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Pay Per Click (PPC)

Google Ads v Facebook Ads: What’s Right for Your Small Business?

Why You Need Paid Advertising to Get Found Online

Getting found in the crowded online world – search engines and social media – has changed dramatically. As social media evolved as a strategy to market your business online it’s become increasingly difficult to get your posts seen online – even by your followers and paid advertising has emerged as almost mandatory to get your posts seen online. Many viewers don’t realize that most viral ads that seem to grow out of control have been launched and promoted via paid advertising in some form. Commonly called Pay to Play, digital marketers have come to realize that to get your message seen by the people you want to reach, paid online advertising is a cost-effective investment. While many social media platforms are now offering affordable paid advertising options, Facebook Ads and Google AdWords have emerged as the dominant digital marketing platforms for small business.

WordStream summarizes the difference between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords:

AdWords helps you find new customers, while Facebook helps new customers find you.

You need to maximize your advertising budget – get the most bang for your advertising buck. Many small businesses like the PPC model: pay-per-click. Advertisers pay an agreed upon fee each time one of their ads is clicked: paying to send visitors to your site instead of earning those visits organically with native ads and content. Search engine advertising and Facebook ads are two types of PPC

What are the differences between Facebook and Google ads?

Facebook Ads Features and Benefits
Facebook Ads allows you to reach a specific audience on Facebook using demographics that either Facebook has tracked about their users (part of the contract you sign to get a ‘free’ Facebook account) or that users intentionally shared with Facebook about their interests and other personal data. Facebooks ads automatically display in a user’s newsfeed if they meet the criteria the advertiser specified, and are identified by the word “Sponsored”.

Facebook Ad Features and Benefits

  1. Target audience: Facebook lets you be very specific or very broad in identifying the demographics of your target audience. You can narrow down who will see your paid ad based on the criteria you choose. Based on the advertising budget your choose, Facebook will display an estimate of how many people will see your ad.
  2. Timing: Your ad appears to Facebook users who are likely to be interested in your offer, but it is likely not related to Facebook users who are looking for a service.
  3. Engagement: Facebook users who see an ad – even for a service they don’t need – are likely to Like an ad it is visually interesting to them, Comment on an ad if they have a strong response to the visuals, or Share the add by sharing to another user’s page or by putting another user’s Facebook handle in the Comments field.
  4. Location: Facebook displays ads based on your listed demographic location, not necessarily on where you are. Users don’t typically use Facebook search to find a local business.
  5. Appearance: Facebook Ads are visual focused ads. Facebook lets you display your creativity and customize your ad with graphics, video and a defined amount of copy. Facebook ad’s approval process makes sure that ads are appropriate and meet their visual guidelines, including limiting the amount of copy that can appear on the graphics.
  6. Cost: Facebook Ads can be very inexpensive, and Facebook offers low entry options for small business. Because Facebook is not typically used as a search tool by users, your targeted ad may display to users who are not interested in buying your service or product, and increse your CPC (cost-per-click).

Google AdWords Features and Benefits
People go to Google’s search field to enter terms that will help them find information on a specific topic. Google AdWords advertising is based on choosing keywords for your ad that describes your services or product or resources that users are likely to enter into search fields to find information on that topic. Google AdWords puts paid ads at the top or bottom of their SERP (search engine results page), labeled with the word “ad” or “sponsored”.

Google AdWords paid advertising Features and Benefits

  1. Target audience: Google ads display to users who are actively looking for information based on the keywords you entered in your ad and that they enter in the search field.
  2. Timing: People go to Google to search for information to solve their problem. Your ad displays to them when they are searching for information or products.
  3. Engagement: Google users read and click on search results, but don’t Like or Comment or Share search results.
  4. Location: Mobile search now exceeds desktop search, and many users use their mobile device to find services and products. Google local search returns results based on your actual location.
  5. Appearance: Google AdWords is text based advertising. Google ads have copy and links only. Other than bolding, Google doesn’t permit any visual creativity.
  6. Cost: The price of Google AdWords has increased significantly since it launched 10 years ago. Google often provides small businesses with free credits to try or test Google Adwords. While the cost of Google AdWords PPC can be high (CPC: cost-per-click), if you choose the correct keywords you have a high likelihood that your ad is being shown to your target audience, which can mean a high quality of leads and a high conversion rate.

So which is better for your small business: Facebook Ads or Google AdWords. For many B2B small businesses, Google AdWords has the better conversion rates, while for B2C businesses, Facebook Ads are more affordable for small businesses because the cost per click is lower, and therefore Facebook advertising may be more affordable. Now that you know the major differences between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords, how do you decide which PPC ad is right for you?

Test and Evaluate 

The only way to definitely determine whether Facebook Ads or Google AdWords is better for your business is to test them both, measure them and compare the results. A/B testing, or split testing, lets you compare your different ads on each advertising platform, then you can compare the CPC and ad conversion rates to each other.

Facebook provides guidelines for A/B  testing: A/B testing best practices guide

Quicksprout has a good article on split testing on Google AdWords: How to Split Test Ads in Google AdWords

Disruptive Advertising recommends:

there are a lot of factors that go into determining which pay-per-click platform is right for your business, however, if you’re looking for a place to start, consider the following:

  • B2B Businesses: Start with AdWords and retarget on both Facebook and the AdWords Display Network. Consider testing Facebook for your business using 10-20% of your monthly ad budget.

  • B2C Businesses: Start with Facebook, unless you have a product with a small market niche or one that costs over $500, in which case you should start with AdWords. Consider using 10-20% of your ad budget to test on your non-primary market.

Facebook and Google algorithms and advertising options change regularly. Once you’ve tested the options and determined the best digital advertising platform for your small business, be sure to research and retest new advertising opportunities at least annually so that you can reaching your target audience and convert them to customers.


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