Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Where to Start?
For immediate marketing results, it doesn’t get much better than paid advertising. Paid ads can put you directly in front of your target audience, and they make it easy to track your marketing dollars, allowing you to understand exactly what kind of returns you’re getting on your investment.
The decision to jump into the paid advertising pool, however, is just the first step. For most businesses, the major decision will be where to put your ad dollars: Google Ads or Facebook Ads?
Start in the Middle
Different platforms work better for different businesses, and it’s difficult to know which platform will best reach your audience until you try them both. For that reason, we recommend that you start by splitting your paid advertising budget — however big or small it may be! — fifty-fifty between Google and Facebook.
Set up ad campaigns on both platforms and get a feel for the tools and functionality associated with both. Resist the temptation to decide which you prefer based on the usability of the interface, however. While that isn’t irrelevant, what really matters at the end of the day is dollars and cents: Which platform gives you a better return?
Judge the Results
When you first start out on both Google and Facebook Ads, you’ll want to manage your bids manually so you can make tweaks on the fly as you learn what works and what doesn’t. As you refine your target keywords and build your volume, however, eventually you’ll want to hand the reins over to the platform through their respective automated bidding strategies.
With an automated bidding strategy, you designate your maximum budget and the platform will adjust your bid to give you the best chance of winning over your competitors.
Using an automated bidding strategy allows you to see just how low your costs-per-lead can go. It will also allow you to take advantage of the ever-evolving algorithms behind the platform, including the more intelligent query matching trend that we’re seeing from Google or Facebook’s campaign budget optimization. As the platforms’ algorithms improve, they can simultaneously reduce the amount of time you need to spend on optimization and expand your reach. Better results with less work? Sounds good to us.
To the Winner Go the Spoils
After giving your ad campaigns a chance to run with the automated bidding strategies on both Google Ads and Facebook Ads, the wealth of metrics available on the two platforms will allow you to see which one is truly generating the highest quality leads at the lowest cost. As one outperforms the other, slowly start shifting your budget towards the best performing platform to maximize your results.
You may find that all of your ad campaigns do better on one platform or the other, or you may find that certain ones perform better on Google while others do better on Facebook. By testing both platforms from the beginning, you’ll be able to discover the nuances of your audience and get the best of both worlds.
Hedge Your Bets
Another reason to put ad budgets on both platforms is simply to hedge your bets and mitigate risks.
Not long ago, one of our big clients had their Facebook Business Manager account suspended for no reason at all. This was a major disruption for their business. We didn’t even know if or when the account would be restored. We had to reallocate budgets on different platforms while trying to replicate all of their campaigns all from scratch in a new Facebook Business Manager account.
Having campaigns running on both Google and Facebook gives you the opportunity to quickly redeploy the budget and keep the ad machine wheels turning.
Of course, no ad campaign is ever static. To continue maximizing your ROI, you’ll want to continue refining and iterating your campaigns on both platforms. Remain flexible as the marketing winds shift and adapt as trends and audiences change. If you are promoting a mobile app, for instance, you might wish to explore other paid channels, too. You also may reach a point when competition drives down the profitability of paid ads in a race to zero, and you’ll need to think about other strategies — like branding and content marketing — to continue reaching your audience.
Paid ads can get you a long way, though, and Google and Facebook Ads are the two best places to start. Want some help in setting up your own paid advertising strategy? Reach out to our experts and fast-track your way to PPC success.