Many digital marketing managers are struggling with all the changes to Google Ads and Facebook Ads over the last few years. These changes have created some uncertainty for digital marketers to get the best ROI on their media spend in 2022. This has caused the age-old question to flood marketer’s minds: which social network giant deserves my business’ precious advertising dollars – Facebook or Google?
The answer to that question really depends, each platform can deliver exceptional ROI – subject to the business’ target market, budget and marketing goals. In the post below, find out the fundamental differences between the two paid advertising channels and see actionable advice on when to invest in 2022 and beyond.
Paid Advertising Market Snapshot
Let’s start by taking a look at paid advertising trends in Q3 2021. According to the Skai digital marketing trends report, paid social saw the biggest YoY growth with an increase of spending of up to 50% for Consumer Goods & Retail advertisers. Over the same time period, the average cost per click (CPC) for search grew 30% YoY.
According to Statista, between 2017-2024 the amount of digital ad spending will increase from 48% to 68%. The rise of social advertising can be attributed to Facebook’s improved video platform stealing TV budgets.
Looking at the numbers, the future looks bright for both paid advertising methods, but which one of the category leaders should your business invest in – let’s take a closer look.
What Are Facebook Ads?
More than one third of the world’s population is active on Facebook per month, which is approximately 2.9 billion people as of December 2021. The social giant is a powerful weapon online and offers significant scale for all advertisers. According to webstrategiesinc.com, approximately 91% of marketers invest in Facebook as their social media platform of choice as of 2021.
Combining this immense scale with a goldmine of behavioural data, highly specific targeting capabilities and ever evolving ad formats, leads many marketers to make the conclusion that Facebook Ads is the platform for them. Some may argue that Facebook advertising skews more towards brand building and top of funnel marketing activities; however this doesn’t detract from the immense value the social giant brings.
Facebook advertising also includes integration with Instagram, which utilizes the digital mediums of video and images across both sites. Instagram has full integration with Facebook Ads Manager, making it easy to combine your advertising efforts using one platform. Because of the general top of funnel marketing activities, Facebook has a relatively unique customer journey map than other platforms like Google. Facebook impressions are great for brand recognition but not so much the actual purchasing stage, which is where Google tends to thrive. The distinctive audience targeting on Facebook makes it a great way to hone in a specific audience for your brand and helps with retargeting.
Facebook Ads Pros
Massive Scale: With over 37 percent of the world’s entire population active monthly on Facebook, in terms of audience attention the channel is what television was 50 years ago. In real time you can multiply campaign reach for a fraction of the cost you would pay for a TV or radio ad. At the same time you can be leveraging a huge number of targeting features to reach the right audience network targeted specifically for your business.
Data Goldmine & Pinpoint Targeting Capabilities: Facebook keeps track of almost every imaginable data point that its 2.9 Billion active users take. With an average Facebook session lasting longer than a Google search, the volume and quality of behavioral data Facebook captures certainly passes its rival. Lookalike audiences provide you with a more narrow audience using data to show your ads to your ideal customers with similar characteristics to your existing customers. Marketers can now deliver the perfect message to the right audience at the most opportune time which can ultimately minimize ad wastage.
Cost Effective: Facebook ads on average are cheaper than Google ads with a $1.72 cheaper CPC. In saying this, the price you pay will vary depending on how much competition there is for your target audience. There are definitely valid arguments that a single click from Google is worth more than one on Facebook because of the consumer’s stage in the decision journey.
Engaging Ad formats: Through its news feed advertising, Facebook can deliver compelling visual ads that seamlessly integrate with the user experience. These can be much more engaging than basic text ads on Google. Furthermore, Facebook boasts approximately the same number of video views a day as YouTube (which is owned by Google) at about 5 billion. Facebook continues to invest heavily in its video platform, capitalising on an increasing number of younger users who prefer online video to traditional TV formats.
Instagram Compatibility: Facebook and Instagram are managed using the same software which means they have full integration using Facebook Ads Manager. These are 2 of the biggest social media platforms and have full sync capabilities, creating one fully integrated platform for your business to take advantage of.
Facebook Ads Cons
Interruption Marketing: Users on Facebook don’t actively rely on the platform to shop. As a result conversion rates (as an average) are generally lower on average than on Google where consumers are in buying mode.
Demographic Targeting: Targeting via demographics using specific audiences requires much trial and error to pinpoint the right audience initially, which can prove to be costly over time. Also, by making assumptions around who the target audience is you may cut out a significant portion of the market. Google on the other hand circumnavigates this problem through capturing user intent, taking out the guesswork around audience targeting.
What Are Google Ads?
With over 150 billion global searches being conducted each month, Google is by far the most popular and widely used search engine on the planet. Google currently has a market share of all search engine results of 92.47% as of June 2021.
Furthermore, ActiveCampaign states that digital ad spending is currently increasing at a rate of approximately 2% per year. The estimated spend in 2022 is $441 billion for digital ad spending worldwide. This highlights that Google Ads is only going to continue to grow and become more competitive than ever.
Google is such a vast platform and their advertising covers so many areas including search, display and shopping, video, and app. Google search and shopping ads are generally a mid-bottom of funnel event as many consumers are engaged & ready to buy. This is why digital marketers target purchase intent related keywords. All the other advertising types are a top of funnel event and are generally unexpected on display network ads. Google is a search engine capable of delivering ads in multiple ways like video ads through YouTube which gives it great versatility compared to a social platform like Facebook or Instagram.
Google Ads Pros
Vast Reach: Just like Facebook, Google offers massive potential reach. The search giant generates 63,000 queries per second, equating to around 2 trillion global searches per year. No matter what industry you’re in, you can guarantee that your target audience is looking for your products or services on Google.
Commercial Intent: The biggest advantage Google ads has over Facebook is user intent. Most consumers using the search engine are actively looking for products or services and are often in a buying state of mind. Using the broad, phrase, or exact match keyword types can help find users looking to purchase your products or services more easily depending on their search query.
Highly Measurable Analytics: Google houses a comprehensive analytics suite which provides a clear picture of revenue driving metrics such as cost per conversions. Using this data, you can easily identify weaknesses in your strategy and manipulate campaign variables to achieve desired marketing KPI’s.
Granular Targeting & Mobile: Google offers a plethora of granular targeting options such as location, device, time of day and day of the week. This allows for tighter control of campaigns and enables marketers to deploy advanced PPC strategies such as channeling budgets into higher converting times of the day. It also caters for the mobile centric buying habits of today’s consumer – allowing marketers to develop custom targeting and bidding strategies for the mobile experience.
Rewards Quality: The most common misconception around Google Ads is that the company with the biggest budget wins, but this is not always the case. Ad rank is calculated using a number of factors including the bid, CTR, ad relevance, and the landing page experience. Read some of our best Google ads tips for small businesses in our guide.
Google Ads Cons
Expensive In Some Industries: Cost can be exuberant in some industries such as SEO, where cost per click prices can hover anywhere on average around the $25 mark for 1 click. Some marketers may argue that this is counteracted by high transactional and customer lifetime values (LTV’s) in an industry like this.
Takes Expertise To Manage: Google Ads certainly isn’t a set and forget platform. If campaigns aren’t set up correctly or budgets not tightly managed – advertising dollars can be burnt (which is never a good thing).
Lacks Engaging Ad Formats: Google shopping and display ads aside, the platform lacks the visually engaging ad formats of its social rival. Search ads are great, but definitely is not the most visually exciting advertising method out there.
How Have Facebook & Google Changed Digital Marketing Over Recent Years
Facebook has had to endure a huge change to its advertising platform because of Apple. So, it is important to get up to speed about the iOS 14 updates which have caused this. This Apple update was released in late 2020 and has increased the security, which has negatively impacted Facebook advertising. The Facebook Pixel has changed how it obtains data, which makes conversion events much harder to track. This change impacts the performance of Facebook advertising on Apple devices by not being able to accurately show proper reporting and conversion events due to cookie tracking changes. Moving forward, the personalization of ads due to retargeting will start to decrease, as opting out of data tracking on Apple products starts to occur more frequently.
As a result of these updates, the Google conversion tracking has also taken a bit of a negative hit. Although the updates have not been as damaging to Google, the analytics tracking features across Google Ads is a major reason why people love the platform. These may be slightly less accurate as a result which has caused some concern amongst digital marketing experts. Google has also recently rebranded their Google My Business feature to be called Google Business Profile. This is not so much related to Google Ads, but indirectly is a great advertising feature all businesses should be using to help increase their exposure online.
The best way to overcome issues surrounding iOS14 is by utilizing the Facebook & Google custom and lookalike audiences. These essentially mimic your current audience and target people who are likely to be interested in your business because they share similar characteristics with your existing customers. This can easily be done by uploading the email and phone numbers from your existing customers. Utilizing the targeting features can help minimize the effects of these advertising changes.
Which Digital Marketing Channel Should I Invest In?
Summarizing these 2 methods of digital marketing advertising can be very difficult because of the many differences in features and channels. Facebook advertising works well for brand building activities, establishing industry authority, re-activating past customers and dripping prospects through multi-stage sale funnels. Google Ads on the other hand is unparalleled in its ability to generate leads in a highly measurable way whilst capturing users attention when in a buying decision making state of mind.
Ultimately how you decide to utilise your marketing spend across Facebook and Google will be determined by your business model, target market and marketing goals. As a rule of thumb, if there is a significant volume of consumers searching for your products or services on Google, then invest there first. These customers are ready to buy and in markets with short sales cycles, like emergency plumbing, and you’ll see near instantaneous return on investment.
Many experts agree Facebook and Google work best in synergy and thus harnessing the unique strengths of each platform. A consumer is more likely to click on your Google ad if they recognise your brand from Facebook. Whilst, a consumer who discovers your brand through Google may not convert on the first visit and you could leverage Facebook’s retargeting to re-introduce them into your sales funnel. The combinations are endless and will require trial, error and meticulous optimisation to establish the perfect mix for your business.
As consumer attention becomes increasingly fragmented, adopting a multi-channel digital strategy is key to your online marketing success. Google Ads reach about 90% of internet users and Facebook Ads reach about 50%, so a single strategy on either Facebook or Google might not always capture your entire audience profile. There is no better place to start than with the two digital channels that garner the most consumer attention.
How To Improve Your Digital Marketing Efforts
Digital marketers all around the world automatically turn first to Facebook & Google for all their digital advertising needs. The popularity of these platforms enables you to reach your maximum audience in a relatively easy way. Doing the following 2 things will ensure your digital marketing efforts are maximized.
A huge trend in recent years is in-depth analytics playing a big role in decision making. Analytics have continued to play a big role and will continue to play more of a role in future years. The analytics available on platforms like Facebook and Google only continue to improve. This data can help you make the best decisions for your business and it is worthwhile using metrics like conversion rate, reach, leads, CPC, CPA, and ROI. Carefully analyzing this data can help make any necessary edits which can lead to lower costs and more conversions.
Our downloadable checklist can be found by clicking the link below. This gives you actionable points to help you ensure your digital marketing efforts cover all the essentials to bring your business to the next level.
Where Can I Get Some Digital Marketing Advertising Assistance?
Google & Facebook are both social media giants who deserve all digital marketers attention and likely already do. There is so much more to Google ads than just search ads and there is more to Facebook than just image ads. Results do take a bit of time to start rolling in due to the machine learning stages, but making a good ROI is quickly achievable. The targeting capabilities on Facebook make it great when you can easily define your audience. The bottom of funnel activities on Google make it a great place to find consumers who are ready to buy.
At BeOnTop, we understand the complexities that trying to bring good quality leads and traffic to your site can bring. We can help you make this process so much easier. Contact us today for more information about how a social media campaign can help you achieve your business goals today.