Online advertising: Google v Facebook

Google processes a massive 40,000 search queries every day. Facebook has over 2 billion active users. And both platforms allow you to market your new business to their users…. both allow you to target users that might be interested in what it is you’re selling. An advertisers dream!

So you might ask, Google AdWords, or Facebook Ads, which platform for online advertising is right for me?

First off, it’s important to know the difference between the two. The differences between platforms for online advertising can be talked about for hours, and all depending on the industry you’re in, your budget, the time you have to analyse results, and so we wont cover the entirety of it here (we’ll leave linking to Analytics, bid strategies, post boost, page promotion etc…. that comes after understanding the key differences between the two) but to put it simply; with Google AdWords, you are targeting people who are searching for keywords that you want people to be searching for to come to your site… you only pay when someone clicks your ad, and your ad will appear at the top of Google search results for specific keywords (providing you’ve won a bid to be there…. that’s another discussion). Facebook Ads targets potential customers on Facebook based on their interests, location, age, and gender.

Facebook holds a wealth of data on its users, and allows you to tap into that data in order to target potential customers. You also get the bonus of having your Facebook ad shown on Instagram, and so if you’re on Instagram, you’ll understand that Facebook/Instagram ads are built to be very visual. Facebook Ads are you flying a banner at the back of a plane to get the attention of everyone around.

Google goes further, with what it calls ‘remarketing‘. Essentially, when someone clicks your ad, and then leaves your website, Google remembers that they’ve been to your site, and will show them your advert again, if they visit one of Google’s partners websites on what they call “Google Display Network”. This gives you the chance to reconnect with visitors who might still be interested in what you’re offering.

Both Facebook and Google can work wonders for you as a new or small business.

As an example, let’s say you are a self employed plumber in Nottingham, looking to reach potential customers online. Facebook ads allows you to target a broad section of Facebook users, in your local area, in a certain age range, with a visually appealing advert. Your location may be a 4okm circumference, so anyone within that parameter on Facebook, may see your add, chances are someone is going to want a plumber. They may share your ad, to their entire network, and so on. You soon see the potential. With Facebook,  you are trying to get the attention of customers who are on Facebook for all sorts of reason. Google Ads on the other hand allows you to set “Plumbers in Nottingham” as a key phrase you might want potential customers to search. They are there specifically looking for what it is you’re offering. There may be 200 plumbers in Nottingham appear in Google’s search results, but none using Google AdWords, and so you may appear at the very top of the list, as an ad. One of the two is you doing the work to attract, the other is the customer searching for the service. Both can work side by side incredibly effectively, and both have their uses.

*** On a side note, if you’re a charity, Google offers you around £6000 free every month in pay-per-click advertising, an incredible offer that you should be taking up, if you’re not already***

Personally, I find Facebook Ads to be far more affordable for what it is you’re getting in return, especially for new businesses. Facebook is a great way to dip your toe into the waters of online advertising. Google requires far more attention and planning when it comes to keywords, negative keywords, analysing what keywords are or are not working, and can get expensive quite quickly, but the return can be fantastic.  I find Google ideal for grabbing the attention of people searching specifically for what you’re offering. With Google, the customer is coming to you. With Facebook, you are waving your banner at potential customers.

Understand the difference between the two online advertising platforms, alongside understanding the audience you’re trying to attract, and you’re on your way to being one step ahead of your competitors.

Author: Jamie Smith.

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