What’s better for your business – Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

Pay per click ads (such as Google Ads or Facebook Ads) are big business. Brands spend around £10b a year, and Facebook alone has higher ad revenue than the entire print industry.

The data on paid advertising is clear – pay per click campaigns are highly effective at delivering positive ROI. But if you only have the budget for one platform, which one should you choose?

Pay Per Click Ads – The Basics

Pay per click (PPC) is a type of digital advertising where, as the name suggests, you only pay when a potential customer clicks on your ad. In this way, they are different from banner ads (which are charged on “impressions”).

The two most popular platforms are Google (37.2% market share) and Facebook (19.6%), but many websites (including Yahoo and Bing) offer a similar service.

The biggest developments in PPC in recent years have been:

  • Mobile – more than half of paid search clicks are now served on mobile devices
  • Local – Google in particular is encouraging businesses to run ads with the term “near me”
  • Targeting – Facebook is especially well set up to (re)target audiences by diverse demographics

Google Ads – The Basics

Google ads effectively allow you to bypass the Google search algorithm so that you appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) for your chosen “keyword” or “keyphrase”.

Google’s own Economic Impact Report provides some data on just how effective they can be:

  • Businesses make an average of £2 in income for every £1 they spend
  • Search ads increase brand awareness by 80%
  • 75% of people who find helpful information in local search results are more likely to visit the physical store
  • 70% of Millennials like it when they can click on a product from an ad
  • Consumers who click on a Google ad prior to visiting a store spend over 10% more

The adverts can be bought through the “Google Ads” platform (it used to be called Adwords). Or you can work with a digital marketing expert who will manage the advertising campaign for you.

Facebook Ads – The Basics

Most people think of Facebook as just a social media platform. However, any time you have 2.5b monthly active users, you can be sure there’s a sophisticated advertising platform making the real money.

Facebook Ads work slightly differently to Google Ads. They populate your news feed and look like a normal post (only a “Sponsored” under the business name marks them out as an advert).

It’s a very affordable way to advertise your business (the minimum ad spend is $1), provides access to a huge audience and offers lots of clever features like “lookalike audience” targeting (see below).

The Case For Google Ads

Google Ads excel where there is a strong “intent to convert”.

When people search on Google, they are actively looking for something. This can be information, goods, services, advice or entertainment. The key (from a marketer’s perspective) is that they have an end goal in mind. They have a problem to be solved.

This is why Google Ads are great for service-based industries. If someone needs a plumber, or a lawyer, or an accountant – they’re going to start by Googling it.

The Case For Facebook Ads

On Facebook, the “purchase intent” isn’t quite so high. People are more likely to be browsing or looking to catch up with friends.

Facebook’s USP is the extraordinary amount of data it collects on its users. This allows advertisers to get extremely granular with their audiences: you can create “lookalike audiences” from first-party data and “retarget” previous visitors to your site.

Facebook is also excellent for advertising products. It’s a visual medium (Google Ads are predominantly text based) so it’s great for displaying what you offer embedded into your audience’s feed.

In summary, both platforms are superb options if you want to step up your digital marketing. If you’re a service-based industry, we give the slight edge to Google. If you’re primarily a retail or e-commerce brand, we’d recommend Facebook. However, if you’ve got the budget, why not use both!

We’d love to talk to you about how we help businesses use paid advertising to drive traffic, generate leads and increase sales – please get in touch.

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