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Facebook Ads vs. Google Adwords: Which is Better for Local Business?
Deciding where to place online ads for local search can be confusing and complicated. Find out whether Facebook or Google is better for your business.
Ali J. Taylor Oct 3, 2017
No matter how much money you have in your budget for social media marketing, maximizing your advertising spend is your primary goal. Choosing the best channel to focus your marketing dollars can mean the difference between an effective campaign and a dismal return. Of course, the channel isn't the only factor that affects your marketing success, however, channel selection plays a significant role in the outcome of an online marketing campaign. When your campaign focuses on driving local business to your company, how do you decide which channel to use? Let's look at two popular channels to compare effectiveness for local business, Facebook ads, and Google Adwords.
Before beginning this discussion, it is important to consider how you are strategizing your marketing. In this discussion, let's assume that you have done your homework and know who your target persona is for this campaign. You have already done the research to determine as many details as possible about your target including how they behave online. That research is a key component on selecting your marketing channel. Knowing how your audience derives their information from the internet is important. Does your demographic spend time on Facebook or do they think Facebook is frivolous or dangerous? If your ideal customer searches for information on Google but thinks Facebook is a waste of time, your decision is made. Using Facebook ads is a waste of time no matter how many SEOs tell you it is a popular platform. If your prospects spend little to no time on Facebook, they will never see your ads.
Google Adwords for Local Business
There are several benefits when advertising on Google for local business. Google has focused on local search for the last few years, developing and expanding their search technology to work with mobile devices. With the advances in smartphones and tablets, many mobile users search for businesses "near me" or in a local zip code or city. In fact, searches have become more localized as more people learn to fine-tune their search queries. You can see how this works best when traveling to a location that you are unfamiliar with. If you are looking for a restaurant, you will input a query such as "Mexican restaurants near me" or "Mexican restaurants in Monmouth County, NJ." These searches result in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that offer local restaurants that you can drive to in a few minutes.
Another benefit of local search on Google is Google Maps. Google Maps is often used for GPS directions when searching for a local business. When people are unfamiliar with the company they are looking for, GPS is how they find it. You can post ads within search results on Google Maps that will show up when prospects search for your industry.
If Google is so great, then why is advertising on Facebook popular? Facebook has become popular because if your audience likes Facebook, then the platform has excellent targeting software. Facebook has created software that can customize ad targeting by user interests, behavior, location, age or all of these categories. Facebook makes it easy to place an ad, select various target categories, test the ad and tweak it until you get the results you want. The catch to this targeting is that if your ideal prospects don't use Facebook, all the wonderful technology will not help you reach them.
This issue is why developing personas for your campaign is so important. If you are trying to reach retired male physicians, there is a good likelihood that they are never on Facebook. However, if you are targeting retired teachers, you will have different results.
When your audience is on Facebook, advertising on the channel can produce excellent results. Facebook ads give you a lot of leeway in narrowing down where you want ads to appear which now includes Instagram, call-to-action links, and wording. You only need to spend $1 a day to test an ad, so you can tweak it before ramping up your spend.
Using Both Channels
If you are like most businesses, you will try both channels to determine which one works best for your ads. You may find that each channel produces good results for different types of local ads. Both Facebook and Google are easy to use on mobile devices and have multiple choices for how you market. As you consider all of your options, remember to think about who you are working to reach.
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