Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords

SMS Text

Do You Really Have To Build A Fan Base?

Not sure about building a fan base on Facebook? Facebook advertising straight to your website is not necessarily wrong. Maybe you aren’t prepared to invest thousands of dollars to build a fan base, or the audience-building step won’t help your business.

To be sure, Fan Pages are one of Facebooks most unique and powerful opportunities, and it’s important to be open to the benefits of owning your audience. It’s like a public email list with more word of mouth power. I’d challenge you to think of how this could take your marketing processes to another level.

But if audience-building isn’t for you or really does not fit your business model, there’s nothing wrong with treating Facebook advertising as a new, powerful, cheap source of website traffic.

Facebooks Ads vs. AdWords Ads

The Facebook ad creation process is different from AdWords. You target people’s interests rather than their search phrases. You’re targeting people based more on who they are than on what they’re looking for right now. These people may be a bit higher up the sales funnel, unless you control that in the ad copy.

This important difference has pro’s and con’s….

Facebook Surfers Do Convert

On the con side, with the Facebook ad audience, you may not get a sale right away. You don’t know if they want what you offer right now. But there’s no proof that they are any less likely to enter their email and become market of your email marketing funnel. I’ve personally seen lead form conversion rates on Facebook traffic equivalent to search traffic.

And let’s not get carried away. Despite Social Media guru admonitions that, when socializing, people are turned off by hard-selling, Facebook advertising clickers aren’t aliens or deeply opposed to capitalism. Because 50% of the U.S. is on Facebook (just over 60% of all those who are online), these are much the same people you find with AdWords; they’re just in a different frame of mind.

But be reassured, I’ve also seen sales from Facebook traffic when the incentive is right.

Target WHO They Are, Not WHAT They’re Looking For

If you know your prospects, you can get to know their psychographics.

  • What kind of TV shows do your prospects watch?
  • What kind of music do they like?
  • What things do they like that are similar to or associated with your offerings?

If you get the interest targets right, you can reach a much larger audience of prospects on Facebook than you can on AdWords. The problem with trying to reach larger audiences with AdWords is that the more general your search term, the more expensive the clicks can be, and also the more likely it is your low CTR causes quality score issues that increase cost or prevent your ads from even showing.

Facebook advertising uses the same inverse relationship between CTR and CPC, but the average CPC is much lower, about 1/3rd of AdWords’ average CPC.

  • Great CTR’s yield incredibly cheap clicks
  • Average CTR’s still yield clicks that are cheaper than AdWords average CPC.

This is great news, because AdWords’ average CPC has climbed to levels that are unsustainable for many businesses. If we’re fortunate, a movement of ad spend to Facebook will force AdWords CPC’s back to more reasonable levels.

And you can demographically target your Facebook ads with much more accuracy. AdWords offers demographic bidding, but only on the Content (Display) Network, not on all sites, and the demos for these sites are generalized. Demographics for Facebook ad impressions are exact, down to the person. You can test your ads for different age groups and find drastically different CTR’s and CPC’s.

And let’s not forget geographic targeting – although Facebook advertising doesn’t have the funky polygon targeting of AdWords, it has the ability to target cities, states/province, and countries.

What’s The Best Way To Start With Facebook Ads?

If you’re new to Facebook advertising, here are a few ways your business can get started:

1a. Direct Marketing with a Facebook Special: Run a test with a great offer exclusive to the Facebook audience. This should be a deal focused on getting you some immediate sales. I’ve seen this work for a number of clients that have done it well. If that doesn’t work, move to…

1b. A Psychographic List-Building Ad: Send them to a landing page focused on getting their email. Use an email marketing series to warm them up and educate them for eventual sales. If you can, make sure these prospects are marked in your email database as Facebook-sourced traffic so you can audit your results later. Even better, use a separate list with an autoresponder series. I use Aweber for this.

2. Straight Traffic Augmentation. You may be accustomed to limiting your AdWords traffic volume based on $1.00 – $3.00 CPC’s. But if you could get well-targeted Facebook clicks for $0.50, how much traffic would you want? Use your web analytics to track conversion results for Facebook traffic. Keep in mind that if the sales cycle for your Facebook people is longer than your analytics cookie (usually 30 days), you may not be able to attribute the sales to Facebook. If you can set your cookies to 90 days or more, consider doing so.

Why Facebook Ads Now?

The most important point to consider right now is that Facebook traffic is 1/3rd the cost of AdWords traffic. We don’t know how long it will stay this cheap. Also, not that many people are doing it well. Competition is not very strong. This is exactly the right time to get in and take advantage of it.

Photo credits: Detour sign Chris Dlugosz, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-Only License

Brian Carter
Brian is author of The Like Economy: How Businesses Make Money With Facebook and Facebook Marketing: Leveraging Facebook's Features For Your Marketing Campaigns, How to Get More Fans on Facebook, and LinkedIn For Business: How Advertisers, Marketers and Salespeople get Leads, Sales and Profits from LinkedInBrian has 12 years experience as a freelance consultant and digital marketing agency director. His hands-on business experience, cutting edge insights, background in improv and stand up comedy culminate in a keynote speaker, and social media trainer who leaves every audience not only entertained, but armed with powerful strategies and tactics.
Brian Carter
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • http://www.bigjobsboard.com Steve Jobs

    I had not tried Facebook ads yet as I am monitoring how ads are displayed on my account. It seems a lot of ads go astray on my account as I see ads that are not on my forte. Since you had explained that it is based on my likes and probably on some other factors, I still don’t see why some ads are displayed on me that just doesn’t suit me personally.

    • http://briancarteryeah.com/ briancarter

      I’ve seen the same thing – ads that clearly could have been targeted better. Basically, because a lot of people are doing a bad job… (just think how many people are still doing AdWords poorly, and this is much newer). And some ads are targeted much more widely than they will be in the future because of FB’s affordability.

  • http://www.spiceupyourblog.com/ Paul Crowe

    I recently used facebook ads to promote a fan page and found it cheap and easy but i guess it comes down to what your selling 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Seems like a pretty good breakdown you have there.


  • http://www.marketingrecruitmentagency.com Marketing Recruitment Agency

    I think much depends on who you are targetting – I think if you are B2B then Adwords has to be the sensible option but certainly B2C is a great deal more difficult to choose. With good analytics you can easily run a trial on both for a month and see what your conversion is.

  • http://twitter.com/Bill_Sebald Bill Sebald

    Test boosting engagements with reveal code.

  • http://www.optimizingengine.wordpress.com Kiran Bista

    Facebook is a new platform for online marketing and of course an easy way to create a fan base yet its cheaper and easily accessible to everyone because facebook has become like “where there is internet there is face book” so i think its a great relief especially for those small online businesses that can’t launch big funds for marketing.

  • http://websitetrafficz.com WebsiteTrafficz

    Nice informational article… thanks

  • http://www.mazakaro.com Rahul @ MazaKaro

    from what i see , i just think facebook was not first of all made for those purposes so i find facebook wont be better than adesence , still trying it wont be a bad idea to watch personnelly , thank you about the informations !!!

  • http://twitter.com/EssEEmily Emily

    You are right on when you say not many people are doing it right. It blows my mind because it is so simple!
    My B2C company has built a huge fan base using FB Ads. Currently I’m running an ad targeting people who are fans of our biggest competitors and it’s been great.
    Now the challenge is converting those fans to customers…which I am convinced will happen down the road.

  • Jessedictor

    While its clearly better at targeting, all the rest of the information on here seems misleading if not just straight wrong. They are better at doing different things- when you look at his chart, it seems like facebook is 100% better, when its not. You have no control over the costs, infact, when you check from day to day, there cost projection is different for the exact same thing. You can’t really get below fifty cents a click, either, but you can get it per 1k impressions (at a rate cheaper then youtube).

    I feel like this article was pumped out and I really get the feel he barely knows what he is talking about or is working for facebook to sell ads. I work at advertising everyday and what he is saying just is not real.

  • http://twitter.com/imperiozseo Rogersmith

    google adwords is also an effective way for advertising any site..even though compare to facebook..
    seo usa | seo europe | seo canada

  • http://www.thelostagency.com/ David Iwanow

    Hmm… i know i haven’t had much luck with client campaign results from Facebook ads even thou they are sometimes 40x cheaper the quality seems to be questionable. But one of the cool ideas talked about in the past was to use Facebook ads to drive branding campaigns or better yet to a landing page to attach remarketing cookie to them for your AdWords campaigns to target. You now can build a demographic/psycho-graphic campaign based around Facebook users…

  • http://www.clickprefect.com/ Clickprefect

    Facebook is a new platform for online marketing and of course an easy way to create a fan base yet its cheaper and easily accessible to everyone because facebook has become like “where there is internet there is face book” so i think its a great relief especially for those small online businesses that can’t launch big funds for marketing.

  • http://www.eurekaengine.com James Sandberg

    I liked the article but I beleive that Facebook is more of a challenge to convert people than search engines. On search engines people are in ‘information retreival’ mode whereas on Facebook, people are in ‘connect and engage with my friends’ mode. On that basis, putting a message advertising power tools to people when they are LOOKING for a power tool is more powerful than broadcasting a message about power tools to people who have tacitly mentioned power tools within their Facebook profile.

  • http://www.discoverlebanon.com William MATAR

    For me I tried both Google Adwords and Facebook ads. I got much better result with Google Adwords . I still now give 75 percent for G ADS and 25 percent for F Ads when i begin a new campaign.

  • Sabina

    With Facebook, the ROI depends on what you are selling. I was promoting a mobile beauty service, no return on Facebook. I then promoted a psychic service, no return on Adwords and a lot of orders from Facebook. It depends on the nature of the merchandise or services. I think fashion items do great on Facebook, since it’s visual….like passing a street with stores, and some items catch your eye. Adwords is way overpriced, I will use it only as a test for SEO, it adwords performs, then I must invest in SEO

  • http://www.icominstitute.com/ ICOM Institute

    Comparative to Google adwords with Facebook advertisements. i would still suggest Google Adwords because it has better R.O.I. Why Not? After all its Google’s Marketing. High Conversions and Easy to Access User Interface. Well Rest is depends on your product that what kinda marketing you are looking for ? i am not against facebook marketing my only recommendation is Adwords because of better ROI.
    and Thanks for the great article !