Social Media Marketing professional’s intent on advertising online will likely compare Facebook ads and Google AdWords to decide which advertising vehicle is the best to use. Both offer certain advantages. Depending on the type of advertising a company wants, Facebook or Google could better suit a particular need. As of early 2013, the top grade overall goes to Google AdWords with a much higher Click Through Rate (CTR), faster results, better analytics and more ad format versatility.
Advertising Models Compared
Considering the fact that Google has been known as the search tool of choice for as long as most users can remember surfing the web, it is no surprise that Google AdWords is ranked high for its ability to deliver search prospects. While Facebook courts customer prospects by building brand recognition over time, Google focuses on delivering search customers at the exact moment a prospect is searching for information. When a customer clicks through on a Google ad, they are taken to the company website or landing page.
At this point Google has done its job, delivering a “warm” prospect to a company at the exact point in time that the prospect is searching for information about that company’s product or service. In sales, timing does count for a lot. For this reason, Google definitely trumps the slower relationship-building model that Facebook relies on in terms of a focused and timely delivery of potential business.
Additionally, Google’s display ads can be created to attract users based on their browser history. For example, if a user has been on a car company website, then that company can design an ad that follows that prospect around as they continue their research on other car sites. This targeting technique is called retargeting and keeps a company’s name in clear view throughout a prospect’s online search efforts.
Facebook takes a much different approach to advertising. Instead of being customer-driven by a search, Facebook ads seek to create demand by strategically showing ads to likely customer prospects. Facebook determines the appropriateness of an ad match by analysis of profiles and activity.
When a customer clicks on a Facebook ad, they are taken to a Facebook page the majority of the time. If that prospect likes your page and becomes a friend, then a company has earned a good lead that can be followed up on at a later date. Depending on the sales cycle of a particular product or service and the sense of urgency the customer has, it is easy to see how both Facebook ads and Google Adwords both work in specific situations.
Industry opinion ranks Google AdWords analytic tools as excellent when compared to a less enthusiastic rating of Facebook’s tool, Insights. Facebook ads are typically hard to evaluate since Facebook users are generally not actively shopping when they view an ad. Many marketing professionals feel that Facebook analytics are hard to understand. For this reason, marketers often prefer Google.
In a Nutshell
Now more than ever, marketing professionals battle daily to justify advertising expenditures and show favorable ROI results. While Facebook ads are considered to be a good way to capture goodwill and build relationships over time, marketers faced with poor analytics and an inability to accurately measure ROI favor Google. If Facebook is to gain market share in the online advertising arena, they must improve analytics and CTR rates.