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Shoestring budget: Facebook Ads vs. Google AdWords

Which one you should choose for your business – or is this a necessary choice at all?

You’re running a small business and you want to benefit from the hot topic in the last few years –targeted online advertising. But you’re confused about which instrument you should use so that you achieve the most efficiency for your money. Shoestring budget sounds familiar, right?

So, you start googling the problem and you read tons of different articles about which way to advertise; which online channel you should use; how to create your eye-catching ad; how you must experiment with different pictures, different words, different channels and you must see which one works for you etc. But you don’t really have money to spend on experiments; neither have you the time to find out what the most effective way of advertising for your business is. Let’s see which one of the most popular ways of advertising online to a targeted audience is more suitable for you.

The two big players in this “ads market” are Google and Facebook – The Search Engine and The Social Network. It’s certain that the majority of your potential clients or the people you want to reach with your ads are using them both. The big difference is the distinct state of mind they have when using them – and this is determined by the different purposes these two sites have. So you need to decide in which state of mind you want your audience to see your ad – which depends on the purpose of your campaign. For example, people are more likely to become customers when they’re searching in Google for the best dental clinic for implants in Boston, than when they see a similar ad in Facebook while looking through the pictures of their cousin in Australia.

What do Facebook Ads and Google AdWords have in common?

The advertising platforms of Google and Facebook have some fundamental similarities. Both of them can be used to reach a massive number of potential customers. The ads can be targeted based on different parameters and everything in the ad can be managed in real time – depending on the effectiveness and the purpose of the advertiser. Both channels are primarily PPC (Pay Per Click) channels: the price of the ads depend on the CTR (Click Through Rate) and is very dynamic.

What are the differences?

In Facebook you target people based on their interests – who they are, what they like, what they do, where they go. Customers use Facebook most of the time to communicate with their friends and family, to engage with their favourite actors, bands, sportsmen, brands etc. They’re not in Facebook to buy something or to find the best way to solve their problems. These things they search for in Google.

In Google you target people based on their interest at the very moment. This is a strong benefit, if used the right way – you can reach them at the right time, when they’re trying to find the best solution, lead them to your product really easily and you can convert them into one of your customers very quickly. But demographical targeting is much better in Facebook. And you can’t have the social effect in Google (or it’s not so strong since the +1 button isn’t so popular yet). On the other hand, you can use your Facebook fans in the future. Your Facebook page combines your customers and potential clients at one place – every time you need to say something to them, they’re there for you. It’s like your private advertising channel solely for people that you’re interested in.

“And what about the price?” you will ask. Advertising in Facebook or Google is a dynamic process and prices vary a lot. Normally the average CPC (Cost Per Click) in Facebook is two to three times lower than in Google. You can reach a larger audience in Facebook – for the same CPC. The more general the search item in Google, the more expensive it is. And the more ineffective this advertising is.

In fact, Facebook ads are better when you want to deliver a specific message to a well targeted audience or when you want to build brand awareness. Google AdWords are better when you want to reach customers who want to buy right now. You see the efficiency, in terms of sales, from Google in a shorter period of time than from Facebook.

Which one should I choose?

The big question is not “Should I use Facebook Ads or Google AdWords?” The big question is “What is my purpose with this marketing campaign?” You should really determine:

  • what are you trying to sell and to who,
  • when are you trying to sell it (here and now or in the future),
  • are you trying to sell anything at all at this moment or
  • do you want to build brand awareness or loyalty in your existing customers
  • or do you just want to deliver a message to a specific group?

When you answer all of these questions, you’ll understand which channel you should use – and why not use them both to increase the efficiency of your online marketing?

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