Google vs. Facebook Advertising
What’s the Difference?
For years, industry publications, bloggers, and the media have pitted Google and Facebook against each other in a narrative of epic struggle for dominance. As a result, many brands and first-time advertisers feel that the path to advertising and marketing success can only come if they choose the right one. This is especially true for car dealerships and the auto industry, where reaching online leads has become absolutely essential to survival and success.
But the truth is that Google and Facebook aren’t so much offering competing versions of the same thing as they are offering unique, complementary products. When used correctly, both Google and Facebook have something to offer your marketing and advertising strategy— and each one can feed the other with powerful effects.
With that in mind, we wanted to create this quick guide to understanding exactly how Google and Facebook advertising differ— and what it means for your dealership or family of dealerships.
In basic terms, Facebook is a discovery engine that helps you fill-up the top of your marketing funnel, increasing awareness for prospective customers. Meanwhile, Google is an intent-driven search engine built for capturing interest and directing it to your brand.
To put it even more simply, Google helps your business find potential customers. Facebook helps potential customers discover your business.
That said, the differences can seem a bit more subtle than that. That’s why we created this article to help you parse the strengths of each platform. Let’s start with Google.
Understanding Google Ads
One of the reasons comparing Google and Facebook as competitors in online advertising is a false narrative is that it’s really not a competition at all. While Facebook has an impressive 1.5 billion active users, Google receives 3.5 billion searches every day.
As a result, advertising on Google gives you access to the largest collection of potential customers of any source in the world.
The most basic form of Google Advertising is to create a text ad that appears in relevant search results. For example, you might design an ad that appears when users search “car dealerships in Salt Lake City.’ Then, based on your budget and whether Google algorithms think your ad is relevant, it will appear on those searches.
There are also other forms of Google ads, including banner ads on websites, video ads that appear before YouTube videos and other platforms, and more.
Here are some of the main advantages of Google advertising.
As we mentioned above, if potential customers for your business are out there, you can find them on Google. Best of all, you can reach those customers at a time when they’re actively searching for what you have to offer. When the search query terms for your ad are selected carefully and strategically, your ad spend will only go towards reaching people who are already primed to become customers. That doesn’t guarantee they’ll click on your ad and reach your site, but it does mean that they’re the most likely people to do so.
In many instances, marketing and advertising are seen as a numbers game. Whoever has the most money gets to reach the biggest audience.
But when it comes to Google Ads, algorithms determine whether to show an ad not just based on budget, but on the quality and relevance of the ad. That means that Google is more likely to display an ad if they think it’s genuinely what a person is looking for. That helps level the playing field when it comes to dealerships with massive ad budgets— if your dealership is closer to what a search query is looking for, you’ll still land the impression.
Normal, text-based search results aren’t the only format available to you on Google. Your ad can also show up in Google Maps results, reviews, Shopping page ads, and a whole lot more. By taking advantage of multiple formats, you can cast a wider net and increase your chances of reaching car buyers where they are.
Understanding Facebook Ads
Facebook ads reach users in a very different place than Google users. Facebook is a social network, which is why advertising on the platform is often known as ‘paid social’ or ‘social advertising.
This gives you and your dealership a unique opportunity for users to discover your dealership.
Unmatched Targeting Power
Facebook’s audience is truly huge— roughly ⅕ of everyone on earth regularly uses the platform— but you don’t need to reach 1.5 billion people. You need to reach the ones who are most likely to become your customers.
That’s what makes Facebook advertising truly special. When you create an ad, Facebook allows a stunning level of detail when it comes to determining who you would like to see your ad. For example, an advertiser might choose to target only females aged 25-45, who live in Dallas, are interested in pickup trucks, and ‘like’ Ford trucks.
That level of granularity we mentioned above helps you avoid wasted ad spend and only reach those who are primed to become customers. You can set your max daily budget, and set your parameters to ensure that none of it is spent where it’s not needed. That helps make Facebook one of the most cost-effective ways to reach your audience effectively.
Google Advertising vs. Facebook Advertising: The Truth
In the end, the most successful dealerships when it comes to online advertising are those that leverage the power of both Google and Facebook. To do that effectively, you need to have the expertise to manage your budget effectively, target the right leads, and track the analytics of your campaign to update and improve it as needed.