Many believe that as a business or marketer you have to choose between the two giants of paid advertising - Facebook and Google. For the longest time, this is what some experts would have you believe. Recently, the battle between Facebook and Google has shown similarities to the war between Apple and Android. However, in this case, there’s no reason why you can’t invest in both Google and Facebook Ads.
Therefore, invest in both Facebook and Google if your budget and time allow, and if they would both contribute to your marketing strategy. With a cohesive strategy including both, businesses can optimize their marketing spend and enjoy increased sales, leads, visibility, exposure, reputation, and more.
Of course, we also recognize that not every company has the two resources mentioned earlier to advertise across both - time and money. You might wonder where you should spend more of your money in the coming year. It’s good to understand how Google and Facebook differ. You don’t want to invest lots of money into one platform and then realize that the other would have contributed to your goals more effectively.
In the journey to understand Facebook and Google Ads, it’s important to know the difference between paid search and paid social. Despite the existence of platforms like Bing Ads, paid search is now synonymous with Google. Millions of businesses around the world invest in paid search from Google every single year using AdWords.
For those who have advertised in this way previously, you’ll know that it centers around text-based ads and keywords. By targeting the terms that the audience uses to discover something in our niche, our ads appear at critical stages along the buying journey. Our ads appear alongside relevant content and the hope is that the user’s sense of intrigue compels them to click through.
With pay-per-click advertising, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that companies are charged for this placement IF the user clicks through. Over time, marketers work hard to improve the performance of ads by optimizing targeting, creatives, bidding, and other aspects of a campaign.
On the other hand, we have Facebook who is known for ‘paid social’. Again, other platforms exist in the world of paid social, but Facebook gets the most attention as the one with the most active monthly users. As of the beginning of 2021, there are around 2.8 billion (quite impressive!).
How does Facebook differ from Google? This is the crux of this guide and something we’re going to investigate. However, one of the biggest differences is that Facebook finds the right audience using specific interests and behaviors rather than keywords. It’s often said that customers find you on Facebook while you find customers on Google.
With the basics in mind, let’s explore the merits of each platform. Then, we’ll summarize the main differences to help you choose (if using both doesn’t apply to your strategy!).
You may have heard it before, and you may be tired of hearing it, but there’s no competition to the granular targeting on Facebook. The more detail people add about themselves on Facebook, the easier it becomes to target them. Since targeting is achieved through interests and hobbies, which users love to share on Facebook, this platform is great for finding people within small niches.
Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you can even target based on milestones. Some examples include, people celebrating an engagement, a pregnancy, a new child, or an anniversary. This becomes even more powerful with lookalike audiences, a feature that helps you to find people based on similarities they have with existing customers.
Whenever you spend on advertising, you need to know that there’s a return coming somewhere. Thankfully, Facebook has many advanced features to ensure a good return on investment. Start with the sheer audience size on Facebook, add the granular targeting and ad creation tools, and you’re left with a positive ROI regardless of your budget.
As the third benefit, we can’t escape the fact that Facebook offers marketers a chance to create stunning visual ads rather than relying on text-based ads. Sometimes, you need to catch the eye with a picture or video rather than hoping somebody reads an ad. Facebook has, and always will, excel in this area.
As a visual platform, it’s time to appeal to the needs of the audience and generate ads that truly resonate. After recent changes, text can now take up more than 20% of the advertising space. With the right ad, users scrolling through their feed will stop and take note. With the right message, some will take this one step further and actually click through.
Doesn’t the biggest bid always win with Google advertising? No, and this is a misconception we hope to remove from the industry with this guide. Budgets and bidding are just one lone aspect in a much bigger formula. Google aims to provide relevant ads to users, which means that the relevance and quality of your ads are just as important as the bid itself.
What does this mean? Ultimately, it means that even startups are on the same level playing field as multi-national corporations. Even if the latter has offices in 27 countries around the world, it means nothing when advertising on Google. If it doesn’t create relevant ads, it won’t compete with your efforts.
Ultimately, Google wants customers to return time and time again. The only way to achieve this is with relevant ads, and this is why it’s important to focus on this aspect rather than just going for the highest bid.
This isn’t to say that keywords don’t have varying costs. Some industries are more expensive than others. Despite this, all ads get a Quality Score which consist of user experience, ad quality, and relevance.
‘Huge’ is a good word, but not nearly big enough to describe the size of Google’s user base. Every second the search engine receives 40,000 searches. When somebody in your audience has a question, they almost undoubtedly turn to Google as opposed to another search engine. In February 2021, Google had a 92% market share for search engines. Its closest competitor, Bing, had around 2.7%.
Lastly, don’t think that you’re held back just because Google deals mainly in text-based advertisements. Plenty of features keep the ad experience alive whether you focus on location targeting, user reviews, sitelinks, extensions, or the various ad formats. There’s so much customization that a business from any industry or niche can find a combination that works for both the company and its audience.
To finish, here are some of the biggest differences between the two advertising giants!
Firstly, the opportunities and platforms available for users are different. Google Ads are available for YouTube, Shopping, Maps, Search, Display Network, and Play. Facebook Ads go live on Instagram Feeds, Audience Network, Facebook News Feed, Marketplace, Right Column, Video Feeds, and even Facebook Messenger. With Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, you hit three of the most popular platforms on the internet.
Unfortunately, there are too many variables to compare directly in this guide, but we recommend comparing the cost per click for your industry. In many cases, this metric is quite different so it’s an important part of the research. As a general trend, it’s cheaper to get a Facebook ad than a Google ad. However, you need to research your own niche (and consider that Google clicks are normally closer to the purchasing stage than Facebook clicks!).
With anywhere up to six billion searches in a day, the reach of Google is quite incredible. Likewise, Facebook has 2.8 billion monthly active users. Therefore, size isn’t an issue with either platform. The reason this consideration is pivotal is that you need to think about YOUR audience. Is your audience active on Facebook? Do more people look to social or search to discover, learn more about, and purchase your product?
Elsewhere, you should consider three aspects we’ve already touched upon:
Which is best for you? Since we don’t know your position, this isn’t something we can’t answer. Ultimately, you’ll need to think about what you want to achieve from ad campaigns and how to best meet your audience using Facebook, Google, or both!