Facebook and Google stand out from the crowd when it comes to digital marketing. They were the most used and highest performing ad platforms of 2020—and their usage and performance are only trending upward. In late 2020, we surveyed over 1,000 marketers to collect the data that proves it.
Our research found that 87% of marketers use Google and Facebook equally when it comes to digital advertising. Over 40% of those surveyed reported Google as their top performing ad platform with the highest return on ad spend (ROAS). Facebook followed in second place, with 25% of marketers identifying it as their best driver of ROAS. With these results in mind, it’s clear that both platforms are powerful in their own ways and essential to the success of marketers.
The questions that follow are: What makes them so successful, and when should you use one over the other? Answering these questions will help you make an informed decision on when to use Facebook over Google—and vice versa—and how to improve things such as budget allocation, conversion rates, and more.
What makes these platforms so successful?
Facebook and Google are far from new to the digital marketing landscape. Due to their longtime presence, they’ve gained a depth of backend technology. They also reach customers at pivotal moments in contextual and empowering ways when properly utilized. Furthermore, they prioritize highly relevant content that makes for an effective user experience.
A quick look at Google and Facebook
One of the best ways to track the success of each platform and decide the appropriate use case is by familiarizing yourself with industry benchmarks. One platform may be great for, let’s say, apparel, and the other may be great for finance. Learn more about Google benchmarks and Facebook benchmarks.
When to choose Google
Google is the best platform for high-cost products and retargeting. While the initial cost of Google ads is pricier, the higher price also yields higher conversion rates. Essentially, it’s a better investment for goods and services of greater value. Google Ads also allows you to pick the peak time to display your ads—creating a highly relevant, likely-to-convert experience.
What type of ads should you use on Google?
Google ads are most commonly text-heavy since they appear in Google Search results and Google Maps results. Because of this, it’s important your text is compelling enough to sell your product or service without a corresponding image. Keep in mind that there are character limits when writing paid advertisements for Google. If you don’t follow these limits, your text will be truncated, and your full offer won’t be displayed. Always place the most important information at the beginning of your copy to avoid this dilemma.
When to choose Facebook
Facebook is the most effective platform for low-cost goods and social products or services. Individuals are drawn to Facebook for the social aspect, so this makes sense. Facebook advertisements also tend to be less expensive—which pairs well with low-cost items.
What type of ads should you use on Facebook?
Facebook ads lead with a visual—so your imagery or design must be enticing. This isn’t to say that copy doesn’t matter, but the visual experience generally steals the spotlight. Just like Google, copy that’s longer than Facebook’s character limit will be truncated—so make sure to keep your copy short and put the most important information at the forefront of your ad.
The Facebook character limits are: 25 characters for the headline, 125 characters for ad text, and 30 characters for the description link.
The Google limits are: 30 characters for the headline, 90 characters for the ad text, and 15 characters for the ad path. You can use up to 3 headlines, 2 descriptions, and 2 ad paths—totaling 300 characters.
Even though social networks like Instagram and Twitter have come to prominence in the last two decades, Facebook has some key advantages over Google that continuously power its growth. These advantages span from increased ROAS to more optimized technology. Facebook has 2x the conversion rate of Google and a 30-40% lower cost.
As far as technological advances go, because of Facebook’s historical presence, they have huge caches of user data that inform algorithms. At the end of the day, it may be surprising, but their data model is far more sophisticated than Google’s model.
The downside of Facebook
Though Facebook has some enticing statistics about ROAS, it has its downfalls in other areas. Because it’s a social platform and not a search platform, it has much more competition. Younger audiences are leaving Facebook in favor of Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram, and there’s a perception that the platform is now for older generations. Depending on your audience, that may or may not be a downside, but it is important to remember when deciding on audience segmentation and campaign budget.
Keep in mind that as TikTok and Instagram become more and more prominent, advertising on those platforms will become an essential part of most digital advertising strategies as well.
So, how do you choose?
The question remains: When do you choose Google over Facebook? Analyze industry benchmarks, familiarize yourself with platform restrictions, and keep tabs on your own data. Facebook and Google are both essential to most advertisers, so you need to fully understand how your audience uses each one in order to decide on the best strategy for your brand and resources.
Create optimized landing pages to follow your Facebook and Google ads
Once you have Facebook and Google ads dialed in, the next step is to optimize what happens after the click—the post-click experience. The best way to do this is by creating fully optimized landing pages. Postclick is here to help. We would like to offer you a complimentary analysis of your ad campaigns. We will review your campaigns to analyze your post-click health, compare your site against industry and competitive benchmarks, and identify the most effective opportunities to increase your ROAS. Request your free conversion analysis here.