Businesses of all sorts are capitalising on the effectiveness of Google AdWords and Facebook Ads as key pieces of their integrated online marketing strategies to hone in on new customers, garner maximum visibility, and increase their leads.
These two platforms are the top dogs of online advertising, but they’re quite different from each other in terms of functionality, so business owners need to utilise tailored strategies in order to get the most out of each platform and see a remarkable return on their advertising investment.
Unfortunately, sometimes we are limited by our budgets, and therefore are obliged to choose between the two, selecting either Google AdWords or Facebook Ads for our first go. Whichever you try first, you should be sure to give the other a go later on.
This guide will help you understand the differences between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, the strengths of each, and (if you must choose) what factors to consider that fits your online marketing strategy.
Google AdWords: Paid Search
Paid search platforms like Google AdWords focus on targeting keywords and using text-based advertisements triggered by search queries.
Here’s how it works: Advertisers bid on keywords, specific words or phrases that users Google might use in their searches, which would allow their ads to be displayed with those search results. When a searcher clicks on an ad, the advertiser is charged a set amount of money (hence the name “pay-per-click advertising,” or PPC). PPC is too complex a topic for us to cover in this guide, but at its root is the principle that businesses pay for the opportunity to find new customers via the search terms they use when they use Google.
Cast a Wide Net with Google AdWords
Google is the world’s most popular and most widely used search engine, and as a result, it is considered the undisputed leader in online advertising. With more than 3.5 billion search queries entered every single day, Google offers its advertisers access to an unparalleled potential audience who are actively searching for goods and services.
Google’s advertising options are split into two primary networks: the Search network and the Display network. With the Search network, users can see your ads next to their search results, on other parts of Google like Shopping or Maps, or on their search partners’ websites. With the Display Network’s more visual ads, you can target your ads to appear in certain contexts, to certain audiences, or in certain locations and incorporate visual elements like high-resolution images and interactive maps.
Google’s massive reach is one of the main advantages as an advertising platform. Its users make more than 40,000 search queries every second and more than 1.2 trillion web searches every year. As Google becomes even more sophisticated, its already impressive search volume is projected to increase, and along with it, the potential for advertisers to reach even more potential customers.
Simply put, no other search engine can compete with the potential audience of Google, and this alone recommends Google as a marvelous addition to your digital marketing strategy. But when you factor in Google’s increasingly accurate search results, it’s plain as day why AdWords is the world’s most popular and widely-used PPC platform.
Wide Variety of Ad Formats
Although PPC ads in AdWords are text-based, there is still an impressive selection of features that advertisers can utilise to make their ads more compelling. Ad extensions, location targeting, sitelinks, user reviews, ads on Google Shopping and Google Maps, and a plethora of other features give advertisers an incredible degree of control and customization. Additionally, through the Display Network, Google has introduced ad formats that go beyond typical text-based advertisements by incorporating eye-catching visual elements such as interactive map data and high-resolution images.
No matter what your product, service, or audience may be, it’s likely that Google has an ad format that will help you appeal to your target market, and they’re always developing new formats and features.
Facebook Ads: Paid Social
Facebook Ads, on the other hand, is the gold standard in “paid social” (the practise of advertising on social networking platforms) as it has the highest number of monthly active users of any social network worldwide. Because of Facebook’s impressive user base, Facebook Ads have become a key component in the digital advertising strategies of many businesses.
Unlike paid search, paid social guides users to businesses like yours based on their demographics, interests and behaviour.
Get Focused and Visual with Facebook Ads
Facebook is the world’s leading social media platform, so it stands to reason that it’s also the world’s leading social media advertising platform. Facebook Ads not only have an expansive built-in audience, but provides highly specific and accurate audience targeting that can help your business reach new customers who share interests and consumer behaviours with your existing loyal customer base. And you can do this in an engaging, visually enticing way.
Like Google, Facebook has a massive global audience, with more than 2 billion monthly active users. However, rather than exposing its advertisers’ messages to the entirety of this vast sea of humanity, Facebook expertly leverages its enormous audience with the impressive granularity (levels of detail) of targeting available to advertisers. This highly detailed targeting capitalises on the nature of social media to include not only users’ demographics but also their interests, behaviors, demographics, including life events.
An Innately Visual Platform
Unlike dryer text-based PPC ads, Facebook ads are as visually stimulating as the platform itself. The best Facebook ads are pitch-perfectly integrated with the images, videos, and other visual content that populates users’ News Feeds.
Like Google, Facebook constantly strives to improve the experience of not only its users, but also its advertisers, and its nature as an inherently visual platform is a major selling point to both.
Impressive Return on Investment (ROI)
One aspect of Facebook Ads that tends to surprise newcomers is the potential return on investment that it offers, and just how far a limited ad budget can go with a savvy strategy.
Although the budget of a Facebook ad campaign will vary depending on factors such as its scope and objectives, Facebook Ads are startlingly affordable, especially in light of their potential impact. This highly competitive pricing makes Facebook Ads an excellent option for businesses with limited resources as well as companies with flush marketing budgets, offering an impressive potential return on investment (ROI) for campaigns of any size.
Effective Separately, Transformative when Combined
Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are impressively potent advertising platforms that can meet the needs of nearly any business. As we’ve outlined, the two platforms have complementary strengths and are most effective when deployed in concert as a part of your business’s integrated online marketing strategy.
Harnessing the exponential power of both Facebook’s paid social and Google’s paid search is a highly effective advertising strategy, as long as you tailor your strategy to account for the respective strengths of each platform. Although your overarching marketing messaging should arguably remain consistent across all campaign components, an understanding of how to use each platform for maximum ROI and business growth is vital to success.
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