Difference between Facebook advertising and Google Adwords (Search engine marketing)

facebook marketing vs google adwords SEM

Facebook marketing vs Google Adwords SEM

I have $1000. Should I spend it on Google (search engine marketing) or Facebook? This is the most common question that I have heard from the marketing professionals and business owners.

Both Google and Facebook have their advantages and one needs to understand the difference between the two:

Google Search (SEM) Facebook Advertising
The biggest strength of google search is intent driven. This means consumer is actively looking for the product/service. Facebook’s biggest strength is very strong targeting.
Google search is pull marketing strategy, implies consumers want your products. Facebook advertising is push marketing strategy, means brands are pushing their products/services to consumers who might not be aware about the product.
Google search platform is good for targeting consumers when they are showing a buying intent or conducting a research about the product/service Facebook ads are great way to create awareness, interest and desire about your product.
Engagement with customers is not possible With Facebook ads, brands can engage with their customers and prospective customers
Targeting is not possible besides location. (google is testing demographic targeting in search but it is still in beta stage) Strong targeting capabilities implies that you can save your marketing cost by specifically choosing the right audience

One of my clients from the travel category had a requirement to generate around 300 high quality leads every month. On doing research on the demand, I found out Google had 20,000 search queries. So basis the account history with impression share being 70%, CTR being around 8% and conversion rate at 12%, monthly leads came out to be 135. Even though I would have optimized the campaigns and landing page, I could make a difference of 25%. And at the same time competition would have increased their bids too, making this mathematics gone for a toss.

Therefore, we needed to create awareness about the travel offerings, generate curiosity and demand.

We created content around the travel offerings and wrote some blog posts and decided to use this content to create awareness and engage the prospective customers.

Thus, we decided to use Facebook as a platform to distribute this content I did my research on the suitable audience for my client, bids and budgets required to fulfill the additional requirement of leads. We did measure everything- starting from what kind of content goes with what kind of audience to how much of the content is read to profiling of our readers. We optimized not just bids and targeting but also the content.

Finally, within a few weeks of this exercise we started to see healthy influx of leads from Facebook at half the CPL of google adwords (SEM). But we didn’t shift the entire amount of money from Google to Facebook because the leads from Google were hot leads as they were “intent driven”.

Hence, it is important to do proper research and understand what is the business goal that needs to be achieved before deciding how to allocate the budgets.


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