Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: A Case Where Facebook Wins

by Toby

September 26, 2014

facebook mobile

When thinking about lead generation online Google Adwords is often part of initial discussions for driving leads, and I would say in many cases it’s one of the most effective at lead generation for a number of different reasons. Facebook ads as a tactic generally don’t come up as often in initial conversations. Below we outline in one case the clear difference between Facebook and Google ads. And what is also very apparent is the Facebook ads vs. Google Adwords cost difference.

There are clear and definite situations when the answer to the question, which is better, Facebook ads vs Google Ads? is definitive and that Adwords is just not a viable option.

One of those situations is that you just can’t buy enough relevant keyword traffic in a Google search campaign, or the target customer is too difficult to find in a display campaign.

Perhaps you have a new product or service and nobody is yet searching for it. Or it’s not too uncommon in B-to-B advertising that the search volume for your keywords is just not there, or the traffic is insignificant compared to your goals. Or it could be that the intent of the keywords used by potential customers could mean you’re marketing to either a B-to-C or B-to-B customer and you don’t want to advertise to both segments.

B-to-B Case Study

We recently set up a campaign for a client that provides medical data aggregation products and services with a potential target customer base of 100,000 businesses. However, when we did our keyword research it was clear there was no volume in Google search…almost no relevant keyword traffic volumes for us to buy. One of the largest volume keywords had 170 queries per month, and others were as low as 90 searches per month or less. So if you consider that you’re CTR (click-through-rate) is 3% that’s not going to get it done. And in this case, the campaign was for a public company with a new product and a b-to-b target audience in the U.S. of 100,000 customers – we have to look elsewhere.

But where Google fails to deliver the search traffic that we would need, Facebook can provide plenty.

Enter Facebook’s Job Targeting

One of the target customers for this product and service are small office physicians. So we found an association that catered exactly to this segment on Facebook which has a Facebook page with 39,000+ fans; in addition, the ad targeting in Facebook shows a potential audience of 74,000 people. Now we’re getting somewhere and we’ve found a large and targeted audience to reach – reaching these people using Google Adwords would never have been possible.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Association Targeting
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Facebook Association Targeting

We also found a host of other suitable targets inside Facebook leveraging workplace targeting and job titles, including:

  • American College Physicians, 38,000 people
  • Physician Office Managers, 240 people
  • Office Managers in the Healthcare and Medical Industry, 11,000
  • American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 6,200 people

With this targeting in less than a month we’ve driven 1,325 visitors to the landing page with an average website click cost of $0.71 per click, and reached 31,311 potential customers.

Facebook Ads Website Traffic, Job Targeting
Facebook Ads Website Traffic, Job Targeting

Even if the traffic was available in Google Adwords, from looking at current CPC (cost-per-click) data it would cost anywhere from $5 – $68 per click! Yikes! That’s 7x – 95x more expensive than buying the traffic on Facebook. In this case, Facebook ads vs Google Adwords cost is greatly different.

Cost of Google Adwords Clicks, Traffic
Cost of Google Adwords Clicks, Traffic

 Not All Is Lost With Google Adwords

Once the traffic lands on the landing page we are adding the visitors to our Google remarketing campaign which allows us to serve ads to the customers for months later keeping the brand in front of them and maintaining mind share. Remarketing on both Google and Facebook is a critical tactic to the success of almost any campaign, and even more so when the sales cycle is longer.

So the question of, Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads, which is better? Well, it depends on each case, but if you can’t find the search traffic in Google look to Facebook and consider job and workplace targeting as one option to find and reach your target market.

About the author 

Toby is the co-founder of 39 Celsius. He has over 20 years of digital marketing experience and has started several companies throughout his career. He's an expert in SEO, Social Media Ads, Google Ads, Marketing Automation, and more. He has a BA in Chemistry/Biochemistry from UC San Diego and an MBA from SDSU.

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