In previous years, Facebook’s paid advertising service has struggled to be taken entirely seriously when compared with the big guns over at Google AdWords, and it has always been hard to justify spending big budgets on Facebook ads, given the uncertain returns they offered.
If you were to compare these two paid advertising platforms to breakfasts (and why wouldn’t you?) Adwords would be the Full English – tried and tested, dependable, and value for money. Coversely, Facebook advertising would be a continental breakfast – newer and trendier, but not very substantial, and always leaving you a bit unfulfilled.
Nowadays though, I think that perception is starting to change. There’s now a good case to be made both platforms, and it’s very possible to run successful paid campaigns on either. So should you start re-distributing some of your AdWords budget into Facebook ads? Here are a few things to consider:
The great strength of Facebook is that it allows you such a high degree of choice when it comes to targeting people. When an individual signs up to Facebook, they put in their age, gender, location, maritial status, and interests – hugely valuable information that we marketers can get our greasy mitts on and use it to target them with highly specific ads.
As well as creating many different adverts for each target group, depending on your site, you could also create different landing pages for each target demographic.
The other plus point of Facebook’s advertising is its relative simplicity – it’s pretty straightforward to get started, very user friendly and has a great interface for creating and measuring the success of ads. It’s also quite cheap at the moment, especially if you use the CPM pricing model.
AdWords offers a tremendously powerful platform for your business – it’s the undisputed daddy of the paid advertising world.
One of the biggest things in favour of AdWords is that people who click on AdWords ads tend to be looking for something specific – i.e. they made a search on Google because right now they want to find a particular bit of information or buy a certain product.
This ‘buying intent’ is a crucial difference with Facebook. Remember Facebook is a SOCIAL network, so what people are mostly doing there is socialising. While your Facebook adverts may be perfectly targeted to their exact interests, most Facebook users are more likely to be interested in looking at holiday photos and watching funny cat videos that their friends have posted on their wall than they are in what you happen to be selling. This means that you tend to have a much lower bounce rate and a higher conversion rate from AdWords ads than Facebook ads.
Google AdWords has been around for a long, long time and is the bedrock of Google’s business model, so as you’d expect there are a huge amount of features and opportunities on this platform. A small campaign can easily evolve into a sprawling AdWords empire, with thousands of target keywords, various bidding strategies and a spiralling budget.
To encourage you to try it out, Google offers £50 free advertising credit when you sign up as a new user to Adwords. So you can actually do a considerable amount of advertising and testing without having to put your hand in your own pocket.
Ultimately, both of these tools can work, so it comes down to your goals and your market. Because AdWords has been around for so long, many small businesses that are new to the platform may find their market saturated by bigger businesses, against whom it is hard to compete. Facebook, meanwhile, is much less widely used currently, so could be an opportunity to exploit a hole in the market.
You may actually find you get the best results if you use both AdWords and Facebook advertising in tandem – a bit of Full English, a bit of Continental. A true breakfast for champions.