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AdWords vs Facebook Ads

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Posted by luke on

It’s a rivalry as old as time (at least, in internet years it feels like a long time) and one that becomes very real once you decide to start using digital advertising.

No matter what kind of business you are running, the situation is always the same:

  • Your budget is limited.
  • You aren’t sure whether to use AdWords, Facebook or both (and how much of each).
  • Every blog is telling you to go in a different direction.

I feel you.

The truth is that there is no clear-cut solution for everyone. Depending on your business size, the type of business you have and your target audience, the best approach can vary. However, a better understanding of both can help you determine what balance is best for you.

What Is AdWords?

AdWords is a text-based ‘pay per click’ advertising platform featured on the Google search engine. AdWords ads respond to keywords from a person’s Google search and displays text-based ads that are related to the search terms.

AdWords ads drive people towards a website, or a purpose-built landing page with more information (usually featuring a call-to-action).

What Are Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads are text, image and video-based ads that appear on the social media platform Facebook. They use the information from users’ profiles (age, gender, location and interests) to target specific ads towards them.

Facebook ads can drive people towards a website, a landing page or a separate ‘lead form’ page within the Facebook platform.

AdWords – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • More viewers than Facebook. Google has more traffic than any other website on the planet (3.5 billion search queries per day).
  • Rewards high quality ads. The quality of your AdWords ad can drive down the overall price of the ad. That is, the price-per-click will be less (due to the ‘quality’ score system used in AdWords).
  • Fast set up. It is quick to set up an AdWords campaign.
  • Additional freedom (recently). Since 2016, the amount of text you can use in your AdWords ad has increased.
  • Choose your budget. You can set the budget of your AdWords ad to ensure that you only spend a certain amount and text before committing to a larger budget.

Cons

  • Wasteful clicks. You pay for every click, regardless of whether the person who clicked it did so by accident, or doesn’t end up purchasing anything. This means that you need to pay extra attention to setting up the campaign correctly to ensure that you reduce the chances of that happening.
  • Can be costly. Certain industries have keywords with higher prices.
  • No images. The ads are limited to text-only.

Facebook Ads – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Your ability to target is very in-depth. Facebook allows you to target viewers based on age, gender, education, interests, behaviours and more. You can also track conversions and filter them by the same criteria for unique insights.
  • Pinpointing. You can pinpoint where someone who has converted first saw your ad and then funnel your ad dollars into that resource accordingly.
  • Optimisation. Facebook automatically optimises your ads and prioritises the best-performing ones first. You also have the ability to split-test ads and see which performs better.
  • Additional characters. More space for text than AdWords.

Cons

  • More complex to use than AdWords. There are a lot of elements that can be altered on a Facebook ad, which can complicate things.
  • Can be restrictive. When creating photo or video-based ads, there is a rule that only 20% of the picture is allowed to have text on it. This can be tricky when you want to post a photo that requires additional text.
  • Time consuming. Many people heavily underestimate the amount of time it takes to properly set up, manage and optimise your Facebook campaign. It takes effort to do it properly and if you just ‘set and forget’, you risk wasting leads and money in the long run.

Which Platform Should I use?

In all seriousness, there isn’t a real ‘rivalry’ between AdWords and Facebook ads. They are both tools to help you grow your business, so the ideal situation is to utilise a combination of both platforms in your advertising efforts.

A good way to determine how much money and time to allocate to each platform is to set aside a small ‘test budget’ to each and see how they perform. This can be as little as $20 (however it may need to be increased for AdWords depending on the price of the keywords).

Once you can see the performance of both, then you can decide where to allocate your funds. You may find that one form is significantly more effective than another and that what is best for your business is to funnel 100% of your advertising funds into one platform.

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