For business owners, it’s a common question: Is budget better spent on Facebook ads or Google ads?
The answer, however, isn’t as simple or straightforward as the question.
On one side, Google has made a name for itself as the internet’s go-to search engine. On the other, Facebook is where more than a fourth of the world stays in touch with friends. Both are valuable places to advertise — but for different reasons. For your next campaign, which you choose depends on several factors. First, let’s define both types of advertising.
What is Facebook advertising?
Facebook advertising is a paid system that allows businesses to serve branded messages to users of the world’s largest social network. Placements on Facebook include the newsfeed, the sidebar, and the audience network on mobile.
What is Google advertising?
Google advertising is a paid system that allows brands to amplify their messaging throughout the Google network. That includes over 2 million websites and the results pages of 3.5 billion daily searches.
Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads
Both Google and Facebook have a reach that extends to all corners of the internet. Google’s display network reaches 90% of people online, and searches in its proprietary engine have topped a trillion per year. Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 2.2 billion users.
Advertisers are no strangers to either network — Google and Facebook own 60% of digital advertising dollars worldwide. With Google dominating, there’s something for everyone on the network — but at what cost? Here are a few things you’ll want to consider before you choose one over the other.
How granular your targeting needs to be
Facebook keeps a mountain of data on its users. Even though it’s cut ties with third-party data collectors, the social network still allows advertisers access to a trove of audience information, which is primarily offered by users.
Google, on the other hand, serves ads contextually based on keywords and behavior. It has no storage of user information that can compare to Facebook’s. That makes Facebook the choice of advertisers whose product may center around a specific detail in someone’s life, like the birth of a child, for instance.
What you’re advertising
Google has reach and seniority on its side, but when it comes to ad creative, Facebook takes the cake. Formats like the immersive Canvas (now known as “Instant Experience”) can make a product showcase out of a user’s screen, 360 video can turn a mobile device into a window to the world, and lead ads can generate leads straight from the platform.
Facebook’s interactive ad types make the social network an ideal choice for businesses advertising sleek products, or fun offerings that lend themselves to visual demonstration.
In contrast, Google’s ad types are myriad, but they’re far less engaging. If you’re looking instead for flexibility in the way you advertise your product, you’ll want to go for Google. For engagement, opt for Facebook.
If your ad campaign has viral potential, the ability to like, comment, and share will only add to its reach. If it doesn’t, Google ads may provide a better audience.
Ultimately, where you choose to allocate your budget may depend on the industry you’re in. Google Ads is known to draw high-value traffic in select business areas. And as more businesses in those spheres flock to the network, bidding highly on keywords relevant to you, they drive cost per click up.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t use Google ads; you simply may find less competition on Facebook. And less competition translates to lower CPC. In your industry, it may make sense to start on Facebook.
The goal of your campaign
The goal of advertising, ultimately, is to attract buyers and keep them. But, not every ad goes for the sale. Like members of a team or business, each campaign plays a unique role in accomplishing that ultimate goal. Here are a few smaller goals you may be considering for your next ad group:
At the largest part of your funnel, the top, is where visitors begin to learn about your brand and its solution. They might follow and engage with your social media accounts, or maybe search for information on a particular problem. So, common ways of measuring awareness of your brand are:
- Website visits
- Social media interaction
- Social media reach
- Blog reads
- Social shares
- Newsletter subscriptions
Where the funnel starts to shrink in size is where prospects begin to eliminate options within the same category of product or service. For example, if prospects have determined to outsource PPC management to an advertising agency instead of purchasing software to do it themselves, this stage is about finding the right agency. A business trying to measure success at the middle of the funnel could do so with:
- Session length
- Bounce rate
- Case study downloads
- Email opens
- Email click-throughs
- Landing page visits
- Webinar signups
- Demo signups
The bottom of your funnel is where prospects make a decision to purchase your product or go with another. Some common ways to measure bottom-funnel success:
- Gross profit
- Sales page conversion rate
So why do these stages matter? They correlate to the users of each network.
Facebook stands out as a top-funnel titan, with the ability to spread viral awareness that Google can’t match. Social is where people go to browse and share the things that matter to them. Those things are rarely middle- and bottom-funnel campaign material.
Google beats Facebook when it comes to drawing bottom-funnel traffic. The reason is the intent of searchers.
By “intent” we’re referring to a searcher’s need for a solution to their query. After all, that’s why you navigate to a search engine in the first place. If you’re searching, you’re looking for an answer.
When that query contains keyword phrases relevant to a Google advertiser’s business, an ad on the corresponding search engine results page appears. These ads drive searchers to landing pages where they can claim an offer relevant to their solution. If they’re searching for email marketing software, a Google ad might direct them to a page where they can try the software for free.
Here’s an example from Sendinblue:
Are you B2B or B2C?
Facebook traffic is much less qualified than Google Ads traffic, which is full of intent. Still, this is no problem because the CPC is so much lower on Facebook. For example, say you have an 8% conversion rate on Google AdWords and a 3% conversion rate on Facebook:
- If you’re paying $8 per click on Google Ads, each conversion costs you $100.
- If you’re paying $0.70 per click on Facebook, each Facebook conversion costs you $23.33.
This comes down to more than how big your budget is. It’s about spending as efficiently as possible. With a higher conversion rate on one network, it may seem ROI is higher there. However, the truth may be you’re paying more per conversion.
Breaking down the numbers
In the example above, 1,000 clicks on Google at $8 apiece will cost you $8,000, while 1,000 clicks on Facebook at $0.70 apiece will cost $700. With a conversion rate of 8% on Google, you’ll have earned 80 conversions from those thousand clicks. On Facebook, with a 3% conversion rate, you’ll have earned 30. So, $8,000 for 80 conversions on Google averages to $100 per conversion. On Facebook, $700 for 30 conversions averages to $23.33 per conversion.
That means you could spend ten times more on Facebook — generating 300 conversions for $7,000 — and spend a thousand less than it costs to convert 80 people on Google. Too often, marketers get caught up in conversion rate, but a higher conversion rate doesn’t guarantee efficiency.
Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: A final look
As is the case in many comparisons of tools and networks, the answer’s rarely black and white, and it rarely has to be one or the other. Facebook and Google can work powerfully together, especially when it comes to remarketing.
With the Meta Pixel and Google retargeting, advertisers can draw visitors back to their landing pages when they don’t convert by serving remarketing ads throughout both networks. Many marketers actually recommend starting with remarketing on both networks.
When it comes to where you should spend most of your budget, there’s no right or wrong answer. It depends on which works best for you. Let these considerations guide you if you’re just getting started, but continue to collect data on which works best and adjust accordingly.
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