Should I be using Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

Written by Kamran Hussain

Google Ads and Facebook Ads Logos

When starting out with your paid ads strategy, your first question is probably going to be ‘what platforms should I advertise on?’ You’re going to Google it and get a load of articles all telling you different things, get overwhelmed and mark the project as ‘revisiting next quarter.’ We’re here to fix that.

Whilst there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to where you should start, we are going to attempt to break it down and give you the low down on some of the pros and cons of the most prominent platforms, Google and Facebook.

What is the main difference between Google and Facebook Ads?

Simply put, Google Ads are intent based, whilst Facebook Ads are interest based.

Picture yourself scrolling through Facebook, checking on what crap your neighbour’s put on Marketplace this week, maybe getting involved in a few Buzzfeed quizzes, and you come across an ad for cashmere jumpers. You’ve been looking for the perfect cashmere jumper all winter and click on the ad. You weren’t searching for the solution to all your winter problems, but you found it on Facebook. This is interest based advertising.

In contrast, the ads that you see on Google when searching for ‘cashmere jumpers under £50’ are intent based advertising. You’re looking to buy.

What are the pros of Google Ads?

1. High quality traffic

Generally, intent based advertising is going to mean higher quality traffic. The people seeing your ads are in the mood to buy and so, these are defined as higher quality views.

Top tip: subtle changes to your keywords can make a big difference to whether your traffic is intent based or informational based. ‘Is cashmere a good material’’ will produce a very different audience to ‘brown cashmere jumper’.

2. Higher click through rate

When people want to buy, they’ll click (provided your ad has great copy, creative, CTA’s and whatnot, but that’s a discussion for another time). Even if people don’t buy directly from your ad, getting traffic to your website is always a great thing. You’ll be front of mind when it does become time to make a purchase.

3. Only pay for what’s clicked

If you paid every time someone saw your ad on Google, it could get very pricey. Luckily, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, which is a pretty big bonus when compared to other platforms.

What are the pros of Facebook Ads?

1. Advanced targeting

The number one rule as a marketer is know your audience, and you’ve probably got this pretty nailed down. Facebook lets you really use this knowledge to its full extent by enabling you to target based on location, age, interests and even whether or not they follow a competitor.

2. Great analytics

Data is what’s going to drive an amazing marketing strategy because you need to know what’s working and what isn’t. The analytics available on Facebook give you complete transparency on the performance of your ads, and best of all, they run like the standard social media analytics that you’re already used to.

3. Whatever your business,  your audience is there

Facebook has around 2.6 billion monthly users, so your audience is there somewhere. No matter how niche your product or service is, you are likely going to find an audience on Facebook. There might even be some interesting groups you can slip into.

I’ve only got the budget for one platform, what should I start with?

This really does vary from brand to brand, but we would recommend taking advantage of the advanced targeting features on Facebook, especially for ecommerce brands.

Facebook targeting is truly a cut above the rest, meaning you can really filter where your ads are seen and what kind of people see them.

Of course, Google and other platforms offer audience targeting, but none quite like good old Facebook. Facebook’s transparency makes it a great place to start if you’re allocating a smaller budget to your advertising.

Top tip: if Facebook isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to switch it up. All businesses are different and require different strategies.  Just make sure your Google Ads are ready to go. A big gap in your advertising can really damage your reach.

I’m in B2B, are Facebook Ads relevant for my business?

Absolutely. Gone are the days of social media platforms being reserved for B2C. Switching your mindset from ‘I’m selling to a business,’ to ‘I’m selling to a human’ can lead to massive success in B2B marketing.

It might not always seem like it, but the people in suits making the big decisions in high rise corporate offices in Canary Wharf are humans. And humans use social media. Sure, the creative and copy might be different from a B2C ad, or your LinkedIn ads, but Facebook can be an amazing platform, even for B2B

Let’s talk about creating amazing ads

For Google Ads, the copy is what stands out. It’s all about targeting the right keywords, writing copy that resonates and actionable CTAs.

The general rule of thumb is the shorter, the better. Identify the buyer’s pain point and how your product or service solves it.  Cut out unnecessary words that don’t help deliver your message and always keep in mind the language of your audience. Marketing Examples is a great platform for some copywriting inspiration.

For Facebook, the visuals are what stands out. We all know about content fatigue and we’ve all experienced it. Unfortunately that’s the reality of the world in 2022 and your creative needs to seriously stand out to even be in with a chance of getting attention.

As an agency, we’ve seen great success from clients in all industries when using GIFs and carousel ads.

Carousels are an easy way to show multiple products in a collection, various benefits of your service or something more creative like a scroll through timeline.

Adding movement to your ads will help capture attention, but since we all now have the attention span of a goldfish, you’ve got approximately 1.7 seconds to do so. GIFs are a really great way of adding animation or movement in a short space of time. They don’t have to be complicated and there are tons of beginner friendly platforms out there that pretty much do all the hard work for you. Our faves are Biteable, Giphy and Canva.

I’ve never run ads before, what platform should I start with?

For a first time user, Facebook can be hugely overwhelming because of how big the platform is and all its wonderful targeting options.

As marketers we’re notoriously short on time, so if you don’t have the luxury of being able to spend hours learning this massive platform, we’d recommend starting with Google.

I know, I know, I said earlier to start with Facebook and I stick by that statement for those of you that fall into the ‘intermediate’ or ‘I’m not afraid to try anything’ categories. The Google Ads platform, however, is great for beginners. It runs smoothly, has enough targeting features to reach your desired audience and runs on standard industry terminology. It’s a great way to get to know all the phrases and options, which will make learning Facebook a lot easier further down the line.

The final verdict

Whilst all businesses are different and therefore require different ads strategies, this is the general low-down:

For beginners: start with Google. It’s easier to learn and you get to take advantage of the millions of people using the search engine every day.

For smaller budgets: Facebook offers super advanced targeting and so you can really identify your niche and not waste budget on audiences you don’t want.

For ‘I want growth, and I want it now’: go with both and integrate your ads with the rest of your marketing strategy. Run campaigns across email, Facebook ads, Google ads and socials to really make an impact.

Starting a paid ads strategy doesn’t have to be overwhelming, it just requires experimentation and testing to find out what works for your business and your goals. So, move that project back to January’s pipeline and kick off 2022 with a killer marketing strategy.