Generating traffic which leads to conversions is the quintessential aspiration of every business vying for a share of the pie. However, when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises, splurging on online campaigns becomes an expensive affair. With limited marketing budgets, these companies cannot go on a full-scale advertising rampage with a presence on every social media platform and search engine. Preferably, they bank upon pay-per-click advertising, which is the most powerful tool employed by marketers to generate website traffic.
Google and Facebook rule the roost when it comes to picking a platform with widespread popularity among all age groups. Thus the final decision for the marketer is to choose between Google Ads and Facebook Ads to gain maximum traction. The dilemma is universal among business owners as both the platforms enjoy a loyal customer base of billions of users and offer unconstrained targeting opportunities. Our SEO specialists at Netvision can help you in the decision-making process by shedding some light on their methods to determine what is best for your business.
Previously known as Adwords, Google Ads are often referred to as paid search. It is the largest and highly sought-after PPC advertising platform with staggering mobile advertising revenue of US $61.26 billion in 2018 across the world. It is based on creating text-based ads using targeted keywords.
The advertisers have to bid on the most relevant keywords with high search performance so that their ads appear on top of the results page when a consumer searches for a related product or service. Every time the ad gets clicked by the user, the advertiser has to pay to Google. The wide-ranging market share of the search engine giant makes it an ideal choice for advertisers.
Also known as paid social, Facebook Ads differ from Google Ads in their creation as they target the interests of the users rather than their search queries. The targeting is based on the demographic data. The ads appear in the newsfeed of the user or on the sidebar and pull the viewer away from their regular surfing activity.
The worldwide advertising revenue of Facebook reached US $33.84 billion in 2018, and the social media network boasts of 2.27 billion monthly active users across the globe. Thus it is not far behind from Google in terms of reach and popularity.
Facebook PPC vs. Google PPC
1. Purpose of the Campaign
The goal of an ad changes according to the stage of its purchase lifecycle and its position in the marketing funnel. If the ad aims to create brand awareness, then it is at the top of the funnel and needs Facebook Ads which are excellent is generating interest, engaging users, and allowing the brand story to go viral. On the other hand, Google PPC works better when the business is in need of qualified leads as these ads target users who are actively searching for your products or services.
Thus Google PPC proves beneficial when you are at the bottom of the marketing funnel and are looking at improvement in sales and gross profit. Facebook advertising can help in spreading the word when you are trying to build the brand in the market. Also, Google outperforms the latter when it comes to solving the queries of the customers with instant solutions. For example, if a user is searching for web hosting, Google Ads for Hostgator and GoDaddy will appear on top of the search page.
2. Cost Effectiveness
When it comes to ad spend, Facebook takes the cake as the cost of pay-per-click ads on the social network are much lower. Plus, these ads come with the advantage of the campaign getting shared by users or becoming viral on the internet. The granularity of audience segmentation is much more profound in Facebook advertising. However, the catch here is that if you are not driving the targeted traffic, then the entire money is going to waste.
Also, the targeting becomes very specific as you get to choose the audience on the basis of their age, interests, brands they like, occupation etc. which is ideal for generating B2C traffic, but may not work in the B2B domain. In contrast, Google PPC brings targeted traffic to your website as the users click on these ads because they have an intention to buy your product. However, Google Ads are costlier as you have to bid for the most searched keywords.
3. Audience Segmentation
Advertising can yield results only when it targets potential customers. Facebook offers a targeting benefit with its database of detailed profiles of users. The social network giant allows advertisers to access this data which has information about their likes, beliefs, interests, and ideologies. It aids in creating customised ads which appeal to the users and evoke the required action. In fact, it has a tool called the Lookalike Audience which provides the opportunity to advertise to the users who appear similar to your existing customers.
Facebook uses its database to match the profiles of users with related tastes and shared demographic information. It helps in expanding the reach of the ads by targeting new customers on the basis of common traits shared with existing customers. It works wonders for businesses with a niche target audience. Conversely, Google doesn’t go into the personal details of the consumers and provides general specifications like location, age, gender, based segmentation.
4. Visual Capability
The Google Search Network Ads do not offer much in terms of creativity as they are text-based ads. However, the Facebook ads are appealing visual ads which flow smoothly with the news feed of the user. The advertisers get the opportunity to create high-quality visuals to send out their message which appears compelling. However, when it comes to retargeting the users, Google wins hands down as it has a much wider reach.
Google offers ad extensions to include additional information, but it is limited to text for search ads. However, with Display Network ads, Google allows the use of responsive display ads, image ads, and engagement ads to target users who are in need of your product or service. E-commerce businesses can benefit from visual Facebook ads which keep evolving to attract the audience. The downside of paid social is that you are essentially diverting the users from their social activity to something which you are trying to sell.
5. Range of Formats
Google has a plethora of ad formats which can be leveraged using free of cost ad extensions to create more engaging text ads. Besides adding the common customer reviews, ratings and site links, there are many exceptional extensions which can increase the click through rate (CTR) such as call extensions, app extensions, callouts and dynamic structured snippets. Then there are Google Map ads which help small businesses to target potential customers in a local area.
They either appear in the search results or in the map during location-based searches entered by the users. The map ads are more likely to generate leads as they display the complete business information including the address, contact details, pictures, website URL, and logo. The CTR is much higher for Google Search Network ads than Display Network ads and Facebook ads as the people are intentionally searching for these products or services. Alternatively, Facebook ads are fed to the users who are doing something else. So they may choose not to click on them.
Google is considered to be the undisputed king of finding new customers by many as it has an enormous reach. It has a global market share of 86% among all the search engines and it processes more than 40,000 search queries every second, which come close to 3.5 billion searches every day across the world. The proportion of audience which can be reached through Google is incredible.
The Google Display Network has over 2 million sites, which means that approximately 90% of the people online can view the ads on a plethora of websites, mobile apps and videos. Additionally, scores of websites join Google AdSense program every year. With the introduction of artificial intelligence in digital marketing, Google is all set to further amplify the search volume and the ability to reach a wider audience. Thus it is the most preferred advertising channel for marketers who are well aware of its expanse.
The Battle of the Titans
In the much-debated clash of these two dominant advertising tools which have the digital audience hooked to them, both appear to be the winners. Each has its own share of strengths and capabilities which cannot be undermined. As a matter of fact, both can be utilised at different stages of the consumer’s purchase journey to leverage their best contribution in marketing.
Comparing the two doesn’t settle the dispute. They should be viewed as contemporary platforms which share similar attributes, but have evolved in their own unique way. The ideal way to utilise their potential is to use them as complementary tools to generate maximum return on investment and enjoy a stronger growth rate.
While Facebook PPC can be lauded for its ability to create brand awareness within a limited budget, Google PPC targets specific audience which is looking for the advertiser’s products or services and enjoys expansive reach over various web properties. Thus, the marketers must evaluate the performance of their ads on both the platforms. Analyse the results to find out what works best for your business and continue with the successful formula to get optimum results.