For years Google AdWords has been the undisputed champion of the pay per click (PPC) advertising world. Google AdWords revolutionized the way businesses small and large could market themselves. And while AdWords is still a highly effective way to reach prospects, there’s no doubt AdWords has grown quite competitive and complex with costs per click much higher in many niches than they used to be.
Enter Facebook PPC. A fairly recent entrant to the PPC game, with 400+ million users and 260 billion page views a month, Facebook is well positioned to be a major player in paid online advertising.
While there are some similarities between running a PPC campaign on Google and running one on Facebook, they are very different beasts. If you’re looking at doing some paid advertising, it’s important to understand these differences before deciding which one is right for your small business.
Here are four main areas where these two PPC programs greatly differ:
Targeting with Google AdWords is done by keyword. Through keyword research (not guessing!) you come up with a list of keywords that your prospects are likely typing into Google search that indicates they are an ideal prospect for your business.
With Facebook, targeting is done by demographics. Facebook compiles an enormous amount of profile data about their users. This lets advertisers target prospects by age, gender, college (and whether someone is in college or a college grad), relationship status (single, in a relationship, engaged, married), employer, birthday and keyword. Keywords let you identify people based on their interests, hobbies, favorite books, TV shows, etc.
2. Ease of use.
Creating an ad and running a PPC campaign in Facebook is much easier than it is with Google. You can pretty much set your budget, create your ad, select your target demographics and get your ads running.
It’s not quite so easy with Google AdWords. This is because Google provides a much more comprehensive set of options to let you set up, tweak and monitor your campaigns. Depending on your goals, taking the time to understand these options may well be worth the extra degree of difficulty.
Whether you use Google or Facebook, however, it’s important to understand how to create a compelling pay per click ad, develop an effective landing page strategy and track and measure the results of your campaign(s).
Also, both platforms have their own rules and regulations you have to follow in order to make sure your ads aren’t rejected, disapproved or get you banned as an advertiser. Be sure to read the advertising policies carefully for both before creating a campaign so you know how to play by their rules.
3. Costs and competition.
Google AdWords is a well established and proven advertising platform and has a good track record of success with many advertisers. This has led to more and more advertisers using AdWords which, in turn, has driven the costs per click up on many keywords (though costs are generally pale in comparison to what you’d pay for more traditional advertising mediums).
Facebook is a relative newcomer to the PPC game and advertisers either aren’t familiar with it or are waiting for the system to mature a little bit. The upside here is that generally the competition is lower as are the costs per click.
4. The Mindset of Your Prospects.
This is a biggie to understand because it’s going to drive how you position your business/product/service.
When someone types a keyword into Google, that keyword or phrase demonstrates a need, desire, or a problem they need solved at that very instant. They are actively searching for a solution.
The importance of this concept should not be overlooked. When you advertise on Google, you are advertising to people who, through their search query, have identified themselves as highly interested and motivated prospects for your business. Your job as an advertiser is to continue the conversation they have going on in their head and lead them to the conclusion that your solution is the ideal one for them.
Facebook users have a different mindset. They are on Facebook first and foremost to socialize and connect with people, not to look at your ads. So to be effective there, you need to run ads that are highly targeted to your ideal prospects and then grab their attention with the ad copy and the image you use in your ad.
Basically, your job is to disrupt them from what they’re on Facebook to do and persuade them that clicking your ad is worth their time. And because they are not in buying mode on Facebook, sending them directly to a sales page on your website tends not to work as well as it might on Google.
Which PPC program is right for your business?
The short answer is I don’t know. It completely depends on your business and your goals.
They both have their pros and cons and I’m not advocating one over the other. The important thing to understand is that both Google AdWords and Facebook PPC advertising are viable options for marketing your small business online.
My recommendation is to test them both out, see what kind of results you get and then decide whether Google, Facebook, both or neither are an effective marketing strategy for you small business.
Have you been using Google AdWords or Facebook PPC? Both? Neither? Please share your thoughts on these two advertising programs in the comments section below.