Facebook vs. Google: Where Should Small Businesses Invest their precious ad dollars?

Facebook and Google both grew at a very rapid pace in 2018, with the bulk of the growth coming from their dealings with small businesses. Facebook recently announced it now has over 7 million advertisers on its platform. On top of that, over 85% are small businesses. The question is why – and, as a small business, how do you decide which platform will be best at getting new customers.

Let’s talk about Facebook first…

Facebook – The Undisputed King of Brand Awareness

Facebook and Google are great advertising platform s but are best used in different ways. With Facebook, the name of the game is awareness.

Because of Facebook’s incredibly detailed demographic data, you’re able to get advertising messages in front of very specific audiences. You target people based on age, income, education level, pages they like, schools they went, occupations… the list is near endless.

The only problem with Facebook’s platform is that the people you can reach with it aren’t usually in a “buying mood”. That is, Facebook users typically use the site for entertainment purposes— not retail!

This means ads that work best on Facebook tend to be informational, awareness building ads that educate potential customers about a product. This can be extremely useful for new products that aren’t particularly well known to your market.

But what if you’re selling well known products? Let’s say you’re a local clothing store selling Carhartt boots and flannel; how can you find customers who are already familiar with your products and are ready to buy?

The answer lies in Google. Google Adwords to be specific…

Google Adwords – Finding Eager Customers Since 2000

Almost two decades ago, Google set the gold standard for online advertising by launching their Google Adwords platform. By allowing advertisers to insert sponsored content into users’ search results, marketers were able to do something they’d never before been able to— target customers who are already motivated to buy.

You see, when someone types, “Carhartt boots size 13 Alberta” into Google, there’s a good chance they’re actively shopping for new boots. It’s a very different experience than someone who’s passively scrolling through Facebook, reading memes, and watching another video starring their second cousin’s cat.

What’s more, Adwords allows us to only display ads to users who are in our area. For a local business, this is huge. Especially when you consider that more than 60% of searches are now coming from a mobile device.

By using Google Adwords, a local shopper punching, “Jacket red Carhartt mens L” into their mobile phone can be shown any advertising message you’d like. And the numbers don’t lie— in the last year alone, 76% of customers who searched for a product on their phone visited a local business in a day.

Google Adwords gives us, as business owners, the chance to get our ads viewed at a time when customers are most likely to make a purchase. They’re already searching for our products!

The Verdict

Ultimately, the answer to which ad platform you should use is the age-old (and groan-inducing), “it depends”. If you’re simply trying to build brand awareness or introduce a new product to your customers, Facebook is your best bet.

However, if you want to reach motivated buyers, get the word out about a new promotion, drive searchers through your doors, or simply sell more products— Google should be your go-to.

Some 2018 stats worth noting:



# Users

2.7 billion 2 billion

# Advertisers

7 million 4 million

Quarterly ad revenue

1.69 billion 33.7 billion

% Mobile

93% 71%

Best for

awareness & branding conversion & sales

If you’re ready to start running effective, affordable ads for your business, feel free to book a free call with a member of our team to learn how we can help.

Check out our automated ad platforms for small businesses to see how you can start driving new customers to your business with no technical skill or time on your part. You can focus on your business, while we bring you new customers through targeted ads.

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