Facebook Ads v. Google AdWords: An Unfair Competition?

In the world of online advertising, there are seemingly only two primary alternatives as far as cost-effective, easy to set up (and maintain) advertising goes: Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. They are the two giants of online advertising, so to speak. Then, of course, there are other alternatives such as Yahoo advertising, Ad Mob, and others. But really, Facebook Ads and Google AdWords are the two main competitors for all of the world’s small (and large) business advertising dollars.

And yet, while Google is earning billions, upon billions of dollars of ad revenue, Facebook is slowly encroaching upon their territory, especially in light of their recent ipo.

But whether or not you actually believe that Facebook is worth the $100 billion that some people claim that it’s worth, understand this: Facebook already has a huge leg up on Google. But which one, for advertisers, is better?

Social vs. Traditional

Over the years, research has shown that word-of-mouth marketing is significantly more effective than any other form of marketing. Basically, getting consumers to talk about your business beats traditional marketing methods 9 times out of 10.

Unfortunately for Google, in that regard, they are still very much stuck in the past. Sure, their search algorithm and AdWords cost-per-click jargon is very much circa-2000, but their advertising model still relies very much on traditional advertising methods. That is, their model of advertising is much less effective than word-of-mouth marketing because it depends upon luring customers into clicking through their own means and motivations. In that regard, AdWords would appear far less effective (and thus slated for a significant decline in future revenue) than Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, have the inherent social quality about them. That is (especially recently), they have begun to rely less on traditional advertising methods, and have instead begun to focus on attracting clicks by showing users what friends of theirs already like the businesses that they are trying to promote. In turn, users that are shown those ads will (in most instances) be far more likely to respond to them.

Qualified v. Mega-Targeted

But then, of course, lies the issue of determining which of the two advertising solutions leads to better results for businesses. And in order to address that, we must explore the under workings of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords to a degree. The name of the game, for Google AdWords, has always been to provide highly qualified, readily prepared to purchase traffic for businesses. In essence, if somebody is searching for a particular product on Google, they are probably ready to purchase.

Facebook, on the other hand, is about building relationships with customers. That means that customers who are viewing ads on Facebook, or engaging with pages of businesses aren’t necessarily committed to buying something. In that sense, Facebook Ads provide far less qualified traffic for most businesses, and therefore probably won’t be (at least immediately) as successful as Google AdWords in increasing revenue. Additionally, Facebook Ads allow you to target people much more specifically. Say, for example, that you want to target people on their birthdays. Frighteningly enough, that’s possible.

So Who Wins?

Ultimately, determining the winner of the ad wars is still an extremely complicated affair. Google AdWords, undeniably, have proven that — for the savvy advertiser — they can drive conversions and thus revenues for the businesses that advertise through their ad platform. Facebook Ads, and thus social networking, on the other hand, hasn’t necessarily proven the same thing in real, quantifiable numbers.

And yet, Facebook Ads still have that very much unquantifiable ‘social’ factor to them. The fact that businesses can reasonably hold onto and influence users that like their Facebook page for years to come undoubtedly has tons of value to a business. Although Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm means that not all users see every, single update, the fact that hundreds, if not thousands do, is already significant enough. People spend a lot of time on Facebook, and the more time they spend, the more likely they are to interact with the businesses that they have chosen to like.

So how to decide? That, too, is a difficult question. The average cost-per-click for Facebook Ads is significantly less than AdWords but, naturally, drives in substantially less qualified traffic that won’t necessarily be in ‘buy mode’. At the same time, through Facebook, you are paying for the staying power and social factors that are inherent within the social network. In essence, you are paying for the future.

Which does your business use?



Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Advertising company specializing in social media marketing, web and graphic design, SEO and much more.