a limited budget. An ad that costs just $5 a day to run can be seen by an audience of 300-400 people.
It’s also very easy to track the success of your campaigns using Facebook Audience Insights and its Ad Center. It’s capabilities to track the “journey” of an ad campaign and track conversions isn’t as robust as Google Ads, but its analytic capabilities are getting better all the time.
So which is better for your business? If you’re looking to raise visibility and have a limited budget, Facebook may be your best bet. If you’re ready for ads that convert directly to dollars, in a way that you can track, it may be time to set up Google Ads.