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Google vs Facebook: the giants go head to head in the battle of which is best for advertising

When it comes to paid advertising, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are the two giants of the market. But how do you know which is best for driving engagement, leads and conversions for your business?

Here we take a look at a head-to-head comparison of the two platforms to analyse their strengths and quirks and help you decide how to approach your strategy to social media advertising and PPC.

Facebook: the attention-seeking one

When we say Facebook Ads, remember that it incorporates Instagram, Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger in its ad placements. 2.7 billion people around the globe are scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and messaging on Whatsapp every single day. That’s a huge audience that you should be tapping into — and, as we preach at Maya, organic outreach is no longer enough. Add to that the fact that content is ever improving across these platforms and you need to create campaigns that will capture attention in just a few seconds.

In a nutshell, Facebook Ads excel at capturing passive traffic, or users at the top of the funnel. If you have an eye-catching product or a brilliant concept to market your service that’s engaging and interactive, particularly around lifestyle, Facebook Ads are the way to go.

Budget

The price of Facebook Ads varies enormously, because every industry is different. Generally can expect a cost per click of anywhere between 10p and £2 at the absolute top end. If it’s costing more than that, there may be something off with your targeting or content. This tends to come out cheaper than Google almost universally for every industry. Basically, you get more bang for your buck with Facebook.

User friendliness

Facebook is the slightly more complex platform to use of the two. You also have to spend some time getting your business Page in order and your organic engagement across Facebook and Instagram in a decent place. That means consistent posting and nurturing engagement with users, so you have a fantastic shop window for potential customers to peer into once you start running ads.

This platform does allow you to take organic content that’s performing well and boost it, which is an easy way to get more eyes on your brand without going into the nitty gritty of Ads Manager — ideal for small businesses starting out with Facebook Ads for the first time.

But if you’re setting up a proper Ad account, you have to install a pixel on your website and set up key pixel events to allow for objective setting when you create a campaign, as well as define and create Audiences that you’ll use to target and create lookalikes from as your user personas. This is where a helping hand from someone who knows the platform well can take some of the pressure off.

Wins

It’s true that Facebook’s pixel offers more specific targeting than Google and the platform gives more powerful, nuanced insight into the results of your campaigns. And the dashboard, which can feel overwhelming at first, is pretty intuitive and simple to navigate once you’ve got to grips with it. Facebook Ads are ultimately brilliant for placing your brand in your audience’s awareness and making them part of their daily or weekly content consumption.

Google: the problem-solving one

Google Ads are the sponsored listings that show up at the top of your first search engine results page (SERP), as well as across Gmail and the Google Display Network, if you so choose. Google also includes YouTube under its umbrella, which, after Google, is the second most visited site on the internet. (As an aside, YouTube hosts a different media, so your approach to video campaigns will be entirely different to your PPC campaigns.)

A well thought-out Google Ads campaign will capitalise on the keywords and phrases your audience is searching for, as well as feature a catchy hook for your brand, product or service that’s relevant to your customer’s search intent. This allows Google Ads to target those who are actively searching for products or services in your sector. This approach is great for niche sectors and for services you’re confident your audience is researching, whether in travel, fitness or health.

Budget

Make use of Google’s Keyword Planner, which not only helps you identify the keywords to target, it also reveals insight in the average cost per click you can expect from those keywords. Knowing this can help you to budget effectively and put a sufficient amount behind your campaigns. If a certain keyword costs £20 and your budget is £100, that’s not going to be money well spent if you need 10 people to purchase an item to make a profit.

User friendliness

While Facebook is definitely not a plug in and go option, Google offers a much easier way to launch. Google Ads are slightly easier to get to grips with than Facebook Ads as the platform backend is a bit more straightforward and user friendly. You can be up and running with your ads in just minutes and they also offer the opportunity for greater reach, though the targeting options aren’t as specific and the budget control is more restricted, allowing Google to make decisions for you. From a housekeeping perspective, if you have a business location, it’s worth listing it on Google My Business, so you have a directory of your key details and branding on the SERP, should customers find you via ads.

Wins

Google Ads have a higher clickthrough rate than Facebook’s, as Google tends to prioritise ads based on relevance and offers functionality to boost CTR, including reviews, a shopping function and remarketing. Google Ads are ideal for catching people’s eye with exactly the information they want exactly when they’re searching for it, as you can assume they have high purchase intent. If they’ve already been exposed to your brand on their social media scrolls, the better.

Ultimately, for most businesses with a strong online presence, these giants finish in a draw.

It’s not a matter of Facebook or Google, but a matter of Facebook AND Google. You can create real magic when you strategise for both Facebook and Google advertising, also known as omnichannel advertising. When you combine the two forces, you can capture two types of audiences, warm and cold, as well as cover more comprehensive reach and targeting that just wouldn’t be possible in silo. It allows you to build multiple touchpoints on the way to conversion, as your audience is exposed to your brand and offering more often, in more contexts.

And don’t be put off by big budgets. The blogs might say that you should be spending thousands every month on paid advertising (which, of course, the big corporates are), but with smart targeting, thorough market knowledge, a creative eye and platform know-how, you can see impressive results for just a couple of £100s. See what we’ve done for our client Battersea Spanish with a modest budget here.

Convinced? Get in touch with us at marketing@maya.agency to learn more about how we can make omni-channel advertising drive awareness, engagement and conversions for you.

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Maya means magic, and magic is what we do.

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