As we help clients build their businesses, I often get questions around which ad platforms should be used.
When it comes to paid ads, there are dozens of different platforms. By far the most common (and often most powerful) are Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.
But there’s often confusion on when to use which service.
When do I use Facebook Ads? When do I use Google AdWords?
As each of these platforms is powerful and can drive real sales when used properly, I’ll do my best to simplify.
Google AdWords is the platform run by Google (duh!). The most common type of ads users see are search based ads. These are ads that show up when you use Google to search for a product, service, or just general information.
For example, take a look at this screenshot. When I search for “plumbers in austin tx” I see the following ads.
These are all search based ads. The ads are shown based upon the keywords you are searching against.
When to Use Search Based Ads:
Search based ads are incredibly powerful because we know the intent of the user searching. We’re no longer guessing at the demographics or interests, but we know in a moment what they are looking for.
This allows us to provide them with the right information at the right time to meet a need. In the case above, I’m probably looking for a plumber because I need a plumber. I have a need right now, and I’m looking to get that need met.
So you’ll want to use search ads when:
* You want to target people based on their intent
* You want to give them what they want in the moment that they want it
One downside of using search ads is that you’ll likely pay more per click than a similar campaign on Facebook. But (when done well), you’ll likely get a higher conversion rate as well.
Note: There are many other types of ads on the Google platform. They have in-app ads, display ads, Youtube video ads, and that’s just scratching the surface. Each of these is used in a different way depending on your needs, but that’s too much to cover here.
So if you use Google Search Ads to target intent, when do you use Facebook ads?
Facebook ads are used to target people based upon their interests and demographics.
That may sound simple and maybe even boring, but when used properly, it’s POWERFUL.
Because it’s not just the interests the people “like” on Facebook. Facebook collects interests based upon what people comment on, share, and interact with.
They don’t just learn about your interests from “liking” a post, but they learn about your interests from your behavior.
That means Facebook knows a ton about most people. There’s a good chance it knows a ton about your customers too. In fact, they probably know your interests better than most of your friends!
When to Use Facebook Ads:
So when is a good time to use Facebook ads?
First, if you have a product or service that customers may be interested in, but they may not be searching for in Google.
An example would be an online course. Perhaps you want to engage people who have an interest in learning PHP programming.
Sure, they may search for that, but many times you can generate interest by just being in front of people who are interested in programming or WordPress.
Or perhaps you sell products. Maybe you have necklace shaped like a border collie. You can get your product in front of people who like border collies.
They may never think to actually search for a border collie necklace, but you can influence their decision by getting the product in front of them.
You can also group people into “custom audiences” based upon their interests and their actions.
This means you can upload your whole email list and target those people with ads.
Or you can create different ads for different interests groups.
You’ll want to use Facebook ads when:
- You have a product that interests a specific group of people
- You want to target groups of people by demographics and interests
- You want to create custom audiences based on your needs
Which one is the right platform for you?
The truth is, the right platform depends on the goals you set and the funnel you build. If you have a killer marketing funnel setup, each of these ads can work. But the ads must be part of a broader marketing effort. But knowing which ad platform to use is a good first step.