Facebook Advertising – Purchase Intent Or Branding

I’m a social media manager, and I think that Google Ads advertising is more effective than Facebook. There…I said it.  While other social media managers plot my imminent demise, I’ll use these last few minutes of my life to explain why.

Actually, despite our tendency to do it anyway, we probably shouldn’t be comparing Google Ads and social media in such a traditional sense.  Facebook provides really in-depth targeting options, and as a result, we tend to think that Facebook leads are qualified leads from keen potential buyers.

In my opinion though, this is simply not the case.  But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be advertising on Facebook.  Facebook advertising can be very effective.  Provided you understand it, and the audience.

How Google Ads Works…

Let’s start off by taking a quick look at the essence of Google Ads, and how it works for the advertiser.

Simon is looking for a new guitar, and after looking in his local music shop he decided to browse online. He searches for the exact guitar he’s looking for and two adverts from different suppliers display, telling Simon that they both have his product.

He clicks through to both websites and completes a form on each site, making him a lead for both advertisers.  He ends up purchasing his guitar from one of them.

In this case, Google Ads performed perfectly and both companies can be completely happy with their advertising. Why do I say that?

Well, when Simon first started looking, at his local music store, the two advertisers were not even in the running to achieve a sale from him. His decision to look online for a specific guitar brought Google Ads into play, giving both advertisers the chance to put their offer in front of him, and one of them ended up with the sale.

That was a great result for the advertiser who got the sale, but even for the one who didn’t, it gave them the opportunity to get their product in front of a potential customer.

Compared To Facebook…

Now let’s take a look at Facebook Advertising.

We all know that Facebook is a huge platform where people take time to either step into someone else’s shoes and see how they’ve been living, or catch up on friends or family.

When you show an ad to someone on Facebook, you’re essentially intruding into their personal space.  Browsers are not really looking to buy anything between Cat memes and another picture of a friend’s new baby…car seat.

As such, what Facebook advertising should really be used for is as an introduction to your company and your products.  Expecting to gain qualified leads and ready-to-spend buyers right away from ads that have been delivered to them between personal posts and pictures of new babies is probably a bit unrealistic.

The Google Ads Scenario On Facebook

Let’s go back to the original scenario we were looking at for Google Ads, and imagine it playing out on Facebook instead.

If one of those advertisers had served Simon an ad on Facebook months before be started looking for a new guitar, Simon might have liked the suppliers’ ad, and engaged with the their page.

Continued activity from the page would appeal to Simon’s interests, and he would have been likely to check with that particular supplier before resorting to carrying out a broader search online.

The introduction (precipitated by the ad), and the work on building the relationship with Simon would have paid off, and will continue to pay off in the future.

Understanding Your Facebook Ads

Please keep in mind that I’m not saying you can’t get instant gratification from your Facebook ads. In fact, you probably will get some instant results.

But if you’re comparing it to Google Ads numbers, it’s probably going to look a little disappointing.

Remember that the idea is to use interest targeting to pull potential clients in, and keep your brand top of mind with them. Ideally, when they need your products or services, you’ll be the one they think of.

Facebook ads are as much a brand awareness exercise as a lead generation one.  Using interest-based targeting doesn’t necessarily catch people at the right point in the buying cycle to generate quality, ready-to-buy leads.  It can, but it’s by no means a guarantee.

So have patience with your ads on Facebook. Make sure you’re constantly and consistently speaking to your target market interests, and work on building that relationship. It’ll pay off.