Until recently you may have been either a Google person, or a Facebook person. At least when it came to ads. After all, between them, they command nearly 80% of all online ad revenue. But which one is best?

If you’re looking to snag a lead right as someone is looking for what it is you do, then Google is your friend. But if you’re a new business with a small budget, the you’ll probably be heading to Facebook to get started. When it comes down to it, what platform you choose to advertise on will depend upon your budget, your level of competition and at what point of customer lifecycle your customer is at.

How much have you got to spend?

When it comes to budget you can blow a lot of money on either platform. However as Google has been around a lot longer than Facebook and sits in an enviable spot where the intention of a customer is most likely to be buying, it’s generally a fair bit more expensive than Facebook. Where you could get away with a small targeted brand building campaign on Facebook for as little as $60 a month, you’d struggle to get a few days out of that on Google without blowing your daily budget in just a few impressions and a couple of clicks.

There’s a few factors to consider when choosing between Google & Facebook Ads

The competition factor

If you’re in an industry or sector that is highly competitive and has been for a long time, then chances are that Google is over-run with your competition already and the cost to get a click out of it is way out of your budget. This is where the social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn come in. You can check on the competitiveness of your sector by simple typing in what you do to Google. If you’re a fashion retailer, enter something like, “women’s fashion Toowoomba” and see what ads come up at the top of the results. That’s who you’re up against. If there’s none or even just the one there, then you’ve got a shot at getting clicks at a lower rate. Just be aware that ads fluctuate at different days and times of the day. A lot of retailers will have their ads disappear on Sundays or at times when they’re closed. A lot of plumbers and electricians will often only show their ads at night and on weekends as they concentrate on getting the emergency call out work.

Facebook, due to its more precise targeting and excellent handle on interests and behaviour, allows you to target your ads to less people with very specific interests. So this makes the space a touch less competitive as you’re both earlier in the customer journey, and less likely to be targeting the exact same people as your competitors – and even if you are, there is more advertising inventory available for you to buy as people tend to stay on the Facebook network longer than just a few seconds, like they tend to do on Google.

The customer journey

Whether you choose Facebook or Google – or even LinkedIn, Pinterest or Twitter – will heavily depend on where the customer is at in the journey towards buying. The customer lifecycle tracks where a potential customer is, during their journey from a complete lack of awareness of you and any need they have of what you do, to an escalation towards awareness of you, and of needing what you do or sell. From there, they come to the point of conversation where they are actually on the verge of purchasing. This pointy end of the “sales funnel” is where that customer is just after a place to buy that thing. Facebook is particularly good at the start and middle of that journey. But they’re not as effective at the pointy end of it. Google is almost non-existent at the start of the journey but are very effective at the middle and end of it. In an ideal world you’d actually be using both of them to handle the different ends of the customer lifecycle.

Which do you choose?

There is no one answer to what is best between the big two; Google and Facebook. It will come down to how much you have to spend, how competitive your niche is, and what part of the customer’s journey towards buying that you are targeting your ads at.