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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Facebook Ad or Google AdWords - Social vs. Search

Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Social vs  Search
I’ve often come across a question whether Facebook ad is better than Google AdWords or vice versa? Different opinion is afloat to address this question. Some favor FB, while many put  their opinion in favor of AdWords

The truth is that you can’t compare ‘Orange with Apple’. Facebook is purely a social networking site while Google is a search engine. The two media differ in their theme, objectives and applications. The prime objective of Google is to facilitate users seeking information on web while Facebook facilitates users connect to their peers and groups. Due to tons of custom apps and high degree of freedom provided to users to perform activities in context of virtual networking, the popularity of the Facebook, as a social networking site, is scaling up high. 

Facebook is more than a social networking site. it’s a framework to develop lots of custom apps that adds value to community users in networking with their peers and groups. On the other hand, Google is horizontal search engine offering no such scope for the development of customized apps on its main product by search users. Search is the holy grail of Google though the company provides API to developers to build apps around other products and customize site search.  

The advertisement model of the Facebook is different from AdWords. Most advertisers perceive AdWords as a purely lead generation tool. And the single most important KPI that matters to Google advertisers is CPA or CPL or Cost per Conversion more than CTR, CPM, Impressions, etc. A business person does not care for Quality Score or any other KPIs, for what matters to him/her is ROI that he/she calculates for X$ spent on advt. and its return. He/she is more interested in knowing the ’GAP’. Higher be the ‘gap’, louder be his/her laugh setting his/her lower lip apart up above from upper lip to create a Gap in between his mouth to swallow more profit and vice versa. He/she purely looks at AdWords from capitalists’ perspective. 

The fact is that many marketers have embraced the belief that Facebook ad has potential to generate leads even higher than Google AdWords @ much lower cost. This implicitly indicates how a marketer holds a quantitative comparison between AdWords and Facebook ad. Let this myth not prevail!  

Facebook is a ‘Social Utility’ and any advertisement across this channel should be looked from social perspective and accordingly advertisers need to calculate  social ROI. The feature-sets and advertisement options in Facebook differ from the options in AdWords. Facebook offers options to advertisers more from ’connectivity’ and social perspectives because, as said above, it’s a social utility. However, Facebook ad may not yield real time conversions as high as Google AdWords yet the former has many advantages if we look it from long term perspective.
  • Facebook ad brings in exposure and helps in build brand 
  • It helps advertisers connect to larger audiences, prospects, customers, and followers   
  • It yields social ROI in long term and may yield real ROI as well
Google AdWords, on the other hand,  has also some advantages if we look at this from short term perspective. 
  • Google AdWords generates leads that meets immediate sales goal 
  • It is a pull-marketing strategy that shortens the ‘sales cycle’ for any leads generated
  • It is a search engine marketing based on ‘keywords’ and  ‘key phrases’ searched by users.
Both have different customer segments and different models. It depends on an advertiser what he/she is looking for. Ideally, an advertiser should have different expectations from these two different channels. The fact is that not all advertisers are alike. Similarly not all digital channels (Facebook ad and AdWords) are alike. Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ad are different digital channels for advertisers to choose from depending on their objectives. The choice is theirs - if they want social advertisement or search advertisement or both?


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