Deciding between Google Adwords and Facebook ads? All eCommerce and small business owners face this choice between the two most powerful pay per click advertising options on the web.
Each platform provides unique advantages. For example, the Google keyword tool enables marketers to make highly researched keyword targeting decisions, while Facebook ad's targeting options deliver extremely precise ads.
This post will compare Facebook ads and Google Adwords in a few different categories to help you make your decision.
Highly targeted ads are very important for the success of any ad campaign, so let's compare the targeting options available with Facebook ads and Adwords.
Targeting with Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads come with a set of incredible targeting options which enable any marketer to create the profile of their ideal customer, and then build a targeted ad just for them. On Facebook you can set up ads according to age, gender, interests, location, and much more.
You can also set up ads according to your mailing list, create a list, and more using Custom Audiences.
Bonus: Check out this post for more on how to make a Facebook ad.
Targeting with Google Adwords
Targeting options with Google's ads work quite differently. Adwords works with a keyword scheme, whereby businesses bid on industry related keywords for the chance of having their ad displayed when a certain specific keyword is searched.
For example, an eCommerce store that sells sneakers might bid on a keyword like "Nike sneakers" so that if someone searched for that, their ad could pop up.
Google advertising encompasses other platforms as well, such as the Google Display Network, a massive network of websites where your ads can be placed, and YouTube ads. These two platforms give your ads more specific targeting options.
The cost differential between Facebook and Google ads is another major point to consider. It's actually very difficult to compare the costs because both networks work with bidding, meaning, for example, that the amount you would pay for different keywords on Adwords can vary tremendously.
In order to demonstrate the differences in costs most accurately I'll mention the average costs, then display the differences with an example.
Cost of Facebook Ads
Facebook ads in general are cheaper than ads on Google. According to a study by Nanigans, the average CPC (cost per click) for a Facebook ad is around $0.45. The price for your Facebook ad will vary according to how much competition there is for your target audience.
Additionally, Facebook offers many other biding options such as Cost per thousand Impressions (CPM) and Cost per Action (CPA). These provide you with alternative pricing options.
Note: The CPM is generally a lower rate than the cost per click. Meaning you can potentially gain more exposure through this type of ad.
Cost of Google Adwords
Due to its widespread acceptance as the premier online ad platform, Google Adwords is a very popular choice amongst businesses of all kinds. This means that a lot of people use it, therefore there's a lot of competition for the keywords, resulting in higher prices.
As mentioned though, the cost varies tremendously depending on the keyword.
Broader keywords with a higher search volume will have a higher CPC.
Note: Google does offer a CPM option, but it is only available for certain campaigns and only on the display network.
Example for the Cost Comparison Between Facebook ads and Google Adwords
The best way to determine which platform will be cheaper for your campaign is to build your ad on both networks and see the estimates. Let's take a look at an example of a company that sells painting supplies.
On Adwords you can see what the estimated cost will be by doing a search in the Keyword Planner.
First look for keywords related to your brand by using the "Search for new keywords" option:
Then you can look at the list provided and see what the prices look like:
Here you can see that prices span from $0.95 to $1.82. If you set a $10 budget for yourself, based on these numbers you can get between 5 and 10 clicks on your ad.
On Facebook on the other hand you would set up your ad according to the profile of your target customer.
Next you should scroll down, click on "Advanced Options" then check "Manually set your maximum bid for clicks (CPC)." When you do that you will see the suggested bid underneath that:
Here you can see that the suggested bid is between $0.53 and $0.97. Meaning for $10 you can receive between 10 and 18 clicks.
In this case a Facebook ad is in fact cheaper than an ad on Adwords.
Finally, we come to comparing the conversion rates of Facebook ads and Google Adwords.
Conversion Rate of Facebook Ads
According to a recent study, click through rates (CTR) for Facebook ads run at 0.04% for side bar ads and 2.09% for news feed ads. According to some, news feed ads average up to a 7% CTR.
These numbers may sound low, but when Facebook ads are done right they can definitely yield results.
Not convinced? Let me tell you a story. Using nothing but Facebook ads, over the course of six months we helped one of our merchants go from 170 likes on Facebook to 16,000, resulting in an $18,000 increase in sales.
Conversion Rate of Google Adwords
For the first four ads on the page, Google Adwords ads average a 3.6% CTR, with the first ad on the page averaging 7%.
These numbers are clearly higher than the conversion rates for Facebook ads, and the reason for this is obvious; Google's ads target people who are already interested.
To go back to the example from before of sneakers. If I already searched for Nike sneakers on Google I'm just as likely to click on the sponsored ad as I am to click on one of the search results.
In this regard, Adwords is essentially a way of cheating in SEO, by getting your page to the top of the search results.
Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads in Practice
When it comes down to making a choice, I think the best practice is to actually use both. These two platforms each have their own unique advantages which can make up for the potential weakness of the other.
Advantages of Facebook Ads
Social: Facebook ads are used in conjunction with your company's business page, and although Google has G+, Facebook is definitely used much more for B2C relationships.
Facebook ads also take advantage of the information available from the social network to boost trust in the ads:
Showing that my friend likes this page definitely lends credibility to it in my eyes.
Targeting: Being able to target according to demographics, interests, likes, and much more is the reason why Facebook is probably the most accurate advertising platform available.
Price: As was displayed earlier, Facebook ads run at a cheaper rate than Adwords.
Advantages of Google Adwords
Search Engine: Adwords uses the Google search engine to display ads to people that are already actively looking for something in particular. For that reason Google's ads have a very high CTR, since they're almost always relevant.
Multiple Platforms: Google's Display Network gives you the ability to promote your ad across a variety of different websites which can boost your exposure.
In my opinion, the best practice is to use Adwords in order to catch the easy sales - people that are already actively in the process of searching for something in your industry, and Facebook ads in order to build your brand awareness and convert less active users.
What do you think? We'd love to hear what you have to say about your experiences advertising with Facebook and Google. Please leave your questions and comments below!
P.S. If you liked this post you should consider checking out How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business and Magento vs Shopify vs WooCommerce - Choosing Your New Shopping Cart Wisely.