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Google AdWords or Facebook advertising: Which is better for small businesses?

In this article we will discuss what is paid advertising, why should a small business consider using paid leads, and how should they go about doing it.

Let us define some terms used in this article:
Paid advertising: The process of marketing your content through paid methods.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing. This is a process of internet marketing that promotes a website by increasing its visibility website in search engine result pages (SERP). 

SMM: Social Media Marketing. This is a process of internet marketing that utilizes the social media platforms as a marketing tool. 

Leads: Any user who is interested in interacting with the services or products sold by your company. They may not be ready to make a purchase immediately, but may do so in the future. 

How do I start out with paid advertising: 

Paid Ads can be implemented on the search engines (like Google, Bing or Yahoo) or on Social media platforms (like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn). 

One main consideration to choosing a platform for paid ads is to advertise where your potential audience is. When you consider paid advertising, you need have a good understanding of your market and business needs. For example, you cannot have an ad selling cat food, targeted to dog lovers. 

I recommend starting out with Facebook advertising for most small business owner who wants to start out with paid advertising. 

This is because of two reasons:

1. Facebook is the largest social media platform there is. The chances of you finding an engaged audience on Facebook is very high. 
2. Running paid campaigns on Facebook is cost-effective. Facebook Ads are very affordable. 

Let us have a closer look at two important factors before starting paid campaigns


Google ads can have an upfront cost to them, but are highly targeted. This can lead to a higher ROI (return on investment) compared to Facebook. Google ads are more dependent on a company's SEO(for keywords). Most of the people that click Google ads, do so with the intention to buy. Imagine a paid campaign on Google for selling dog toys. People who click on that ad, will more likely be the pet owners who will want to buy the dog toys. 

Now compare the same campaign on Facebook. Dog owners might click on that ad, but instead of buying the toy, they might just be interested in liking the Facebook page. They may not be in the market to buy dog toys now, but may become interested in buying it in a month or two. This makes Facebook (an other social media platforms) great for lead generation. 


Google ads (also known as Google AdWords) run on search engines. Search Engines rely on people actively "searching' for the specific terms the ad is targeting. This makes Google ads highly dependent on the company's SEO, Marketing budget and strategy. 

While in Facebook, users tend to reveal a lot of information about themselves when they sign up for an account. Name, age, gender, location, interests are some of the details Facebook collects about users on sign up. This information is used for targeting audiences for your advertisement. The Facebook algorithms do the work of placing ads. 

To sum up, neither platform is good or bad. Before running paid advertising campaigns, it is important to understand your budget, business needs, audience, and goals. It is important to track your campaign.

Photo credit:
Google AdWords - iconfinder
Social Media Marketing - iconfinder

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