April 28, 2021 - Brittany Garlin

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Facebook Ads or Google Ads: Which is Better in 2021?

Digital marketing experts always have to field questions relating to paid advertisements. The two most prominent players in the game of PPC (Pay Per Click) advertisings are Google and Facebook. Both are incredibly effective with their outreach and are extremely easy to use. Choosing between either can be a gruelling task, and with marketing budget constraints, getting the right campaign space and reach can be challenging. 

This post can help you understand the differences between Facebook and Google Ads and how you can benefit from each. It will also help you know the difference between both, how you can achieve goals, how each can help you achieve business growth through online marketing. Many businesses prefer using both simultaneously to achieve their marketing goals. However, small businesses with low budgets would have to make a choice. 

Google has the most significant number of searches globally, with a daily search of nearly 6.2 billion. If you want to reach customers quickly, Google should be your first choice. However, Facebook has 2.8 billion active users for targeted marketing. With such massive reach potential, making the correct choice can be difficult. 

Why Is Online Advertising Essential For Business?

In earlier times, marketing was done by word of mouth or via print media. With the onset of technology, marketing shifted to radio, television, and landline phones. Now, the focus has changed to intelligent technology like mobiles, tablets, computers, and more. This gradual shift in technology has also led to an evolved method of refined search. 

The word ‘googling’ has been added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary for searching for information on Google. Most consumers want quick answers with quick solutions to their issues and problems. They find that ‘googling’ for information is the fastest way forward. 

Most businesses like to present their products and services as the solution to a customer query. Companies can do this successfully by making sure their brand and offerings are visible to target audiences. The best way to do this is via online advertising. 

Google and Facebook can help to:

  • Influence buyer behavior
  • Create brand awareness
  • Accelerate rapid information spread to target audiences
  • Create brand memory for recall
  • Provide multiple purchase options

Paid Search Vs. Paid Social Ads: Which is Better?

It is always helpful to understand the difference between paid search and paid social forms of advertising. 

Paid Search:

Google Ads (previously Google AdWords) is a paid search. This means you need to pay to have your site/s listed in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). For most people familiar with using google, good examples of google ads would be the sites that come up in the first three spaces (clearly marked Ad with green labels) on a search results page on Google. These ads are placed purely based on keywords. Google Ads does not display ads depending on the target demographic, location, or audience (unless specified). 

With Google Ads, you also have an option of advertising on the following platforms: 

  • Google Search
  • YouTube Ads
  • Google Maps
  • Google Shopping
  • Google Play
  • Google Display Network

Each time users click on the Ad, advertisers are charged a certain amount. This system is known as Pay Per Click (PPC). Marketers have the option of assigning a maximum number of clicks to a keyword (to curb expenses). 

The primary point of Google Ads is to drive high traffic to your website via paid advertisements. These advertisements are based only on people’s search criteria via targeted keywords and are strategically placed to influence buyer behavior. 

Paid Social:

Facebook, unlike Google, offers paid social advertising. Facebook Ads help get your brand in front of new users on Facebook. The earlier Facebook algorithm was user-friendly and allowed for better reach. After the algorithm change, brands cannot get their brands in front of new consumers without paid social advertising. Although businesses need to pay more for advertising, the large numbers of monthly active users create an optimal space for brand building. 

Facebook Ads allow marketers to reach potential customers organically and get better reach. Paid social is a method of acquiring new customers through strategically placed advertisements. Facebook ad placements and the frequency of ads are at the discretion and control of the marketer. 

Facebook doesn’t consist only of the Newsfeed; it also has:

  • Instagram Feed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook Right Column
  • Facebook Video Feeds
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Audience Network

Ads on the Facebook Newsfeed usually appear as a seamless part of the user interaction with the social platform. These ads are conveniently placed such that viewers will have to glance at them at least once. These Ads are wholly optimized for laptop and smartphone (App) users. 

Paid social ads are optimized based on things that people like, see, or purchase via Facebook. The Facebook Ads follow user online behavior to boost advertisements. For example, if you have selected or viewed a video on chocolates, Facebook Ads would show more chocolate ads than others. 

What Are Google Ads And How To Use Them?

Google Ads can be purchased on two types of networks – Display and Search Networks. The Search network is wholly search engine-based. Whereas the display network is more visual – banners, side advertisements, in-line ads, etc. Google Ads are optimized across either the Display or the Search networks. This means that ads can get significant outreach simply based upon the sheer number of users on Google and related sites each day. 

  • Search Network: Marketers get a choice to purchase millions of keywords and target words and phrases to capture prospective audiences. 
  • Display Network: The Google Display Network is hugely visual and relies on in-line ads, banners, and right and left site ads on individual websites. 

Businesses can easily capture large target audiences with a few relevant and highly lucrative ads for customers. Almost all digital marketing strategies have a set amount for paid Google ads to increase sales via PPC. The popularity of Google Ads is wholly attributed to the accuracy of search results since users can view relevant ads to their search criteria.

Benefits Of Google Ads

1. Large Audience

Google has more than a trillion searches conducted each year. With its machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence systems, the Google Search volume has a massive outreach and helps maximize visibility on Ads exponentially. Returning and potential customers are easy to reach for brand visibility, product and service launches, and campaigns. 

2. Quality

Google Ads are based wholly on the quality and efficacy of ads. The search engine only shows relevant ads to users and does not allow for a waste of marketing budgets. Google also allows users to bid on highly sought-after keywords and phrases that can draw huge volumes of potential customers. Advertisements with solid keywords and phrases rarely have to bid for additional words, but those with weak ads usually have to spend extra to capture audiences. 

3. Ad Formats

Since Google is exceptionally user-friendly and optimized for all intelligent devices, text-based ads are optimized for all devices. Google Ads offers social proofing, site links, location targeting, and extensions for complete customization. They also include high-resolution images, maps, and interactive data. 

What Are Facebook Ads And How To Use Them?

Like we’ve mentioned earlier, Facebook Ads help new customers find your brand. Paid social search on Facebook allows users to find your brand with the help of keywords, target phrases, and previous social media history. Users who search, like, and share content about topics related to your products or services will find your Facebook Ads popping up with regular frequency, prompting a click on your advertisement. 

Facebook ads are considered excellent investments because of the fantastic reach that they offer. Viral ad campaigns, event notifications, social awareness ads, and a host of other sentiment-triggering ads have excellent spread that is extremely difficult to reach with Google Ads. Most users on Facebook are in the habit of sharing viral ads, memes, GIFs, blogs, and other content that appeals to them. Facebook users also tend to share content through different forms of social media, even directly sending ads to each other via Direct Message (DM). 

Benefits of Facebook Ads:

1. Viral Ads 

Ads have been known to get near-viral status within hours of release. However, as with any content related to brand and image, the advertisement has to be meaningful and relevant to the viewers. Irrelevant content rarely gets shared on social media unless it is exceptionally humorous and appeals to people from all walks of life. 

2. Sentimental Value

Emotion-invoking advertisements are seen repeatedly, shared, spoken about, and even commented upon in Facebook user groups. This immense reach, visibility, and shareability are why most businesses prefer starting ad campaigns on Facebook. 

Facebook Ads Manager allows digital marketers to reach target audiences based on demographics, location, and profile data. Apart from this, different filters are offered, like postings on Instagram, Messenger, Audience Networks, etc. Marketers can also choose their advertisement promos according to the device. Facebook also allows filters for lookalike audiences, where Facebook generates audiences that are similar to the targeted consumers. This feature is excellent for small businesses with very few existing customers. All these user-friendly options allow companies to actively track and analyze the performance of the ads.

These are the things you should always include in your Facebook Ad:

  • Relevancy to the cause/issue/matter
  • Visual ad
  • Raise awareness through the advertisement
  • Include a Call to Action

Businesses using Facebook Ads Manager can increase traffic to the website, build brand image, increase brand awareness, generate sales leads, enhance content reach, and create awareness about new product and service launches.

Google Ads Or Facebook Ads: Which Should You Choose?

Businesses love using multiple platforms for marketing. Simultaneously, using Google Ads and Facebook Ads will definitely increase attention from existing customers and attract new ones. However, knowing which source will get you a better Return on Investment (ROI) is crucial for preparing a digital marketing budget. 

Small to medium-sized businesses usually look at the ROI for long-term budgeting. No marketing plan is sound without having a conversion rate for new clients or customers. Retail stores, online eCommerce stores, and even brick and mortar establishments aim for higher ROI each month. 

If a comparison of costs were to be done (primarily on approximates for a medium-sized business), it would boil down to conversion rate and percentage. For small businesses with limited budgets, Facebook offers a low cost with a small percentage of conversion rates but greater awareness. On the other hand, Google Ads provide high conversion rates but with an extremely specific audience based only on search criteria. However, the cost of 1000 clicks with Google is still higher than that of Facebook. 

Social issues, services, and products always get higher shares on Facebook than on Google Ads since the aim is creating and raising awareness. Social reasons can influence buyer behavior and change how the brand is positioned in front of future audiences.

Google Ads excel at retargeting and are great for high-cost products. Higher value purchases and high-quality products usually find a larger marketplace on Google than on Facebook. The cost for PPC on Google is higher than Facebook, but the initial investment in the marketing on Google Ads is easily covered up with the conversion rates. High-value products should be positioned well on Google Ads, while low-value products and services will find quicker turnaround rates on Facebook. 

Overall, Facebook is a more likable, shareable platform, but Google stands out as the better one in terms of conversion rates. 

How Do Google Ads Or Facebook Ads Make A Difference?

Since each business is different from the other, the end goal of the marketing strategy needs to be considered before making a final decision. Lots of companies prefer going with both platforms and get a high conversion rate from both. But there are many with budget constraints that have to choose between either of them. 

If your business has a strong KPI with a need to create new customers for sales, then Google Ads should be the primary option. So far, Google Ads has the best conversion and PPC rates for actual sales. However, if your marketing campaign leans towards brand building and awareness, Facebook should be your first choice. Facebook helps compile substantial audiences that may get converted into returning customers at a later date. 

If you’re unsure about how to look at both objectively, let us help you. 

How To Use Both Google Ads And Facebook Ads Together?

At the end of the day, what matters is ensuring the brand visibility is high, the brand is associated with a positive image, and sales are high. All this is possible with the strategic use of Google Ads and Facebook Ads simultaneously. Like we mentioned at the beginning of this article, most businesses prefer using both, but budget constraints often force a small business to choose either one. 

Suppose you have a medium to large-sized business where the target audience is previously acquainted with the brand. In that case, you should opt for allocating more of the budget to Google Ads for purposeful conversions. 

Conversely, if you have a small business that needs to spread brand awareness and get users acquainted with the products and services, allocate a large chunk of the marketing budget to Facebook Ad campaigns. Once you have established a brand image in the minds of potential customers, you could push for a focused Google Ads strategy for more significant ROI. 

Most customers that are acquainted with a product or service usually search for specific information and are willing to purchase it again. 

Most digital marketers will advise conducting a test run for a month to see how the brand fares on both platforms. Customers with purchase intent will look to Google as the starting point, while customers with awareness intent will turn to Facebook. Since both Facebook and Google are incredibly powerful marketing platforms, it stands to reason that businesses will try to get the best out of both worlds. 

Final Thoughts

Using both platforms in concert instead of in opposition is a powerful marketing strategy that is guaranteed to get you the desired results. Dual advertising strategies also reduce the risk of working through only a single platform in the long term. You should take a close look at the target audience, demographics, and expenses before choosing budgetary allocation for an extended period. 

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