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Google vs Facebook

Google and Facebook are competing head to head for our advertising dollar, which is a good thing. It’s a pity that the other channels are so far behind these two behemoths who dominate because of their audience sizes. As a result, both have become expensive, unless you aren’t a mug advertiser, but there certainly differences between the two platforms.

A starting point to consider is the different natures of the two platforms. Google is used by people looking for answers. These answers could be just information or solutions to problems they are experiencing. Facebook, on the other hand, is a place where people go to socialise. So Google users may be searching for people who sell products like yours. The best you can hope for as an advertiser on Facebook is that people are talking about products like yours. More often than not, they aren’t.

Is your product the sort of thing people want to talk about, such as fashion, or do you sell auto parts? Sure, you might find a Facebook group for car fanatics, but the average user will not be talking about auto parts, unlike someone who has just bought this great dress she wants to show off.

So Google gets a head start because people are actively looking to buy what you are selling, whereas on Facebook, you are interrupting people in their socialising. This results in lower click through and conversion rates. Facebook click through rates are between 0.03% and 1%. Google won’t even show your ad if your CTR is less than 0.5% and the average is 2%+.

Facebook does offer better demographic targeting. It knows how old the audience is and what gender, because it’s part of the registration process. Google has to infer this information by search patterns. Relying on stereotypes, women are more likely to be searching for fashion, and men for car parts. Facebook also knows which groups you belong to and what you talk about. Google might glean this information from Gmail accounts, but if you don’t use Gmail or aren’t logged in, it doesn’t know who you are, although it does know where you are googling from and what sites you have visited.

Google lets advertisers know what is on the mind of users right now. You may be a member of a Facebook car group, but you are looking for a plumber, and you live in Townsville, and you want one right now! Google will give you a dozen to choose from, but Facebook will still be showing you ads for car stuff, not top of your mind when your bathroom has just flooded.

The key to Facebook success is precise targeting, and while targeting is important for Google, the keywords people use while actively searching for businesses such as yours is more so. The Facebook process requires more nurturing of the customer, because they aren’t necessarily thinking of your service if they see your ad, unlike Google customers whose intent is to buy.

You don’t have to choose between the platforms, you can advertise on both, but the strategies should be very different. Which platform will you choose and what will your strategy be?

May Your Business Be – As You Plan It.

Dr Greg Chapman – The Profit Whisperer

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