Facebook Ads vs. Search Ads: What’s Right for You?

Jul 7, 2019 | Web Services

Ready to promote your business using paid ads? Where should you start? What’s the difference between major platforms?

Ask any marketing professional about online ads and there’s a good chance they will bring up Google AdWords or Facebook ads. They may also be quite overwhelmed by what the two platforms offer. Typically, experts will encourage companies to pick one or the other. But, how do you know which one to pick? What’s right for your business? Do you really have to pick just one? Before we dive into answering these questions, let’s start with the difference between search ads and Facebook ads. 

Search Ads

The terms “search ads” and Google AdWords are often used interchangeably. You’ve seen them before. They’re the first few results when you search for something on Google. Google ads can be particularly effective in driving relevant, qualified, new traffic to your website. The people searching for your product or service have searched for a specific term and, thanks to paid advertising, Google places you at the beginning of the results. These ads can also be shown across Google’s Display Network of partner sites and in multiple formats, but, we’ll keep it simple for the time being.

Facebook Ads

Alternatively, Facebook ads are restricted to Facebook and can be paired with the activity and actions you or your target demographic member take such as liking a page or attending an event. Sometimes, such ads are also as a result of the actions your Facebook friends have taken as well.

Which to Use… When? 

Having an understanding of both types of ads is important when determining which one to use. 

Google AdWords is a powerful tool when leveraged properly. It requires time and money and will deliver results. It’s scalable for your business, meaning you can spend more money if you see your campaign is bringing in leads. It’s also measurable and flexible. The flexibility of Google Ads allows for hyper-targeting – focusing on keywords, audience location, browser, language, and a myriad of other specifications. 

It’s also important to note that Google ads work faster than organic (or non-paid) SEO. Often, SEO takes months to see results; for a business that is evolving or in a high-paced industry, months may be far too long. Google ads allow you to get impressions and see results almost immediately. Another benefit of Google ads is that they can often be more engaging than organic results. Think about it, an industry leader paid to have their information at the top of a search result. Naturally, the end-user will glance at those first before looking at the organic results from their search. This also means that there will be better conversions from paid Google ads than from organic traffic. 

However, spoiler alert, Google ads is a great complement to other channels. As you are determining which platform to use, it is also important to look at where your audiences are. It’s likely you’re checking your social media accounts several times a day. Your customers are, too. So, why not go where your customers are? 

Facebook’s targeting capabilities are incredible. So much so that it’s eerie for some people. Between the different ad types and the levels to which you can target, you can be very focused on who you’re targeting your message toward. 

If a lead is on-the-fence, or a long-time customer would benefit from new products or services, Facebook is effective in giving those audiences a little nudge. Facebook is also a great tool in finding new and qualified leads. Remember, the targeting capabilities can be extremely granular. Additionally, with a “lookalike audiences” feature, you can take a custom audience and reach new people who are similar. 

Highlights and Perks of Facebook Ads

  • Easy to navigate and reach audience
  • Cost-effective 
  • Uber specific targeting capabilities 
  • Ability to nudge leads and customers

Highlights and Perks of Google Ads

  • Scalable, measurable, flexible
  • Hyper-focused specifications
  • Faster than SEO
  • More engaging than organic results 

Ultimately, deciding which platform to use depends on what your needs are. For businesses that are looking to gain awareness, Facebook will allow you to build off of other criteria and specifications. For businesses that are looking to be a leader in their industry or are already a leader and want to emphasize a new service or product, Google ads may be perfect in bringing that awareness to audiences. 

Do You Have to Choose Just One?

Short answer, no! As we’ve learned earlier in this post, Facebook and Google are both incredibly powerful and have different tools that can be leveraged to gain the most audience awareness. Before jumping into the world of ads, it’s important to have a clear set of goals that the paid search strategy can be built on. 

Ready to incorporate paid search into your business? Talk with one of our experts today. 

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