Running a startup is one of the most chaotic, exhausting and exhilarating experiences you can have.
The moment when that great idea gets your neurons firing; the excitement this idea awakes in your friends; the super long early days; the incessant chase for funding and a viable business model.
After a while, you realize that your startup needs to expand its initial customer base and you soon discover that your best bet is to do some online marketing. Content marketing and SEO can do a ton for you, but you soon find that you need to do some paid marketing.
Like most startup owners, you narrow down your options to two – Google Adwords and Facebook ads.
So, how do you choose? Where to turn?
In order to answer this, you have to first answer a number of different questions.
Are you B2B or B2C?
The first question you need to answer about your startup in order to decide between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads is whether you sell to individual customers or to other businesses, i.e. are you B2C or B2B.
The reason you have to do this is that Facebook Ads are not really that interesting to B2B startups. For instance, if your product is a piece of accounting software whose users will be other businesses, you will most likely want to turn to Google AdWords.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone who runs a random company’s Facebook account. This is your target audience if your product/service is B2B. Do they use their Facebook account to look for services and products that can help their company? No, they do not. They use Facebook as a marketing channel and perhaps as a way to communicate with their own customers.
In short, if your startup is in the B2B sector, stick to Google AdWords. Other companies will use Google to look for software/services/products they need.
What is Your Industry?
It may not seem that the industry you are in will determine whether you use Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, but it most certainly will.
This is because of the concept of Cost per Click, or CPC for short. Namely, the amount you will be paying either Google or Facebook is determined by cost-per-click, or how much you pay them for a single click on your ad.
In certain industries, the cost per click for Google Ads is just astronomical and you will most likely not have the budget to be competitive. This is, for example, true for industries such as legal, finance, gambling, and healthcare. If you wish to spend some money on ads in these industries, Facebook will become your choice by default since you will not have the money to compete on Google.
What is Your Budget?
The mention of CPC in the previous part of this article brings us to the next question you simply have to answer in order to choose between Facebook and Google for your paid ads.
Namely, how much money are you planning to spend?
Most startups operate with a very limited advertising budget and considering that CPC of Facebook ads is almost ten times cheaper than that of Google AdWords, and this can be a huge factor in a startup’s decision to choose Facebook. In other words, it may be too expensive for you to run any kind of a substantial Google AdWords campaign with your budget, even if you are not in one of the most competitive industries.
What are You Selling?
The nature of your product/service will also play a humongous role in determining whether you go with Google or Facebook.
For instance, many experts agree that Google AdWords works best for products and services that are more “urgent”. For example, when a pipe bursts in your home, you go to Google and you look for the most immediate solution. For more lifestyle-y and leisure activities and products, you are more likely to discover something like that on Facebook than go searching specifically on Google. It is just the nature of online behavior.
It should also be pointed out that visually attractive products or services will do better on Facebook than their non-attractive variants. Namely, with Facebook Ads, you can add pictures and videos to your ads, making them visually appealing and inviting, while on Google AdWords, you cannot do this except in certain specific cases.
Who Your Customers Are
We have already touched upon this when we talked about whether your startup is in the B2B or the B2C sector. However, we need to dig deeper and you need to answer more precisely.
Who your customers are? Is your product especially niche-specific? How do your potential customers use the web?
There are a number of reasons why you need to answer all of these questions. The first is that Facebook is generally lauded as the more granular paid ad solution. In other words, you can be far more specific in targeting certain portions of the market with a Facebook Ad than you can with your Google ad solution.
You also need to answer these because these two types of ads will work better for certain parts of the customer journey. For instance, if your startup provides something that people do not even realize they need, Facebook ads will work much better than Google Ads. However, if your product/service is geared more towards those customers who are ready to make a purchase and they know exactly what they want, Google is a better choice.
Both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads have their pros and cons, as is often the case with choices like this. You will want to do some serious research before you make a decision, perhaps even talk to digital marketing professionals who will have more advice for you.
Another thing to keep in mind – many experts nowadays point out that going for one of these does not mean you cannot dabble in the other.
The important thing is to track your results and to make sure you are spending money on something that is bringing you money.