First, let me say this is really the difference between Search and Social Media advertising – but I’m using the 2 800lb gorillas as examples.
It’s a question I get – a lot. Before I tell you the differences, let me tell you what’s similar about them:
Both let you highly target your ad so it’s seen by who you want, and who your perfect target audience is. Both let you control the ad budget. Both give you reports on how well your ad is doing, and give you suggestions on how to expand your target audience.
Now for the main differences:
To me, it’s the difference between subliminal advertising and “in your face” advertising. Let me explain:
I like to call Facebook ads Subliminal Advertising. Very very few folks go on Facebook looking for a business recommendation. They go on to play games, look at pictures,
bitch complain about politics, etc. Sometimes they ask about a business for X, Y or Z.
But the chance they’re asking about your type of business is small. Very, very small. And even when they do, it will take an advocate of yours to (a) see it and (b) take the time to post on your behalf. Does it happen? Sure, but you’re not in control of the response when it does.
However, Facebook ads show up anyway. In your newsfeed, on your wall, in the groups you visit and the pages you like. Not to mention that they show up outside of Facecbook as part of the Facebook partner network.
So, while your customer may not be looking for your product or service while they’re
wasting time reading about the latest news on Facebook, your highly targeted ad will appear. Numerous times. And if they’re interested, they’ll click (and if not, you’ll get tons of impressions for free, since you pay for a click, not an impression.)
Now, Google is the exact opposite. When someone goes onto Google, they’re searching for something specific. Your ad appears when what they’re looking for is what you’re selling (and yes, in their partner network as well.) I call it In Your Face advertising. I’m looking for X… You sell X… Done.
And (IMHO) that’s the difference, in a nutshell.