The battle between Google and Facebook for online ad supremacy is getting hotter every year. Google is no longer the only name in PPC as social platforms offer up more options to marketers and further competition to the biggest name in search.
As things stand the only genuine threat to Google’s advertising crown is Facebook and advertisers are increasingly debating between the two options – so which platform is best for your PPC efforts in 2015?
You don’t have to choose between the two
Before we start weighing up these two giants we should make it clear you don’t have to choose between them – quite the opposite, in fact. In an ideal world you would want to use both platforms to reach a wider audience in two very different ways.
AdWords vs Facebook: The key difference
AdWords and Facebook advertising are far from a straight swap and before you can compare the two you need to understand their key difference.
First of all Google is a search engine and Facebook is a social network. Sure, you know that already, but the point is their users have very different intentions. Searchers on Google are specifically looking for something (which you can match with your ads) while Facebook users are casually browsing and your ads are delivered based on their interests, not commercial intent.
Google searchers have high intent, while Facebook users may not be actively looking for your product.
Why is this so important?
This is where you start to see the benefits of using both AdWords and Facebook advertising together. With AdWords you’re targeting users who are ready to buy now, but Facebook ads lend themselves better to another purpose.
Your typical Facebook user is casually scrolling through their News Feed, fuming at everyone’s holiday snaps and watching the occasional cat video, until your ad suddenly crops up. They weren’t searching for your product and they may not be anywhere close to buying it yet, but they’re certainly aware of it now.
Facebook advertising is more about getting your brand, products or services in front of faces new and old, with the aim of building awareness.
Facebook ads are ideal for introducing your brand to new people or promoting new products.
The power of Facebook targeting
The real strength of Facebook advertising is the wealth of targeting options you can use to narrow down your audience. Users may not have a high purchase intent, but you can target audiences that show a proven interest in your type of services.
Facebook targeting is so specific you can potentially narrow down to a single person – perfectly highlighted by last year’s roommate prank. You won’t need to go quite this far, of course, but it shows the extent to which you can target users who are interested in your brand and get them moving along the buying process.
With Facebook ads you can target people based on their interests and behaviour.
Two platforms, two different goals
Google and Facebook may share the same goal of dominating the online ad space, but your goals with the two platforms will be very different. If you want to target users who are on the verge of clicking “buy” then AdWords is the place to go. On the other hand, if you want to introduce your brand or products to new audiences that have an interest in your kind of services, Facebook is the platform of choice.
Chances are you want to do both, however, so it’s not really a question of AdWords vs Facebook and more a case of using them together so you can reach a wider audience with different intent.