It is obvious that marketing online is the wave of the future. However, with so many different options for digital advertising and so many confusing aspects and analytics, it can be challenging for a business to decipher what online strategies will work best for their needs.

The two biggest heavy hitters in the digital marketing world are currently Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. Depending on your company and goals, one of these platforms may be more successful for you than the other. However, with both offering such robust options for advertising, how can you decide which one is best for you?

Google Vs. Facebook: Which is Right for My Business?

Google AdWords & Facebook Ads

Google remains the king of online advertising, taking in over 55 billion dollars in net advertising sales in 2016 and all sources believe they will only continue growing.

One of Google’s main benefits is the Pay-Per-Click search engine placement, which enables your business to place themselves in the top section of search engine results, where people are already looking for them.

Facebook, is the king, in its own right, of social media and their combined advertising efforts. According to a report in Forbes, Facebook saw a 50% increase in advertisers from 2015 to 2016 and during that time has reached over 3 million advertisers. In fact, with an estimated $36 billion spent on ads in 2016, Facebook towers above the other social media outlets as the most frequently used for marketing. With its ability to send ads directly to people on their newsfeeds, as well as through Instagram and a variety of ad partners, Facebook has positioned themselves as a powerhouse, especially in target marketing.

While both have their own levels of marketing clout, it can sometimes be hard to decide which avenue best fits your business and your online marketing goals. By understanding what each platform does and who does it best, you can funnel your advertising efforts in the place it will do the most good.

The Ad Creative

Google AdWords primary benefit is in its search engine placement. A traditional Google ad will appear as a text, search engine result. The ad will look much like any other search engine result, it will just be accompanied by the word, “Ad” in a box before the URL. Google also offers display ads, which come in a variety of sizes. They allow your advertising to appear on a variety of partner’s website that most relate to your industry and potential customer. These “banner ads” are seen all over the Internet and provide potential customers with enough of a tease to entice them into clicking. Video and static ads are both available on Google advertising platforms.

Facebook Ads often appear just like another Facebook posting in your newsfeed. You can create static images, videos, carousels/slideshows, and even offers for your customers to redeem in person online. The ad creative works best when your ad is fun and engaging, just like a regular Facebook post you would see every day.

Bottom Line – If creativity is a major part of your ad message, consider using Facebook.

Placement & Targeting

One of the main differences with Google and Facebook is who sees your ads. With Google, you can be the business they already know they need—on Facebook you can be the business they didn’t know they needed.

Google allows you to target based on keyword searches, meaning you can deliver ads to those who are already looking for your good and services. This, in general, will provide you a stronger customer base that is ready to convert into a client or customer.

With Facebook, your targeting can be much more involved helping you find the buyer before they are even looking for you. With a variety of factors in place to determine your audience, Facebook goes beyond basic demographics and geographical indicators and delves into interests and more in-depth personal information to deliver your ads to a specific type of person. Some of the ways you can fine tune your audiences are by income, job title, parental status, and interests as well as the traditional age, location, and socioeconomic status. For instance, you can target people who have expressed an interest in something relating to your product or services. Facebook also allows you to target to audiences of pages that are like yours as well.

Bottom Line – If you a niche market, consider Facebook. If you have a more general audience try Google.

Budget

Budgets for both Google and Facebook can be completely set by the user, so you do not extend beyond your advertising budget.  You can set long-term budgets or short-term campaigns and you can change or stop the advertising budget at any time.

Generally speaking, however, cost per click (CPC) can tend to be higher with Google AdWords. Especially if you are in a field with highly desired keywords. The average cost per click in 2016 was just over $2.00, a stark difference in comparison to Facebook, whose average CPC in 2016 was around $0.35. However, cost per click may not be your only consideration.

If you are interested in driving traffic to your website, a CPC campaign may be your best bet, however, to create brand identity you might decide impressions, the number of times your ad is shown, could provide you more value. Both Google and Facebook allow you focus on either of these outcomes for a more successful ad campaign.

Bottom Line – If you have a more limited budget, you might want to start with Facebook.

How Does your Customer Purchase Your Goods or Services?

One of the easiest ways to determine what method works best for you is to put special consideration into how your ideal clients purchase your goods or services. This can help you determine what your overall end goal will really be.

How do your clients come to find your good or service? Will they be searching for your product? Will they be looking for a phone number to call you and make an appointment? Is your product more of an impulse buy? These factors can play into which advertising avenue works best for you. Those in service industries lean toward Google ads, for its ability to place your contact information right in front of someone who is already looking for help with that particular need. Impulse buy products work well on Facebook, specifically because you can target them using their determined interests.

Bottom Line – Service industries do well with Google and search engine marketing.

Consider Your Objective

While all marketing has a similar objective to obtain greater sales, defining your objective to reach that goal can help you find a better online advertising strategy. If you are looking for more sales or ways to generate more leads then Google AdWords will likely be your best bet.

Social media, because it beckons a deeper engagement from its users, is generally more effective for creating greater brand awareness. When you have a more personal story to tell about your business, Facebook offers the kind of engagement you seek. By allowing users to comment and share, they feel as if they are a part of your story, not just watching it. This not only helps create awareness but also the kind of brand loyalty, that is hard to find with other advertising avenues.

Bottom Line – If you are looking to get click to your site, Google will likely provide a better return. For building brand identity and loyalty, Facebook is stronger.

Measurements & Analytics

Both Facebook and Google provide important analytic tools so you can leverage your market data to make more informed advertising decisions. Understanding your customer data and their behavior once they are on your page in integral to success. Both Google and Facebook provide simple to install tracking codes you can place on your website to gain data from your website visitors.

Bottom Line – Google Analytics provides more robust data than Facebook, however, both provide substantial analytical data.

Final Words

Google and Facebook advertising have shown such amazing growth in the past few years, they are hard for any business or advertiser to ignore. By harnessing the power of the right advertising platform many businesses have found advertising success in ways that are simply not possible with traditional media. Armed with the right knowledge, you can decide which one, if not both, are right for your own business’s advertising efforts.

Image: Photospin

Author Bio:

Amber Henning is a Content Marketing Specialist for Social Eyes Marketing, a full-service digital marketing agency. She has run successful campaigns for politicians, businesses, and organizations such as the American Cancer Society. She is passionate about helping businesses and organizations succeed, especially online.