Google vs Facebook for eCommerce
There are essentially two big daddies of the digital ad world. Google and Facebook. Ads served on these often fall in the PPC, or pay per click categories and referred to as paid ads. However, there is a fundamental difference in the way these two types of ad mechanisms work. Lets look into this
Google’s name to fame is it’s search capability. To the extent that “Google it” has now become a verb. People search for things, they search for solutions to problems, they search to learn news stuff and the list goes on. When you search for something on Google , you use certain keywords. When making the Google ads, we choose the keywords , which when included in the search query , the ads should be shown. For example, if I have an online mobile phones shop and someone searches for “best camera phones under 10k” , I would want to show up in the ad results.
Here when we place an ad on Google search engine, we are being in front of them “when” they are looking for us. Think of this as you walking down a market looking for something and you just happen to see the shop selling what you were looking for , right in front of you. In all probability ,you will enter the shop , which is similar to the action of clicking the ad. Since they were looking for us and we we were waiting for them, chances of conversion are high.
Now consider another scenario. You are using Facebook, getting entertained reading stuff on your timeline. You are not there looking for anything specific to buy. So, now when you come across an ad, you may or may not engage with it. It may be interrupting your current reading flow. Think of this as you walking down a market looking to buy something specific, say eye glasses, and then also come across a shop which has a highly discounted sale on sale on your favourite brand of footwear. But, wait, you did not come to the market to buy footwear Since it is your favourite footwear brand and it is on discount , you might still check it out and maybe end doing an impulse buy. This is Facebook’s way of making the Facebook ads work.
When searching on Google , Google does not know much about you ( though it is getting better as it analyses your browsing and online activities ) but it knows what you are looking for. Facebook on the other hand knows who you are. Part of this information has been given by you when you setup your profile and created the friends network. Also, what posts you likes, what pages you likes, who you interacted with ( shares / comments / likes ) also helps Facebook determine what your interests are. So, if someone has watched and maybe shared every video of the new BMW they put on Facebook and also liked their page, Facebook knows this person like cars and also BMW.
So from the Footwear example above, Facebook may know your Favorite footwear brand and when that brand goes on sale , they may want to advertise to their fans on Facebook. When the campaign is setup right by the Facebook marketer, the right ads will be shown to the right set of people who have the highest chance to buy. Imagine , 100 people walking in the market and each seeing a different shop in the same place, each as per to their interests, that’s the experience Facebook gives when multiple people login at the same time, each may see different ads
So, which ad mechanism should be used ?
Google , since it targets users specifically when they are closer to making a buying decision results in better conversion rates. Facebook on the other hand , with it’s demographic and interest based targeting mechanism can help reach the right audience , which may or may not be in the buying mindset at the moment. However, we all know that all buying is not need based and many times emotional decisions drive our buying habits. When the ads targeting is good and ads appeal to this buying behaviour, it can work wonders through the passive Facebook method as well