With so many options of where to spend your advertising dollars, it’s important to understand the difference between them. Two of the major marketing channels for small businesses are Google and Facebook, but what’s the difference, and what should you expect out of each? Read on to learn more.
The Difference: User Intent
The biggest difference between Google ads and Facebook ads actually has nothing to do with how their back-end software works, what the ads look like, or how many people use each channel. It has everything to do with the user intent of the people on them.
Simply put, “user intent” is the reason why a person is on Facebook at a particular moment, or why they have brought up the Google search bar on their computer. It answers the question: ‘What is the person on this marketing channel here to do?.” The user intent of someone on Google is vastly different than the person on Facebook and here’s how:
Google: When a person goes to their computer, opens up their internet browser and does a Google search – they’re actively searching for information. They want things like an answer to a question, the location of something, they want to find a product to buy, or perhaps to find someone to provide a service for them. Their “intent” is to find a solution to their problem, and many times that involves spending money on a product or service.
Facebook: When someone goes to their computer and fires up Facebook, they’re looking to see social information about the people they know. They’re not necessarily looking to solve a problem, or find a solution to a question they have, but their desires on this marketing channel are much more casual. Their “intent” doesn’t go much further than to find out what’s going on with other people.
What To Expect
Because of this difference, users on Google are typically a lot further along in the buying process when they’re online. Since they’re actively looking for something, you can bet that very often a product or service in a Google search result fulfills their need. They may be anywhere in that buying process from just beginning to research something, to the point of ready-to-buy-it-now. Either way, this tells us that a Google search results is much more likely than a Facebook ad to produce an immediate sale for a small business.
So why are Facebook ads still popular and what’s good about them? Facebook ads are much more dynamic than Google ads – you’ve got a lot more room for text and you can use powerful images to convey a message and elicit an emotional response to your message. They often come with “social proof” too – which is a significant advantage over most Google ads. An example of “social proof” is when you see a Facebook ad that one of your friends has “liked”, making you more likely to have sentiments of trust toward that advertiser.