Akira Studio blog - Web Design London Ontario

Our Blog

Facebook Ads v. Google Ads: what’s in a name

marketing strategy

Google is rebranding its PPC advertising platform Google Adwords as… Google Ads.

So far, so good.

However, dig a little deeper and it’s actually a rebrand of three Google advertising brands, which admittedly is less confusing than the current set-up.

So, what does the rebrand involve and will it affect your choice of whether to advertise using Google or Facebook, or both, or neither!



What are Google Ads?

In the beginning, Google allowed you to buy adverts onto its search engine result pages (SERPs). Adverts were triggered by whatever words the person searching used. So, if a person searched for "wedding marquee hire", they would see adverts which the business has set to appear when the words “wedding marquee hire” was searched for.

How much you were willing to Pay per Click (PPC) on your advert, determined how far up the list on the right-hand side of the page you appeared. Simple. In fact, that’s still the way Google Ads are triggered, although to be mobile-friendly, ads are now shown at the top and bottom of the results.

Location, location, location

The product that skewed it all was local listings. If that person searching for “wedding marquee hire” was using a mobile device and standing within a 1.8 mile radius of your wedding marquee business office, then your business would appear in the SERPs in the legendary ‘six pack’. This list of six (now more often three) local businesses would be slotted into the middle of the SERPs, regardless of whether you advertised or not.

From Google to Facebook

Needless to say, many businesses lost faith in Google Ads as their adverts got shunted all around the SERPs page. Some deserted to Facebook advertising instead, lured by the promise of adverts shown by in-depth profiling rather than keyword triggers.

Then Facebook changed what they did and decided to show more ads on personal feeds while reducing the visibility of company page posts. So some Facebook users got peeved with than and jumped ship to Instagram. Which is owned by Facebook, and where adverts are now appearing at regular intervals. Facebook paid $1bn for Instagram in 2012, when the platform didn’t make any money. Thanks to advertising and other monetising initiatives, Instagram is now valued at around $100bn (1).

Online advertising; the bottom line

So, where does that leave your business and your own online advertising? Uncertain, probably. Confused, almost certainly!

OK, let’s tease this out, with one caveat. Akira Studio doesn’t offer a regular online advertising service. We can help you set up an account, write your first ads, and give you some 1-to-1 training via Skype. Then we’ve found most business owners say “Yup, got that” and run with it themselves. It really is quite easy once you’ve got your head around:

  1. what you want to advertise
  2. who you want to advertise to
  3. where these potential clients live

Impressions v. PPC

Facebook Ads are targeted by demographics such as age, location and interests. You pay per impression, i.e. the number of time an advert appears, regardless of whether action is taken or not.

Now, we don’t know about you, but we pretty much switched off to Facebook ads the moment that amateur-looking belly fat reduction diagram ad appeared. And we’ve never been back. Many of our clients found their Facebook advertising become remarkably ineffective, remarkably quickly.

With one notable exception - job adverts.

Targeted job adverts on Facebook are probably THE most effective way to continually recruit staff from both home and abroad. (Just be aware that due to anti-discrimination laws you cannot advertise a job for a specific age range, gender or stipulate a level of experience required.)

OK, what about Google Ads? Many businesses who thought the rather outdated method of ads triggered by keywords didn’t work for them are now finding it does. Why? Voice search.

The power of the voice

The moment you can talk to your mobile device, the more words you use.

We might type “wedding marquee hire” into a device, but dictating, we are more likely to say “find me wedding marquee companies in my area”. Note the change of keyword from “wedding marquee hire” to “wedding marquee companies”. Using Google Ads enables your ad to show for both sets of keywords (which is why keyword research is so important.)

Enter the new look Google Ads

So, how will the new-look Google Ads change this? Not a lot. The main move is to bring all the advertising possibilities together under one brand. Sridhar Ramaswamy, the senior vice president of advertising at Google, said the new format would be “The front door for advertisers to buy on all Google surfaces.“

That means one interface to look after search ads, display ads, app ads, YouTube video ads, and location listings in Google Maps. (That is a relief - location listings have shuffled between products for years.)

There’s no doubt that the changes were partly in response to one major advantage of Facebook Ads over Google Adwords as it was - the interface. Facebook was so much clearer. Both interfaces look much like each other now, and the rebrand should hopefully improve things further. (We shall see.)

Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

So, back to our question at the start, which is better, Google Ads or Facebook Ads? The answer is, as you might expect by now, it depends. It depends on where your customers ‘hang out’, and whether they take notice of ads when they are shown to them.

Our initial instinct was that Facebook Ads would be ideal for clients who wanted to target specific groups of people, in specific locations, at specific times. We were 50% right! Facebook Ads worked wonderfully for our driver recruitment client, but much less so for a legal services client.

In contrast, specific keyword driven and location-specific Google Ads worked well for the legal team, and also for a nationwide campaign for a specialist equipment online store. So it may be initially a case of ‘try it and see’ using specific landing pages for each type of ad, to see which suits your clients best.

Google Ads will improve my website ranking, right?

Wrong. Your website’s ranking is not affected by advertising per se. What will help your website rank higher in the SERPs are more visitors to your site who spend longer there reading your quality content than they do on your competitors’ websites. And adverts help you drive those visitors to your website, simple as that.

Interested in Google or Facebook ads?

For more info see
• The AdEspresso guide to Facebook advertising, produced by Hootsuite.

• Neil Patel’s guide to Google Adwords. Ignore the pop-ups and the “you can make pots of money!!!” style - the content is good.

And finally…

One other tip - learn how to make your social media photos the right size. It makes all the difference in the world to the look of your adverts, especially on Instagram. Here’s PicMonkey’s neat guide (we’ve never used their software, btw).

Social media strategies: five 5-minute tips for mo...
Why our clients choose Akira Studio