Because of the rising popularity of social media, advertising through traditional channels like television, radio and newspaper has been replaced with online advertising. As a cheap marketing method with the ability to reach more people than before, online advertising has particularly become popular among startups and small businesses. In fact, Facebook Advertising and Google Adwords are now two of the major online advertising competitors. So, with billions of users located worldwide, these digital advertisers compete for a chunk of today’s valuable online market. However, they both have significant pros and cons, which are determined by user preference. In order to understand which of these advertising giants are more successful, it’s important to compare their abilities. You have to consider things like advertising options, relevance, and cost efficiency.
Understanding Facebook Advertising
Facebook is a social media platform that has gone beyond expectations in terms of its popularity. It has an estimated 1.32 billion people that log on daily, which makes it a powerful source for advertising. Advertising on Facebook has therefore been incredibly successful financially. It offers a wide variety of promotional opportunities for pages, groups and ads. Through these opportunities, companies have the ability to market their products and services in inexpensive ways. The platform’s methods of reaching out, combined with its huge number of users gives it the effect of an advertising publisher. Although Google Adwords also applies a similar strategy to its business, Facebook Advertising has the ability to use it on a larger scale. When it comes down to it, Facebook Advertising is more flexible than Google Adwords in terms of its advertising.
Facebook Advertising Costs
One factor that particularly appeals to advertisers when considering a platform is the cost. Although both claim to be less expensive, Facebook Advertising is actually cheaper. As previously mentioned, Facebook offers various advertising opportunities. A Facebook page, for example, is a free page that can publish content and reach a wide audience.
Facebook Advertising Consumer Interactions
Users have the ability to interact with the page in many ways. This includes the option to “like” the page, hide the page, and give feedback about the content and its relevance. A well managed page will sell the company’s culture through graphics and logos on the profile. This will then encourage followers or viewers to follow links to the company’s website. In addition to free Facebook pages, companies have the option to create sponsored pages. These paid-for pages will appear before any free pages. This results in Facebook Advertising providing feedback on how all ads are performing and where to make improvements.
Groups on Facebook make sharing content easy and free. A group is a forum for discussion in which users can invite friends or people with common interests to interact. Of course, users may accept or decline their invitation. A “wall” exists in all group pages. This is a place in which people can advertise. Users in the group can post content and updates here with links to websites or coupons for public use. Like any type of advertising, the content in the group must be captivating and interactive to keep members from leaving. Therefore, administrators must work hard at not only maintaining, but also increasing the number of members in their group.
Advertising On Facebook
The third category of Facebook ads is advertising. These are paid, promoted ads, which can appear in a variety of forms, from banners to videos. Depending on the user’s preference, the ads can appear on different parts of the Facebook page. There are also different budget ranges users can work with. It all depends on how much the advertiser is willing to pay. Overall, Facebook ads are easy to access and manage, as the platform ensures that the ads reach specific groups.
Understanding Google AdWords
On the other hand, Google Adwords does not have pages, groups and ads. They particularly depend on ads, which can be seen as a limitation. Since Google Adwords is a pay-per-click advertiser, however, it is seen as cost effective because advertisers only have to pay when a viewer clicks on the ad. Specifically, it is based on keyword search. As a result, this is more profitable. So, the advertiser doesn’t have to spend money without seeing results. This also ensures that Google directs more ads toward sites where traffic is generated in order to be seen. Although this strategy seems credible, Facebook’s multiple abilities continue to give it an advantage over its competition.
Google Consumer Interactions
Similar to Facebook, Google is a wildly popular platform. Due to tools like Google+, the platform has a large follower base – but not as large as that of Facebook. According to the Pew Research Center, Facebook has been the most used social media platform in 2017. With a higher follower base, Facebook can collect a lot of data from their subscribers. In regards to this information, advertisers can tell which goods or services might appeal to different users. As a result, many people prefer to market their ads on Facebook because they feel that they will have better reach in terms of their audience.
Google AdWords – Why You Should Care About It
Time is money. But when it comes to Facebook, the more time a user spends on it, the more money the advertiser gets. Facebook’s Advertising is aimed towards making users spend time on distractions like games. This is not the same with Google Adwords. In many cases, Google Adwords prefers relevance over money spent. This level of competition gives advertisers of all budgets an equal chance at making highly visible ads.
Google Adwords favors landing pages that are easy to access since this increases click probability. Thus, it is effective because the platform successfully matches keywords with relevant ads.
In turn, Facebook receives many complaints about irrelevant ads and time consuming feeds. This is because Facebook is a pay for play operation. So those who pay more for their ads get more promotional benefits. This strategy typically leads to lower click through rates (CTR) and conversions, especially in comparison to Google Adwords.
The click through rate is determined by the number of visitors that click on the ad and are directed to the advertiser’s website. In other words, the more people that click the ad’s link, the more effective the marketing campaign. Google Adwords tends to have more success with this because it takes the target audience’s interests into consideration. Meanwhile, Facebook Advertising can be overwhelming with its number of feeds. In terms of cost conversions, it is also very easy for Google Adwords users to track their total number of clicks.
Location, Time, Language, and Mobile Targeting
When comparing the platforms’ efficiency, think in terms of location, time, language, and mobile targeting. Google Adwords again comes out on top. While Facebook Advertising also provides these targeting features, Adwords offers more options. Moreover, Google Adwords has over forty language options in its ad library. This ensures that ads will display in the correct language. Its geographical locations are just as accurate.
Although both Facebook Advertising and Google Adwords give statistics to advertisers on how well ads are doing, Google Adwords goes further. They offer test runs. After the test run phase, users can readjust their ads in order to best appeal to their target audience. This is the kind of personal touch that most advertisers seek. As a result, it is why Adwords has an edge over Facebook Advertising.
In addition to test runs, Google Adwords offers its advertisers the ability to re-target. This is an advantage because people who have interacted with a brand or are visiting a website for the second time are more likely to pay for the product or service offered. It also encourages people who didn’t complete a purchase to return to the website to reconsider buying the product.
On the downside, Google Adwords promotes specifically to those searching for a particular thing. This method can be more costly and inefficient because marketing is done on the premise of existing demand. The ads will mostly target customers who are looking for the service or product in question. Meanwhile, Facebook Advertising forces people to want the product. Sometimes, people do not know what they are actually seeking until they find it. Therefore, Google Adwords becomes costly because advertisers might have to advertise over a period of time before getting the traffic they seek.
In terms of demographics, Facebook Advertising hits a roadblock because of its age appeal. Statistics have indicated that Facebook is popular amongst users between the ages of 18 to 29. Many products and services relating to IT and technology will therefore be well received by this demographic. On the other hand, other products and services, like medical supplements, might not appeal to them. Google Adwords on the other hand reaches a wider age range.
Overall, Facebook Advertising and Google Adwords each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Choosing between them is up to the user.
The Economist. “How Facebook became an Advertising Behemoth”. Retrieved 3/08/2017.
Thompson, Derek. “Facebook, Google, and the Economics of Time”. The Atlantic. Retrieved
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