When is Google Advertising More Powerful Than Facebook Advertising?

Last week I wrote about Facebook’s advertising offerings and Google’s advertising offerings, pitting the two against one another. Exploring the origins of each as well similarities and differences between the two options, (you can find the in-depth report here) Facebook was declared the winner. A combination of granular audience targeting—along with a wealth of knowledge about its massive audience—consistently great ROI, and dramatically lower costs led me to this decision.

I’m not alone in this declaration – even Moz has said: “Our experience so far has shown us that, yes, some forms of social media advertising are far more cost effective than Google AdWords, and one of those is Facebook Advertising.”

The case isn’t closed, though. That’s not to say the above points aren’t valid. They’re only one side of the coin and as we know – marketing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. The complexities of marketing require thoughtfulness in strategy that looks beyond a simple cost comparison.

As such, let’s explore the situations in which Google Adwords will benefit your marketing more than Facebook Advertising.

Google Ads Can Be Better (Depending on Your Purposes)

Google still dominates in the digital advertising space, and this is no coincidence. While it may be harder to draw parameters around Google’s active audience with the same clarity as Facebook, it is known that Google sees higher than 3.5 billion search queries in just one day. (Word Stream) That’s a lot of searches, which translates into a lot of people looking for answers to their questions. On Google, you have an audience that is ripe for the picking. Read below for the 4 situations in which Google Adwords might be the best advertising option for your marketing strategy.

  • 1. Your brand already has enough exposure

Admittedly, this is kind of a stretch. Virtually every Content Marketing Institute report I’ve read shows brand awareness as one of the top concerns of marketers in most industries. Still, self-awareness is a beautiful thing, not to mention it could save you a lot of money. Much of Facebook Advertising focuses on creating interest in a target audience that has not yet discovered or paid interest to a certain brand. If you’ve already hit a level of brand awareness you’re comfortable with, investing in Facebook Advertising may not be worth it.

  • 2. Your audience doesn’t have a strong Facebook presence

If you know your target audience isn’t on Facebook, then there’s no reason to advertise on the platform. It’s that simple. Given that the point of Facebook Advertising is to pique the interest of your target audience—specifically, those who haven’t yet heard of you—to advertise on Facebook without a significant audience would be needlessly wasteful. How do you know if your audience isn’t on Facebook? Conducting audience research and even trial and error can help you determine this.

  • 3. Your audience is on Facebook, but they’re not interested in hearing from you

Most people go to Facebook for entertainment and relaxation. This can make the platform ideal for B2C advertisers whose products fall in line with the expectations of Facebook users. B2B advertisers, on the other hand, may find that their target audience just doesn’t want to hear from them when they’re unwinding at the end of the day. This isn’t a hard and fast rule for B2B, but is something to keep in mind when deciding between Google and Facebook.

  • 4. You’re looking to drive sales, not awareness or newsletter signups

Facebook is a great place to go for advertising a new whitepaper or enticing users to sign up for your email. On the other hand, Facebook users aren’t typically primed to make a purchase or contact a salesperson. People typically go to Google to search for services and products — or, at least, a solution to their problems. So, when you’re reaching people on Google, you’re reaching them while they’re in a stage of ‘intentional discovery’, and they’ll be much more likely to take a sales action.

When you’ve got an offer that you know people are looking for, Google Adwords is the clear choice. You’re far beyond having to raise awareness or court your audience with great content (not to say you shouldn’t still be doing this), and, even though Adwords is pricier, the sales you’ll see as a result should more than make up for it.


Integrated Marketing Calls for Both Facebook and Google Advertising

Whether you’re B2B OR B2C, successful digital advertising requires an in-depth knowledge of each platform along with an awareness of when and why to use it as well as how to best use it.

In fact, pitting Google and Facebook against one another is likely more damaging than helpful. By using them together—i.e., using Facebook to increase interest and using Google to capture it—you can create a pipeline of engaged audience members that are ready to engage with you. In fact, they’re both so highly used that leveraging both Google and Facebook lets you pack a double punch.

Facebook allows you to show your brand in a creative, social way, while Google lets you show your brand in a way that emphasizes why people should buy from you or work with you. Instead of looking at them as competitors, consider the platforms complementary and measure success accordingly.


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Did you like this post? Let us know why (or why not) in the comments. In the meantime, check out our blog Facebook vs Google: Choosing Between Digital Advertising Giants to discover why Facebook advertising gives marketers a better bang for their buck.


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