We get a kick out of politics at Mambo Media, so we were thrilled to be asked to design online ad campaigns for an initiative on the November 2010 ballot in Washington State.
The client asked us to spend an equal amount of money on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. And that was the beginning of the smackdown. Which platform is better for online advertising spend?
To answer this question, I focused on three priorities:
1. Impressions: Facebook Triumphs
The chief goal of this campaign was to increase targeted voter familiarity of the initiative. Even if a voter only sees the ad briefly on the Facebook page sidebar, it’s an opportunity for him or her to learn the name of the initiative and associate it with the ad tagline and image.
At the end of the campaign, the Facebook ads had been viewed over 7.5 million times and the Google Ads had been viewed about 34,000 times. Yes, while spending an equal amount on each platform!
2. Clicks: Google is the Victor
While not a top priority, clicks were also important to this ad campaign. In some of the ads, we directed voters to the initiative’s Facebook page (and gathered many new Likers and commenters in the process), and other ads sent voters to the initiative website to learn more.
In the end, the Google Ads provided 2,080 clicks, with an impressive 6.06% clickthrough rate, and Facebook Ads resulted in 1,599 clicks (clickthrough rate: .02%).
3. Targeting: Facebook Prevails
Facebook Ads was the clear winner in precise demographic targeting. If we had wanted, we could have shown the ads to ONLY 36 year old men in Washington who were connected to the opposition’s Facebook Page!
So, Who Wins the Smackdown?
As is the case with all social media marketing, the best channel to use depends on the campaign goals. In this campaign, impressions (views) were the priority, which means that we can officially (and obviously) declare Facebook Ads the winner!
However, it’s worth mentioning that a campaign more focused on detailed education from clicks would consider the Google AdWords results to be superior – especially since their clickthrough rates were much higher.
In conclusion, if a client or your brand can’t afford both for testing, look to Facebook for impressions and to Google for clickthroughs. But keep in mind, if you have a niche product, cause or audience, the hyper-targeted nature of Facebook Ads will tip the scales.
What are your experiences with Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads?