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Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: Which Is Right For Your Business?

Many businesses owners and marketing managers ask us whether they should incorporate Facebook Ads or Google Ads as a part of their marketing strategy. These platforms are both excellent for different reasons. So the question is, which one is right for your business? Let’s explore…

What are they?

Google Ads:

Google Ads are essentially a paid search engine and they give you the ability to access people who are searching for your services right now. Paid search ads focus on targeting keywords. Keywords are important because they directly correlate with ‘search terms’, or in other words the terms people are typing into Google that your ad will be shown for. Your account is charged each time your ad is clicked, thus making Google a PPC (pay per click) platform. 

Facebook Ads:

Facebook Ads are considered ‘paid social’ ads, which means you’re advertising on social networking sites.  Since Facebook owns multiple platforms, “Facebook Ads” can show up on Instagram, Messenger, and a variety of other placements.  Unlike Google Ads, Facebook Ads focus on targeting audiences, interests, and those most likely to interact with your ad.  While Google Ads generally rely on pre-existing search intent, Facebook (social) Ads give the advertiser the ability to create intent where it did not already exist.  

How do they differ?

The main difference between Facebook and Google ads is their focus. Google Ads are focused on helping you (the business) find new customers who are looking for your services. Meaning you are paying for your ad to be shown only to those who are searching for what you do.  This is extremely helpful for businesses offering a product or service that is already known by the target market.  For instance, local roofing companies, electricians, landscapers, locksmiths, plumbers, and kitchen remodeling companies have have great success with Google Ads because they can present themselves to people who are actively in the market for their services.  With Google Ads, a plumber can actively present him/herself as the solution to the searcher’s problem (such as an overflowing toilet or a clogged drain).  By the same token, a landscaper can “show up first in Google” when a resident searches for something like “lawn care near me” with the help of Google Ads. 

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, are focused on helping potential new customers find you, even when they weren’t already looking. Ads are specifically targeted to audiences that have interest in things that relate to what you do, people in certain locations, ages, etc. These audiences then are seeing your ads based on what they have interacted with before, not what they are necessarily ‘searching’ for.  The advertiser controls controls these targeting parameters and can carefully define the people who see their ads.  Facebook Ads are extremely helpful when an advertiser is attempting to create interest in a product or service.  They can work very well for local restaurants, auto dealerships, musicians, hair salons and many other types of businesses.  Like Google Ads, Facebook Ads can also work very well for local service providers depending on the objective of the advertising.  For instance, the electrician who is looking to create brand recognition can do so very inexpensively using Facebook Ads, but he is unlikely to receive much direct response unless he is including an offer in his ad.  The offer can create demand where it didn’t already exist (such as a ceiling fan installation for just $99 – strategically promoted on a hot summer day or at the beginning of a heat wave). 

Which Platform is Right For My Business?

Both platforms offer many strengths. Both allow you to control your budget and evaluate ROI very carefully. Google gives you the ability to reach a highly targeted audience which already has intent to purchase your product or service. Facebook and other social media advertising gives you the ability has the ability to reach large audiences or very specific audiences, and allows you to state your case to people who might not know you exist or understand why they should give you a try. 

The real answer is that these platforms should sometimes be used in collaboration with one another. In many cases, running Google Ads and Facebook Ads in conjunction can create an extremely successful marketing strategy.  This is often true for auto dealerships, who should be running paid Google Ads to customers who are actively looking for a new vehicle and also paid Facebook/social Ads to customers who aren’t yet in the market.  Customers respond to incentives, and Facebook is a great place for advertisers to broadcast their incentives and give people a reason to “enter the market.” 

If you’re trying to determine which basket to put all of your eggs in, ask yourself the following questions about your business.

* Do you have specific target audiences? Can you broadcast your target offerings to a wide group of people and have them take advantage of them, or are you better off waiting for them to come to you? 

* Do people call you when they need a solution to an immediate problem, or do they typically think about your product or service over a long period of time?

* How much competition already exists for your product or service? In the case of Google Ads, if there is a high degree of competition for customers in your industry (as in the insurance industry, for example), you might find the average cost per click to be prohibitive.  This might take Google Ads off the table, while Facebook Ads remain a great way to get new customers to give you an opportunity to quote a policy for them. 

* Is your business B2B?  B2C?  Often B2B companies have better success on Google Ads because companies are harder to target on Facebook.  However, with specific custom audience targeting we have seen great success working with B2B companies as well.  Do you offer specific services or work in a specific industry? Are you selling a particular product? How much do you want to be spending? These are all questions that you must ask yourself when determining which platform will work the best for you.

Need help choosing? 

We have expert level knowledge of many digital marketing platforms, specifically Google Ads and Facebook Ads.  Are you looking for some help choosing which one is right for your business?  We can show you dozens of examples of how we’ve made both work for different types of companies, and will help you formulate a strategy to put these tools to work for you.  Simply reach out to us for a free consultation. 

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