In the grand scheme of things, online advertising is a relatively new development in the world of marketing. And being that this technology is fairly new, few people fully understand how Facebook and Google advertising really work. However, it won’t stop everyone from telling you which platform is better.
It’s human nature for people to oversimplify that which they don’t fully understand. Some of the time, it’s because they truly think they’ve finally gotten to the bottom of this unpredictable thing called digital marketing. It’s also partly because they’re insecure and want to seem smarter than they really are.
Recognize that online ads are just tools
‘Tool’ is a very broad term, and can be used to describe many things. The word tool (noun / to͞ol /) is defined as any device or implement, especially one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function. A paintbrush is a tool and so is a pencil.
But just because you can’t hold something in your hand doesn’t mean it’s not a tool. For instance, a literary device, such as listing a word’s definition, is a kind of tool. Even though it’s not something that can be held in your hand, it’s a device that is used to carry out a particular function, which in this case, is usually to sound smarter than you really are.
If you asked an artist which is a better tool to use – a pencil or a paintbrush – they would think that you just asked them a very silly question. The answer to that question depends on what you hope to accomplish. And only an idiot would try to argue that one of these tools is inherently ‘better’ than the other.
Facebook and Google ads are just tools. And the platform you choose depends entirely on what you hope to accomplish with a particular ad campaign. One platform is not inherently better than the other.
Facebook Ads are your paintbrush
If you wanted to cover a blank canvas with paint (for the sake of this analogy, just pretend this is one of those avant-garde pieces of art that everyone pretends to like so they seem like they “get it” in front of their snooty friends), you wouldn’t use a pencil – it would take too long, and you’d probably go through too many pencils trying to finish it. You’d use a paint brush.
If the paint is your brand, and the canvas is your audience, Facebook Ads are your paintbrush. Facebook ads are generally going to be the vehicle you use to create brand awareness about your products for a relatively low price. They allow new customers to find your business.
Another advantage of using a paintbrush is that it covers more real estate on the canvas than say, a pencil. You can sometimes accidentally cover more ground than you thought you would without having to buy more paint. Facebook is similar in that users can share, like and comment on your ads. This allows them to reach more potential customers for free. With Facebook Ads, you get more bang for your buck and can find people whose interests, which they’ve willingly (*wink*) given to Facebook, coincide with your products.
Google Ads are your pencil
If you wanted to draw a straight line to specific parts of a piece of paper, you’d probably use as pencil. It’s very difficult – maybe even impossible to draw a perfectly straight line with a paintbrush.
For more precise campaigns intended to create conversions, Google is generally the platform you want to use. Similar to a pencil, Google Ads are for deliberate, intentional strokes. They allow you to find new customers. Google is where you’ll reach customers who are actively seeking out your product and are ready to make a purchase.
Do you know what can be really beautiful? Instead of only using a pencil or only a paintbrush to create an image, you can actually combine both elements. Of course, there’s no right answer to how much you’ll use one or the other. It all depends. If you’re drawing a realistic image of a bowl of fruit, you’re going to need a lot of hard, deliberate lines and curves to emphasize the details, merely filling in the detailed images with paint when you’ve completed the drawing. If you want to create a magnificent, colorful sun setting on a beach over two people from a far-away perspective – it’s going to take a lot of paint to capture the colors and maybe just a bit of pencil to draw the tiny people.
Similarly, your audience and budget will dictate how you choose to allocate your ad funds.
If you’re rolling-out a brand-new product that only you and your business partner know about, you’ve got to inform folks that it’s out there. Create awareness on the cheap using Facebook Ads and then retarget to people who’ve showed interest in your new product using Google Ads.
If your brand is well-known and you already have folks knocking down your door to get their hands on your products – hit them where they’re searching for you: on Google. Then, supplement that AdWord money with a bit of Facebook spend to stay relevant and drive even more new business.