Google Shopping vs. Facebook Advertising

Google Shopping vs. Facebook Advertising

Knowing where and how to allocate your digital marketing budget can be daunting.

I’d like to address two different advertising platforms and their different roles and relevance for campaigns, in response to the question: “do you feel that Facebook can have a similar cost per conversion ratio as Google Shopping Ads or do you feel Facebook is high up the conversion funnel and is more of a branding tool?

This is effectively like comparing oranges with apples. You have two very distinct strategies here that need to be considered, based on what your objectives are.

To truly measure the two channels and how they could work for you, you’d need to run extensive split A/B testing with various campaigns. Instead, I’ll start by explaining the differences between using Google Shopping and Facebook Advertising to market your product or service.

Goodle Adwords, Google’s advertising service, consists of a few different channels:

  • Search Campaigns: The paid advertisements that appear at the top when you search for something on Google.
  • Display Campaigns: Google Display Ads, or colloquially knows as Google Adwords, are the banners that come up when you’re on a website to promote another website, brand or product.
  • Google Shopping: A network showing products with pricing and links to purchase. This is set up with a feed from your website so that when people search within Google Shopping, your items and prices appear, sometimes with reviews and ratings.

These are all paid elements of advertising on Google.

Facebook comparatively has several different types of advertisements. You can run video ads, carousel ads, slideshow ads and more.

Let’s pause for a second to acknowledge that searching on Google and scrolling through Facebook are two very different and distinct behaviours.

On one hand, you have a deliberate search and on the other a passive scrolling.

Facebook is designed to stimulate and drive action. The purpose of advertising on Facebook is (primarily) to stimulate and capture your audience’s attention, with a 1.3 second window of opportunity to do so. Your goal then is going to be achieved through a very clever combination of the right stimulus, be it an image or the video and the keywords that together create a split-second perception for the user of either “this grabs my attention” or “this doesn’t appeal to me, keep scrolling”.

With Facebook advertising you’re aiming to trigger a response in a given period of time.

Google advertising on the other hand, is designed to intercept a user’s behaviour. When you are on Google, you’re doing something deliberate and looking for something in particular. The purpose of the search ads, display ads or Google Shopping (for products) then, is to intercept behaviour.

If I’m searching for a particular toy or book in Google then the search ads would show me the best places where I can go to buy that thing or that book, for instance. Display ads will typically show up with websites that are relevant to me and the search that I’ve conducted, or websites I’ve previously been to.  We’ve all been victim to this, where you visit a website (such as Airbnb or a Hotel) and the listings you’ve clicked on keep popping up as ads, following you to the subsequent sites you visit. This is called remarketing or retargeting and can be a clever way to keep front of mind with your audience.

If you’re searching on the Google Shopping Network, products advertised will show up with prices, reviews and links to the stores, making it easier for the user to purchase what they were searching for. Advertising on Google Shopping is just another way of complementing your ecommerce store.

As you can see, two different behaviours are taking place, so comparing the two channels isn’t ideal. They need to be evaluated in isolation, understanding how to use both channels to complement your overall strategy.

As far as the cost per conversion ratio in this instance – Facebook vs Google Shopping – you could expect that the cost per conversion from Facebook may be higher, because people are not typically on Facebook intending to buy a product at that time, while on Google the intent to purchase is more likely to be there.

Facebook can also offer a very low cost per conversion channel if you know how use it in a way that drives sales and responses, by reaching the right audience, at the right time, with the right deal.

With Google you’re largely just making sure that you’re present anytime somebody looks for your particular brand or service.

Stay Dangerous,

Kevin Spiteri

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