Facebook Ads or Google AdWords: Which One’s for You? By Alexis Thompson

Written on 7/26/2012  at 6:09 am  by

Facebook Ads or Google AdWords: Which One’s for You?

This guest post is by Alexis Thompson.

“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”—Howard Luck Gossage

The goal of advertising is not to gain the most visibility; it is to attract the most attention. The quote above says it all. How many people do you think really read the ads in their entirety? Not many I would say.

However, people do take their time to look further into whatever interests them the most—be it an article, a video, or even an ad. That’s why ads can mean more traffic for your blog.

The question of ad space

Advertising in the search network is totally different from advertising on display networks (that is, on ordinary websites). The former relies on the ads standing out among those of competitors who are also targeting the same keywords. The latter relies on attracting the interest of the websites’ visitors.

Chief among the search advertising platforms is Google AdWords (Note that Google still dominates the search game with nearly two-thirds market share).

Google ads for business courses

Google search advertising

On the other hand, social networks, such as Facebook, have added another dimension to display network advertising. Facebook is considered to be the social network, with nearly a billion accounts worldwide.

Facebook display advertising

There are other platforms but for now, let’s see just how Facebook ads fare against the ads from Google AdWords.

The advertising environment

Assessing the environment in which the ads run in is essential in determining which platform is best for you. Let’s say you’re an ordinary web user who wants to find cool Angry Birds games and information. You search for it in Google using the keyword “angry birds attraction.” Then you see this PPC ad below:

Sample search ad
(Note that this image is not a real advertisement and is intended for illustration purposes only.)

The ad above could be one of many similar ads that would show on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). Other companies promoting Angry Birds attractions are likely to bid for the same keyword as well. Google AdWords simply allows businesses to advertise to people who are already looking for a product or service. The ads are shown in response to a certain demand.

Facebook ads, on the other hand, are shown in a different environment from Google ads. They’re shown to people who aren’t exactly looking for a product or service but could be interested in it anyway. In other words, the demand is created by the ad. ON Facebook, ads are shown based on users’ attributes (determined from their profiles and network usage) and the language that’s used in the ad. The image below is an actual Facebook ad about the Angry Birds Cable Car.

Facebook ad

It’s important to note that the differences between these environments reflects the nature of AdWords’ search network ads and Facebook ads. AdWords also offers display network ads. The display network ads show on several partner websites based on the advertiser’s selected preferences.

Ad targeting on each network

Knowing how to target the right group of people using each network is essential if you’re going to spend only what is necessary to reach the right—and the right amount—of users.

Obviously, Google search ads are targeted on the basis of the keywords the user is searching upon, but you can also target users on the basis of other factors I’ll mention in a moment.

Google AdWords’ display network ads can be designed to target users based on their interests—data that’s collected from their user browsing history. So if the users have visited your website before, you can create ads to target those people as they browse through other similar websites. This is called “retargeting” or, on Google, it’s called Google AdWords Remarketing. Here you can set up a list of visitors to target and display your ads for those visitors on various sites on the web.

Facebook, on the other hand, relies on the data provided in their members’ profiles to target the ads you provide.

Both networks let you target ads based on the user’s geographic location, and using other demographic data (such as age and gender) that the networks have collected about users.

Know your goals

Before you can choose an option, you’ll want to list your goals for your advertising campaigns. Is it a short-term goal or a long-term goal? Are you selling a specific product or service, or are you trying to increase your brand awareness?

If your campaign aims to sell something specific, then Google AdWords is your best bet. People use the search engines because they are looking for specific solutions. All you have to do is meet that demand by bidding on the right keywords. Obviously, if you want a quick, short-term solution to your advertising needs, and you’re looking for specific conversion rates, then there’s no doubt AdWords is right where you should be.

If you want to increase your brand awareness and visibility, Facebook may be the way to go. Brand awareness is built by establishing lasting relationships. There’s no better place to do this than in social networks like Facebook, with its multitude of community members. It’s going to take some time, but once those relationships have been established, they’re bound to last longer than the impact you get from tactical, sales-focused ads.

Looking at ROI

How do the networks compare? According to this infographic:

This data reflects the average clickthrough rates for each network over the past couple of years. It would seem that results are stronger for Google ads. I mentioned earlier that brand advertising may better done in Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that it has no benefits when it’s implemented through AdWords. In fact, the total traffic for brand advertising through AdWords can reach up to 89%. Try it for yourself and see what brand advertising does for you—compare the results with your organic SEO.

On the other hand, since Facebook ads have a relatively low CTR, it’s recommended that advertisers aim for increases in comments, Likes, impressions, and active users through this advertising. In the long run, you will be able to build a solid fan base, thereby increasing your brand awareness and, consequently, sales.

Taking these differences into account, let’s try computing for an estimated ROI for both platforms.

For Google ads, let’s assume that there are 150 clicks over a given period, $2.00 is the cost-per-click (CPC), a conversion is worth $50.00, and conversion rate is 10%.

Google Ads ROI = (((Conversion Value x Conversion Rate x Number of Clicks) - 
 (Ave. Cost per Click x Number of Clicks)) / Total Cost ) x 100
 = (((45 x 0.10 x 150) - (2 x 150)) / (2 x 150)) x 100
 = $187.50 (125%)

For Facebook ads, let’s assume that we get only a conversion rate of 2% and the CPC is $0.50, but all other factors remain the same.

Facebook Ads ROI    = (((45 x 0.02 x 150) - (0.50 x 150)) / (0.50 x 150)) x 100
 = $120.00 (80.00%)

In this example, we can see that Google ads provide a higher potential ROI than the Facebook ads. Take note that this is only an example and there are other factors that were not included, such as design labor costs for the ads, which you’d want to factor into your own calculations.

What’s the verdict?

At the end of the day, choosing the “best” network really depends on the advertiser’s goals.

By running ads on Facebook, you can cover the social media advertising aspect and effectively increase your brand awareness there. The goal is to generate interest in your business by targeting people that may have a need or want for your products and services in the future.

In addition, if you run ads on Google AdWords, you can target the people who are looking for your products and services at present.

If an integration of both internet marketing platforms can be done, all the better (as is recommended for SEO and PPC integration).

You might think that advertising’s too expensive—but that’s just how advertising is. It’s not bad to be aggressive and to take risks. In fact, taking calculated risks is highly recommended. So start crunching those numbers now and start building your traffic—and your business.

Alexis Thompson is a former Mountain Backpacker, Real Estate Sales Personnel and a 26 year old mother of 2 daughters, Sophie and Rhian. She is into almost all types of Music especially The Fray and Hillsong. She also has a passion in Singing and Scrap Booking. Follow her escapades on her Twitter.

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This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above. If you’d like to guest post for ProBlogger check out our Write for ProBlogger page for details about how YOU can share your tips with our community.

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