Google vs Facebook advertising: which is best for your business?

Online advertising is a vital element of any modern business’s successful marketing strategy. In fact, online advertising spend continues to outstrip any other form of advertising spend in New Zealand. But what makes it just so successful? And which platform is best for your business?
By Robert Kramers
Published on September 24, 2018

Google vs Facebook advertising: which is best for your business?

If you’re aiming to maximise the return on your marketing budget, should you advertise with search giant Google or social media superstar Facebook? Let’s find out…

Online advertising is a vital element of any modern business’s successful marketing strategy.

In fact, online advertising spend continues to outstrip any other form of advertising spend in New Zealand.

But what makes it just so successful?

And which platform is best for your business?

The ins and outs of Online Advertising

The many shapes and forms of online advertising offers business owners more control and flexibility, with a far higher ROI than traditional advertising such as TV, print, or radio. Comprehensive analytics give real-time feedback on how your ad is performing, plus you have control over the budgets and daily ad spends of your campaigns..

Even businesses with a small advertising budget – and a smart advertising campaign – can compete head-to-head with larger businesses.

When you turn to online advertising, you probably think of the big players, Google and Facebook.

To work out which you should choose, let’s first explore each platform to understand what they offer…

Google – the search network

Google Search serves over 4.5 billion active users each month.

That’s close to 5 billion people searching for product, services, or information.

For businesses, the advantage of advertising on the Google Search network is pretty straightforward: those users searching for a product or service are already at the decision making and buying stage of the sales process.

This means you can focus your marketing dollar on capturing and converting a strong lead or sale.

Not surprisingly, nearly 60 percent of online advertising spend in New Zealand is spent on search advertising.

How it works

Advertising on Google is referred to as ‘paid search’.

Essentially, advertisers bid on keywords or phrases used in searches in order to rank highest in search results. However, Google offers a whole range of continually evolving advertising options and features.

Put simply, Google offers two main advertising options:

  • Google Search Network
    Advertising is based on keywords matched to searches for specific products or services. They’re the ads that appear at the top of your search results and include text ads, shopping ads, video and app ads. You only pay when people click on your ad, and there are various options on the next action users can take.NOTE: Google Search is the ideal solution for getting in front of a potential customer when they’re ready to buy.
  • Google Display Network
    Advertising on the Display Network is targeted toward audience interest and demographics. In fact, it’s very similar to broadcast advertising. They’re the banners or box ads that show up on the article or news page you’re reading. Google says your ad can appear on their two million partner websites, videos, and apps, reaching over 90 percent of internet users worldwide.The Display Network allows you to create more visually appealing adverts, putting your ad in front of people, in the right context, before they start searching. Audiences may not even click on your ad – but they’ve seen it, and it becomes a ‘touch point’ along the sales journey.NOTE: The Google Display Network is perfect for building brand awareness or increasing leads.

Is Google right for you?

Consider these top 7 advantages of Google’s advertising:

  • Google’s massive reach – Google Search is unrivalled.
  • Google offers access to people actively searching to buy the products and services you’re selling.
  • The choice of Google Search or Google Display network, depending on your marketing goals.
  • Google Adwords rewards relevant and high quality ads – not always the highest bid – so you can still compete on a smaller budget.
  • A huge range of formats and features allows you to customise and optimise your advert.
  • There is no minimum amount you have to spend – you set your average daily budget and choose how you’ll spend your money. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Google’s Search Network can generate sales and lead conversions immediately.

Facebook – the social network

Facebook Social MarketingFacebook serves over 2.2 billion monthly active users each month.

This includes over 3 million New Zealanders!

Facebook is used for social interaction; a place to interact with friends and family, follow your interests, and seemingly share cute videos of cats and dogs.

More than anything, the platform’s ‘social search’ excels in being able to define its audience by demographics, behaviours and interests. It has to do something with all that info it has on us! This allows advertisers to place ads in a context where they’re likely to be noticed and acted upon.

The network’s advertising runs across Facebook, Instagram, a partner network (Audience Network) and Messenger, including mobile devices.

How it works

Facebook offers a myriad of placement positions within its family of apps and services, from feeds and side columns through to stories, banners, and sponsored messages.

Is Facebook right for you?

Consider these top 4 advantages of Facebook’s advertising:

  • Facebook serves an enormous audience of engaged and active users.
  • Advertising can be targeted at a specific audience based on age, gender, interests and location – and a whole lot more.
  • Facebook lends itself to visually appealing ads, with the potential to go viral.
  • Depending on the type of ad and action of the audience (impression, clicks, likes, video views, or post engagement) minimum daily spend amounts are between $2 and $5.

The challenges of advertising online with Google or Facebook

Both Google and Facebook offer a bewildering amount of advertising features, complex options, and add-ons (extensions, anyone? re-marketing? bidding strategies?) as well as comprehensive dashboards with which to manage advertising campaigns.

Creating and managing effective online advertising campaigns, on either platform, is now a time intensive and highly technical and specialised skill.

To address this need for up-skilling advertisers and marketers, both Facebook and Google offer in-depth courses for those wanting to learn all the ins and outs of each platform’s marketing offerings, and certifications for those who prove they have mastered a high level of expertise.

Struggling? Get the best results with these 4 top tips

Getting the best digital advertising resultsWhether you use Google or Facebook, there are a number of considerations to ensure you achieve the best results from your online advertising:

  • What is your advertising goal, and what do you want to achieve; brand awareness, sales or leads?
  • What audience are you aiming to reach? Where do they live, how old are they etc?
  • What is your daily or lifetime budget for your ad?
  • What is your sales conversion process? What happens when someone clicks on your ad?

The bottom line

As both platforms continually roll out more features and options – and better ROI – the main difference between Google and Facebook is how the platforms themselves are used.

For now? Whether it’s Google Ads or Search Engine Marketing, Google’s monolithic platform remains the ideal solution when you want to capture and then convert warms leads. The kinds of leads you know are actively searching for the products or services your business offers.

If you’re looking for help to maximise the return on your Google Advertising investments, FOUND can work with your business to create a marketing system that increases the enquiries, leads, and online sales you get for your business from prospects who are searching for you and your products on Google.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a great social platform with which to increase brand awareness among your business’s exact demographic while they’re interacting with friends, or sharing with family.

Strategically, both platforms can be utilised throughout the sales journey, so the biggest challenge may not be deciding between Google and Facebook – but determining how to leverage both platforms in your advertising campaigns.

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