The answer depends on the nature of your business, your product or service, and your target market. I like to use a useful traditional advertising analogy to explain the difference between Google Ads and Facebook ads.
Cast your mind back 20 years. If you needed a plumber, electrician or dentist, where did you look? The Yellow Pages of course. It was the go-to place for high intent-based searching for products and services.
For some businesses being in the Yellow Pages was their biggest source of leads. But that wasn’t the case for all businesses. If a retail store had a promotion, or a company was launching a new product, or a business just wanted to get in front of people who weren’t picking up the Yellow Pages, businesses used newspaper ads, radio ads or TV ads. All of these types of advertising were designed to reach people who weren’t actively searching for a product or service in the Yellow Pages.
This analogy parallels well with the comparison between Google Ads and Facebook ads.
Google Ads has replaced Yellow Pages. Where people used to “let their fingers do the walking” they now let their fingers do the typing and turn to Google. If your customers are regularly searching for your products or services online, then Google Ads are ideal.
With Google Ads you can have your ad show above the search results when people search for specific phrases related to what you offer. As an advertiser you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, and because we can put the ads in front of people right when they’re searching for the products or services you provide, there is high buyer intent.
Facebook, on the other hand, is like newspaper ads, radio ads and TV ads. People don’t read a newspaper for the ads, they read it for the content. So the businesses that advertise here in newspapers and magazines need to grab your attention as you flick through the paper. You didn’t pick up the paper to read ads, but you’ll see the ads alongside the content, and if it’s an attention-grabbing ad you’ll stop and read it.
It’s the same with Facebook ads (which serves ads on both Facebook and Instagram). You don’t go on Facebook or Instagram for the ads, but ads are interspersed throughout your news feed, looking just like other posts. If an ad looks interesting you might click it, and then end up reading about a company, buying a product or enquiring – even though you weren’t actively searching for what they were offering.
So which is better – Facebook ads or Google Ads?
It depends on what you are offering. If people are actively searching for your products or services, then Google Ads can work very well. But if people aren’t searching for your services in large numbers, then Facebook ads are a great way to get your products, services and information in front of your target market.
Facebook advertising is especially powerful when you have a clear target market in mind. It’s amazing what Facebook knows about us! From the basics of our age, gender and location, to much more complex targeting including topics we are interested in. Facebook enables ads to be targeted to people that fit the demographics or interests we select, which gives your business a powerful way of getting in front of the right people who may not even realise they could benefit from what you offer.
For many of our clients we run campaigns on both Google Ads and Facebook ads. There are often many more people interested in your product than those actively searching for it right now. But it depends on your business. Sitting down for a strategy session with one of our digital marketing experts can be a great way to get personalised advice and work out which approach is best for your business. We offer a free 45 min strategy session, in person or via video call. Just fill in the form to book.
Author: Josh Moore
Josh Moore is the head marketing fanatic at Duoplus, a Hamilton-based digital marketing agency that helps clients across NZ grow faster.