There is no denying the power of online advertising, with the numbers growing toward $40 billion in total spending this year (2012). The two big players in the online advertising realm are undoubtedly Google and Facebook. However, not all advertising online is created equally. So how do you go about choosing which platform will earn your ad dollars? Let’s take a look at the two approaches individually so that we can compare them.
When you advertise with Google Adwords, you are placing bids on certain key words. When people who use the search engine enter a search, Google displays ads that match or are relevant to the keywords that a user searched. This means that when you use Google Adwords to market your product/service the customers who enter your site can be anyone. The person searching for what you offer might not necessarily be your ideal target customer. Let’s consider the story that someone searches for “how to rewire a home network,” your ad pops up, and the customer clicks it and is taken to your site or sales page where they see that you offer custom networking solutions and set ups for households and small businesses. Now, the person who searched that might be someone who was looking for tips on how to do all of the wiring themselves. That means that unless you sell the products that they might need, that person really does not have a lot of value to your company. Now, if that person was someone who was clueless on how to do it and they were looking for general information on the topic, they get to your site and realize that what they need to do is way over their head, then you now have a shot to offer them something great and useful. Now, let me also say that Google Adwords is a great way to advertise and get your message out to the right people, but it is important to be aware of the process that the consumer who gets to your site is going through so that you can understand their likely next steps. This will give you a little idea about how you can optimize your landing pages for products/services that you are advertising on the ad network.
When you advertise on Facebook, you are targeting a certain consumer profile more so than you are targeting someone who is looking at a particular topic. When you create ads in Facebook, you get to fill out the criteria for who your ads are shown to. You can pick all sorts of demographic information in addition to some psychographic information about the target consumers. This is different from Google Adwords in that the person you are talking to might fit your ideal profile of a customer, but it is likely not the right time for them to hear your message. Let’s consider the example story that we used above, you own a company that offers custom networking solutions and set ups for households and small businesses. You have narrowed down your target customers’ location, age range, and even some of their interests. You plug in all of this information on Facebook and then send your message out to these people. You write your ad to say something like your Google Adwords advertisement read (about how to rewire a home or small network). This ad then gets displayed to your target consumer while they are on Facebook. Viewer one is talking with a few friends on Facebook while watching some funny videos in her stream. Your ad pops up and it couldn’t be further from what she is interested in at the moment and so it fades out of her mind with ease. Viewer two is on Facebook checking the feeds of some of her favorite tech blogs, she sees some good deals on tech gear she is considering upgrading, then your ad pops up and she is interested so she clicks on it.
Despite the fact that you sent the same message to two of your ideal customers on Facebook, both of them weren’t readily seeking what you had to offer. On Google Adwords, you sent out the same message, but despite the same phrasing the two customers had different reasons for typing in that search query. Facebook advertising is best for reaching out to your target consumers in a more natural approach. You know your customers, you should know how to talk with them casually, and this is the tonality that you will likely want to use for your ad’s copy. When on Google Adwords, you know you are hitting people that are likely interested in your topic and are ready to take action, but you do not know if the person reading your ad is your ideal customer. Facebook let’s you know who you are talking to but it doesn’t let you know what they want or when they want it. Google Adwords knows what people are looking for, but it doesn’t know who they are as well as Facebook does.