No conversation about online advertising is worth having without mentioning Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
They’re the two biggest players: Google AdWords is the “tried and true” classic, and while Facebook advertising has been around for awhile, it’s only recently that it’s become such a behemoth.
In fact, in 2016 Facebook saw a 50% increase in active advertisers, accounting for 65% for all social ad spend. Obviously, growth like that makes businesses start to speculate.
Will Facebook overtake Google as the big guy of online advertising?
Should we all be cancelling our AdWords campaigns and moving 100% of our ad budget to Facebook?
Where and how you should advertise your local business depends on many factors. And you’ll likely find the best strategy involves a mix of platforms for different objectives.
In this post, we’ll walk you through a few pros and cons of each advertising platform and help you choose when to use each.
Facebook’s ad platform has grown tremendously in the past few years, but has yet to become a “must” for small or local businesses, which makes it a great time for businesses like yours to be using it.
But is it right for your business? This information might help you decide.
Let’s look at the pros. First of all, Facebook advertising - while confusing at times - is definitely easier to get started and get set up with than AdWords. If you’re new to local online advertising, or if you don’t have a lot of time to spend on setting up each new campaign, you may find this part of Facebook to be a timesaver.
Especially if you don’t have a dedicated employee to manage advertising campaigns, a quicker and simpler set-up process is key.
Additionally, there may be better targeting options for you on Facebook, depending on your type of business and who you’re trying to reach. Think about all that you do on Facebook, and what it must know about you because of it.
Now, there’s always a downside as well, it’s just a matter of deciding whether these risks and challenges are worth it for your local business.
First of all, your Facebook ad’s audience may be less engaged when they see your ad - it’s often a more passive audience. When your ad appears in the news feed on mobile, for example, there’s a good chance the end user is just casually scrolling through Facebook on their phone while multitasking with something else.
There’s also the fact that the news feed can feel a bit cluttered. Added to the passive, browsing nature, this can make for your ad going unnoticed by its audience.
And because of that, Facebook ad campaigns sometimes see lower conversion rates at the bottom of the sales funnel.
Now let’s talk about Google ads. Around since the year 2000, it’s a staple of online advertising. And Google’s search engine is almost definitely a staple for your users. So should you advertise there?
One of the best things about Google AdWords and search advertising is always relevance. With search ads, your audience sees your ad at the perfect moment. They’re searching for something related to your campaign, so you know they’re interested and it’s on the top of their mind.
On Facebook, your ad may be shown to your target audience, and it may be a good ad, but the timing and intent is not right. But if someone Googles a query that aligns with your ad, you know there’s that increased relevance.
Google also has a lot of ad formats and extensions that are great for local businesses, especially on mobile. They’re even available in display ads too. These are like bonus features of your ad that make it even more attractive to the user and more likely to convert.
You can do things like show your business’s location, include a ‘call’ button to easily contact you, or show business details like hours of operation.
As we mentioned before, Google AdWords has been around for 17 years now. It’s a staple. There’s a lot of competition.
A major con of AdWords can be the cost. Because of things like more competition and higher cost per clicks, campaigns there can require a bigger budget.
Given that Google ads can also be harder to set up, this makes for a difficult situation. You’re spending more money on something that’s more challenging, meaning there’s more of a risk on your investment. You need to be confident you’ll earn it back.
How to Use Both Platforms Together
While it may make sense to use just Google or Facebook ads - especially if you’re brand new to both and learning the platforms for the first time - your best strategy will eventually be using both.
Given AdWords’ and Facebook ads’ different strengths and weaknesses, they can complement each other well.
For example, while Facebook might see lower conversion rates in certain industries, the lower cost means you can leverage it for things like brand awareness and top-of-the-funnel marketing activities.
And since AdWords is more expensive but searcher intent can lead to higher conversion rates, passing the baton to Google as a customer becomes more interested is a great way to approach it. “Saving” AdWords, if you will, for consideration and decision campaigns.
How are you using these advertising platforms for your local business? Have you found success focusing on just one, or are you combining them both?