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Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads for E-Commerce: Which Is Better?

By August 7, 2020No Comments

I get this question all the time. It’s also one of the more common decisions a business has either when it starts out to see what platform to use with a thin budget or to really scale. Where should we allocate the budget? Both? Do we focus on one?

FACEBOOK ADS VS. GOOGLE ADS

If you think about it, the reason these platforms are chosen as the go-to ad platforms is because of their traffic. However, they both REALLY differ in the purpose they serve to consumers in many ways, in some ways, they are the same.

As for Google, well…Google is the largest search engine in the world. It’s used to search for information, products, and more.

When it comes to Facebook, it serves a completely different purpose for its intent. Facebook is the largest social platform in the world and is used by consumers to connect with each other. However, over the last few years, it’s taken a different form for all intent and purposes. Facebook also owns Instagram, the largest photography network which is a lot more than that as we know and just as important, whatsapp, the largest chat platform in the world.

INTENT MARKETING VS. DISCOVERY MARKETING

Facebook and Google really differ in the ways I mentioned above, but what makes all the difference in the world for us marketers and business owners alike is when choosing what platform to run ads with, is where we have a better chance at converting a user into a customer.

GOOGLE AND INTENT MARKETING: The reason Google is such a gold mine for marketers and business is because when someone is searching for something, the intent is to find what they are looking for and take action. Specially when it comes to e-commerce, if a customer is looking for a product to buy such as a watch like a Timex Q Reissue, If a customer types that into Google, they are actively searching for that watch with the intent to either get more information of the watch or buy it somewhere.

So, what does this mean? This, in my opinion, gives us the best chance at selling to this consumer as they are on the market actively searching for this watch.

FACEBOOK AND DISCOVERY MARKETING: When it comes to marketing on Facebook, specially for those businesses who aren’t a larger brand or retailer communicating with their consumer base, you’re putting your product out there in the hopes it lures some consumers in. Facebook is an incredible platform for e-commerce businesses but it’s a discovery network. Consumers aren’t there to shop (as of yet) with the intent there is when searching for a product in the search engine.

Keeping on the example of the Timex Q Reissue, let’s say you shift focus to trying to drive traffic to the category page or product page to sell the watch, whether you’re running Facebook ads to Timex fans, your fans, fans of watch lovers, the intent to actually want a specific Timex Q watch, you most likely won’t find on Facebook. This is because no one is going to Facebook to buy that specific watch.

IS THERE A TIME WHERE ONE AD PLATFORM MAY BE BETTER THAN THE OTHER?

Absolutely. While I believe heavily in intent marketing and Google as the default go-to, there are times I would advice to shift focus and budget toward Facebook ads.

Facebook has its pros as I believe its a bit more affordable to market than Google Ads (relatively speaking,) and you can drive more traffic to a product page, or what I would advice, is a content page of the product that has selling points, product reviews and the main reason a customer should buy the product from YOU.

Some of those reasons?

  • Google Ads is too expensive
  • Google Ads is too saturated with competition
  • Google Ads isn’t driving enough traffic to sell the product

WHICH IS MOST COST EFFECT? GOOGLE ADS OR FACEBOOK ADS?

The answer to this question all comes down to what your cost per acquisition or cost per sale will be. The only way to find this out is to run ads on both platform and see what your conversion numbers look like.

WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE? THAT MATTERS.

If your sole objective is to drive sales, I would recommend sticking and focus on Google Ads (this is all in the context if you had to pick one due to budget allocation.) If your goal is to create a top-line funnel of traffic and interest, Facebook is an incredible channel for that and I would probably shift budget there.

TARGETING CAPABILITIES ON FACEBOOK ADS IS BAR-NONE

Without a doubt, there is no platform on the face of the earth with the targeting capabilities that Facebook offers to target consumers. Can it get better? Sure it can. Is there any platform out there better than Facebook to capture a certain audience? Absolutely not. Facebook lets you target with many options such as peoples lives events such as just married, where they work, etc. This is extremely powerful and what makes it the incredible ad platform it is today.

FACEBOOKS USE OF CONVERSION OR TRAFFIC MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE

Again, depending on your goal or objective, Facebook has powerful options such as creating conversion campaigns that the algorithm will optimize the campaign looking for the best chance to convert based on the goal you’re telling the campaign you want. While Google Ads has this in the way of Goal CPA or Maximize Sales, Facebook has a much broader network to work with in my opinion. Having said that, it is still discovery marketing as Google is more on the intent side.

CONCLUSION

Both Facebook ads and Google ads is defiantly where the bulk of your marketing should be and probably is. Depending on your goal and objective, these ad platforms serve in different ways and can both really scale a business. When on a tight budget looking for sales, Google Ads is my go-to, however, the more I have used Facebook over the last two years and you begin to really test different variations of content and you see something work, it can really be scaled in a much larger way and take your business to new heights.

Pablo Palatnik

Pablo Palatnik

Pablo Palatnik is an industry veteran in e-commerce & digital marketing with over 20 years experience. He successfully built and sold businesses; he now serves as the VP of Global E-Commerce for cosmetic dermatology brand DS Laboratories. Pablo is the Founder of Etrend.com.

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