Facebook Ads or Google AdWords: Pros and Cons of Each Platform and When to Use Them
Facebook Ads. Google AdWords. Social media marketing. Target audiences.
Reaching parents of potential future students online through paid advertising can seem intimidating, or like a shot in the dark — especially if you’ve never done this sort of thing before.
We wanted to take a few minutes to break it down for you and illuminate the pros and cons of both Facebook and Google AdWords platforms so you can make the most out of your social media marketing efforts.
Why should you advertise on Facebook?
One of the biggest reasons to advertise on Facebook is the sheer number of people using the platform.
Facebook has the largest user base of social media platforms, with over 2 billion monthly active users.
That’s right. Billion with a “B.” It’s not a typo.
And, these users spend an average of 50 minutes a day checking statuses, watching cute cat videos, and reading ads that show up in their newsfeed.
Your school could be one of those ads that appears to interested parents searching for the right educational experience for their little ones.
Facebook Ad for Bergamo Montessori School
Facebook creates accurate personal profiles.
With all the things people do on Facebook — such as updating life events (like marriage and new babies), following brands and organizations, and connecting with friends — the platform is able to create specific and personal profiles of users and all their online preferences and behaviors.
You, as a Montessori school owner, can use this information to your advantage by advertising to a very specific, hyper-targeted audience that fits the criteria your ideal, mission-appropriate parent. We often call this an "avatar", which you can read more about here.
Facebook is great for retargeting your ads.
You know those visitors to your website who don’t actually schedule a tour of your school or leave their contact information?
A special Facebook supplied code on your website makes it possible to gather information from these specific users so you can send tailored ads based on the pages they visited on your site. This code is called the Facebook Pixel (you can read more about it here).
Retargeting can lead to more conversions — people who sign up for a tour or leave their contact information — so you can personally reach out to them.
Facebook finds more people like the people you like.
Say that again? Lookalike audiences allow you to target Facebook users who look like existing users who are already engaging with you.
Facebook examines the people who visit your website, or the people on your email list, and finds more people just like them to direct your ads to.
Now you’re not only reaching your target audience, but you’re reaching more people like your target audience, which expands your chances of reaching people who want what you’re offering.
Minimum financial investment required.
Overall, Facebook is easy on your budget, allowing you to select how much money you want to spend on each ad campaign. It allows you to reach a large number of potential followers for a relatively small financial investment. Essentially, Facebook is a great place to start to attract an initial audience.
What’s the downside of Facebook advertising?
Over the years, Facebook has been criticized for misreporting advertising metrics like organic reach, referrals, and video plays. Leads tend to be lower quality than Google AdWords. And, although you’re reaching a large audience with your ads, the conversion rate from “browser to buyer” may be on the low end, too.
How does Google AdWords compare?
Google AdWords takes another approach to online advertising.
When people type keywords into their search engine, like “Montessori schools in New York,” in a split second, Google sifts through thousands of keywords and presents the most qualified ads.
These ads pop up at the top and to the sides of your search results, and are highly relevant to the specific search request.
If the content in your ads most closely matches the search words entered, your ad becomes one of the ads that gets displayed.
When this happens, it often means instant gratification. AdWords can drive high-quality traffic to your website immediately, because of the relevance and timing of your ad.
AdWords offers amazing exposure for your school.
Based on relevance, your ad can potentially appear on the first page of the internet’s largest search engine, and that means HUGE exposure for your school.
As noted, the timing and relevance of your ad specifically when someone is searching for it, can turn them into a potential client on the spot.
Pro and con: AdWords is more expensive.
Although you determine your budget for Google AdWords by specifying your maximum cost per click for keywords, you need to spend more in order to be effective. AdWords is one of the oldest and most popular online advertising platforms, which means there is greater competition and cost involved.
The upside to this more expensive option is that the quality of the traffic is higher and visitors tend to convert much more readily and reliably. This is the bread and butter of Montessori online marketing.
Is your landing page up to snuff?
Since Google looks at the quality of your landing page (where your prospects go when they click on your ad), you need to optimize your website for the best results. In other words, keywords on your site need to match keywords in your ads so your Quality Score increases. That’s something Google uses to determine your cost per click.
Both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords can help you expand your reach and connect with an audience who wants to connect with you as well. As you can see, there are advantages and disadvantages for both platforms, and somewhat of a learning curve, depending on how savvy you are with keywords or customer engagement.
We can help you make sense of online advertising and get the ball rolling so you can tap into your potential audience. Schedule a free one-on-one consultation with our strategy team and we’ll give you practical tips and strategies you can take directly into your school’s marketing.