With the popularity of web, dozens of new ways to advertise your business have emerged. You can buy online ads through Google Adwords, Facebook advertising, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or more. The sheer amount of choice can be overwhelming, so we’ve broken down two of the most popular ways to promote your business online: Google Adwords and Facebook advertising.

Whatever way you choose to market your business, online or in person, it’s imperative that you get the most bang for your buck.

Google Adwords

When you visit a Google search page, the results list is usually topped with two or three results marked with “ad”– no doubt you already know that these are sponsored links. Those companies have put money into buying those lucrative top spaces. 90% of users only look at the first page of Google results, meaning those top few links can hold incredible power (to learn more about increasing your ranking in search results organically, visit our blog post “Why does SEO matter?”).

How Google Adwords works

Essentially, when using Google Adwords, your goal is to create a campaign that will find as many likely customers as possible. You’ll select keywords that your potential customers might search (for example, a photographer might use keywords like “wedding photographer” and “experienced wedding photographer” in they AdWords campaigns).

After deciding on your keywords, you pick the amount you’re willing to pay per click and the budget for each day. This doesn’t guarantee you the top spot: every time someone enters a search term, an auction occurs. This auction is based on the max bid per click that advertisers have dcided on for that keyword, additionally the auction accounts for the quality score of each ad that could potentially show. You ad’s quality score is based on the quality of the ad and landing page content and how relevant they are to the keyword that triggers the ad. In other words, buying terms that are unrelated to your business will lower your your chance of winning the auction. If your ad does appear, it’s called an “impression”, but you’re only charged after a “click”– when a user actually clicks on your ad.

Benefits of Google Adwords

Google AdWords works great when you know what your audience is looking for. People are often lazy– they want an easy way to find the service or product. Having your link at the very top of their search results is a fast way to get their interest.

Facebook advertising

Facebook has a similar business model to Google when it comes to their online advertising. Like Google, it’s an incredibly popular network, currently boasting about 1.8 billion users. But the true benefit of Facebook is not the number of people you can reach, but who specifically will see your ad. Unlike publishing an ad in a magazine or on television, you can target your ad to specifically narrowed audiences.

Also like Google, Facebook ads run as an auction. You choose your budget, the audience you’d like to target, and the visuals of your ad. Facebook runs an algorithm to decide whose ad is the most beneficial to the Facebook user you’ve chosen target. To learn more about Facebook advertising, visit their business site. Facebook also uses a metric to measure your ad’s relevance to your audience’s interest, this is called the relevancy score.

Benefits of Facebook Advertising

Advertising on Facebook is perfect when you know the type of customer you want to attract, but not the key words they’ll search for. With Facebook, you can target your ad by age, location, interests,  gender, and online behaviors by simply selecting the factors you think apply to your target audience. It is also possible to create audiences from customer email files or Facebook followers, then expand the audience based on common factors between them. Unlike Google, where people have to be actively searching for a service to see your ad, Facebook ads can be seen by whoever your target audience is. Be aware that can also be a disadvantage– people can be interested in photography and weddings and have no intention in hiring a wedding photographer. However, if someone is searching through Google for a photographer, chances are they’re actively looking to hire.

What do you choose?

Ultimately, it’s up to you and your audience. There are pros and cons to both services, and they fit different criteria. At the end of the day, you should think about what combination is most valuable for your business. No matter which platform(s) you decide on you have to target ads to the most effective audience, plus have the ads link to quality content that is relevant to your target audience.