Facebook vs. Google Adwords – The Pay Per Click Debate

July 27, 2011 | by

For many years Google Adwords has dominated the pay per click market. However with Facebook now holding its place as the most visited site in many countries (and the second most visited in many others) Google has found a worthy rival.

Today, using Facebook as a means of paid advertising is becoming increasingly popular; but can it take the crown from Adwords as the ultimate form of pay per click advertising?

Below I explore the advantages and disadvantages of both advertising forms; however there is no clear winner. If you need more advice in order to pinpoint whether Facebook or Google suits your business needs better, you may find the expertise and knowledge of an online marketing company, or specialist pay per click agency very valuable.

The first point to consider is: do Facebook’s users actually want to buy anything?

The short answer is no. While people are browsing Facebook they are not there to buy anything. They might be talking to their friends, spying on an old partner or playing a game – whatever they’re doing their intent is not to spend money.

But this doesn’t mean they can’t be enticed to.

On the other hand, Adwords is designed entirely to target people with intent to buy. This should mean, in theory, that your conversion rate will be much higher from your Adwords campaign than it will from a Facebook advertising campaign.

Yet this isn’t always true.

A little bit of research will reveal that many companies who have carried out campaigns using both avenues simultaneously have attained a higher conversion rate from their Facebook campaigns.

How’s that possible, if people on Facebook aren’t ‘looking to buy’?

Although there’s no way to know for sure, the most likely reason is due to targeting. Google Adwords allows you to target keywords. Facebook allows you to target people.

Facebook enables companies to be very specific with regards to the people they wish to see their adverts. For instance, you could choose to target men older than 25, who are in a relationship and like holidaying in the Caribbean. Only people who specify this information within their profile and personal information will see your advert.

Google does store information on its users from the searches they make and the sites they click on. However, the information contained within a Facebook profile is much more accurate and straight forward if you are trying to target a very specific market.

But won’t Adwords be cheaper?

One more point for Facebook – its cost per click frequently undercuts an equivalent advert on Google (for the time being).  However, with both forums, the more specific you choose to be with your target audience or your keyword selection, the less you will pay each time a potential customer clicks on your ad.

If you choose to employ an online marketing company or a dedicated pay per click agency you can be reassured that your cost per click will be kept as low as possible.

Can I include pictures in my advertisements?

You can on Facebook. This is another great advantage since people will unwittingly notice an attractive image out the corner of their eye, while the most amusing, enticing and well-written advert in the world may go unseen.

Can’t I just use both?

Of course. Google Adwords might attain fantastic results for one company while Facebook falls flat on its face, and for a company in a different industry, vice versa.

The only real way to ascertain which medium is best for your company is through trial and error.

If you don’t think you have the knowledge to run a pay per click campaign successfully, it might be a good idea to seek the help of an online marketing company or pay per click agency. The right company will be able to make sure you’re using the right keywords, targeting the right audience and getting the best value for your money at every step of the campaign.

This article was written by Amy Fowler on behalf of Boom Online Marketing. Boom are a renowned online marketing company and pay per click agency who also offer other services such as social media campaign management.


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