If you’re one of our clients, then you’ve heard us talk about the advantages of paid advertising. In fact, you’re almost certainly sick of hearing about how advertising on Google AdWords and Facebook can be super-effective ways to reach a wider audience.
However, in all our talk about these two platforms, we rarely get into how you should choose between them. After all, most local businesses don’t have room in their budgets to advertise on both platforms. So, when it comes down to Facebook Ads versus Google AdWords, which one should you choose? That’s what we’ll help you decide in this post.
Keep reading to find out how your goals and budget will play into your decision!
Facebook Ads Versus Google AdWords: What’s the Difference?
Let’s start by going over the fundamental difference between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. It’s as simple as “push” versus “pull.” Let us explain.
As you may know from reading our previous blog posts, we describe Facebook Ads as “interruption marketing.” Facebook sprinkles ads throughout your audience’s news feed. As a result, when users are scrolling through their friends’ photos and status updates, your ad interrupts them. (This is how TV commercials work, too.) These people aren’t searching for your company or services, but you’re putting your name in front of them anyway. You’re essentially “pushing” your brand and your offerings into their consciousness.
On the other hand, Google AdWords uses your business’s offerings to “pull” customers in. Google only presents your ads to users after they search for your specific products or services. Then, it’s your ads’ job to grab people’s attention and intrigue them enough to click. With Google AdWords, you’re relying on the fact that people are already aware of and interested in the services or products you offer.
In simpler terms: Facebook ads push your services onto potential customers, while Google ads use your services to pull them in.
Use Google AdWords When Demand Is Built In
As we explained above, Google AdWords is ideal for products and services that people are already seeking out. These ads are pay-per-click, and your main goal is to get people to click on your ad. Clicking on your ad brings them to your website, which, hopefully, convinces them to call you for a job. Plus, whoever clicks is already a motivated consumer because they’re clearly interested in learning more about your service offering (otherwise, why would they have searched for it?). Therefore, AdWords is the best way to directly increase your leads and revenue.
So, if you provide a well-known service that local homeowners regularly need, like household appliance repairs, then you may benefit from an AdWords campaign (provided it’s set up and managed correctly). People’s refrigerators and dishwashers break all the time, and they only have three options: repair it, replace it, or live without it. That means your ad for a common, straightforward service like appliance repair has built-in demand. This makes your chances of converting leads into sales much higher.
Please note: Because clicking on your ad brings users to your website, make sure your website is up to snuff. It should have high-quality images, well-written content, and all of the pertinent details customers want to know upfront. In other words, before you even think about starting a Google AdWords campaign, you better fully optimize your website.
Use Facebook Ads to Establish What You’re About
While Google AdWords targets a product or service and directly converts new leads, Facebook Ads promotes a general awareness of your local business. More awareness will eventually lead to more customers, but you shouldn’t expect your Facebook Ads to single-handedly drive up your revenue.
So, what kind of awareness do you want to spread with Facebook Ads? If your local business is doing something different and your desired customers wouldn’t necessarily know to search for it, then you’re a prime candidate for Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads are ideal for promoting things like a brand-new product, a special technique you use in your work, or a unique perk that comes with your services. Basically, you’ll want to use Facebook Ads for anything that’s novel or can’t be easily distilled into a couple of keywords.
For instance, we have a client who successfully uses Facebook Ads to promote their trash collection company. The focus of one of their ads is the old-fashioned customer service they provide. Because Facebook Ads are designed for interruption and “pushing” your business into people’s minds, they’re a great platform for establishing your brand’s personality and values. In this case, our client uses their ad to tout their dedication to customer satisfaction. Not surprisingly, this ad receives a tremendous amount of engagement and positive feedback from its audience. Over the course of a few months, they saw a substantial increase in phone calls.
Please note: While Facebook Ads generally don’t lead directly to new sales, their versatile design allows you to set whatever call-to-action you like. You can lead your audience to visit your website, visit your page, or send you a direct message straight from the ad. This helps you tailor your campaign so you get the results you’re looking for.
Both Are Great for Special Promos
Special promos, like limited-time offerings and discounts, are where Google AdWords and Facebook Ads overlap. A special’s time-sensitive nature automatically builds a sense of urgency. Plus, if it’s a sale, the promise of savings is sure to catch people’s attention.
However, the same basic differences between Google and Facebook still apply. On AdWords, your special must be for a product or service people are already searching for. On Facebook, the special has to be intriguing enough that it steals people’s attention away from their news feeds.
When you target and manage these special campaigns effectively, you’re sure to see success on either platform. The platform you choose simply depends on how much you’re willing to pay. Which brings us to…
It all comes down to cost, doesn’t it? Google and Facebook’s pricing structures are dramatically different. Here’s what you need to know.
Frankly, AdWords is expensive. So, while it’s an effective tool in generating more leads, you should only start a campaign if you’re sure you have room in your budget. For many local businesses, though, the return on investment for AdWords tends to be on the higher end of the spectrum, which makes the investment worthwhile. However, your ROI will depend on a few key factors:
- Your local market. Are enough people seeking out your products or services to justify the costs of running a campaign? Sometimes, there’s just not enough demand, and your small revenue won’t cover your investment.
- Your local competition. Are you going against regional chain stores or national corporations? Chances are, they’re going to beat you because of their name recognition and large budgets. It will be an uphill battle for you.
- Your budget. High-ranking keywords often cost more per click. As a result, many people diversify into multiple different keywords. This stretches the budget too thinly across the ads. And when you underfund them, they underperform. It may sound counterintuitive, but if you set your AdWords budget too low, you’ll actually waste more money.
Facebook, on the other hand, is more affordable than AdWords. While a keyword-targeted ad for your industry might cost you $13 per click on AdWords, an ad with similar messaging may cost you just $3 per click on Facebook.
However, as we’ve established, the AdWords audience is more motivated in the moment to make an immediate purchase—so you may get much more out of that $13 than you do out of the $3 on Facebook. At the same time, that’s why Facebook is a great tool for when you just want to broaden your visibility and brand awareness. It all circles back to what your goals are.
Summary of Facebook Ads Versus Google AdWords
Phew! We’ve covered a lot of ground in this blog post, so let’s do a quick recap.
- Use Google AdWords when you have an in-demand, well-known product or service you want to promote.
- Use Facebook Ads when you want to increase visibility and brand awareness for your local business.
- Use Google AdWords only if you’re willing to pay more upfront to get more in return.
- Use Facebook Ads if you’re on a small budget and need an affordable alternative to AdWords.
Of course, there are still several nuances and shades of gray that take years of experience to fully grasp. Only trained online marketing specialists understand the countless factors that go into deciding between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. So, if you’re still unclear about which platform you should go with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our specialists. We’re here to help your local business grow in any way we can.