One of the most confusing aspects of digital marketing for home service business owners and contractors is deciding where to invest their money: Facebook Ads, or Google AdWords?
There’s no right or wrong answer here: ultimately, at the end of the day, home service providers should be able to decide which nest they’d like to put more of their marketing eggs into, so to speak.
Facebook Ads vs. Google AdWords: Features and Functions
Facebook Ads and Google AdWords each have their own unique strengths and differences. However, there are 4 important elements that truly set them apart:
Google AdWords has high intent, while Facebook Ads has lower intent. This means that with Google AdWords, home service providers can display ads to customers based on the search queries they type on Google. For example, if you have a power washing service based in Ontario, it’s ideal that you show up when people search for “power washing Ontario” and other similar search terms, in order for it to be a high intent search. In other words, people searching for specific search terms are closer to making a purchase than Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads have a lower intent because people who scroll through their newsfeed aren’t really looking to make a purchase. They may ask for recommendations, but they won’t search for power washing services in their area since that’s what people already use Google for.
: Google AdWords uses keyword-based targeting, while Facebook Ads are based on demographic, behavior, and interest targeting.
Google AdWords targeting is advantageous for businesses that provide services catering to immediate needs
When people have needs such as an air conditioner unit that needs to be repaired, a pipe burst, or garage door repair, they will look for a service provider with a few keystrokes into Google to a search engine (don’t forget about Bing). While reputation does matter to these prospects, there is little research behind their decision making. It other words, they aren’t checking to see what type of O-ring you’re going to use at each pipe connection for a plumbing fix, rather they’re going to find your contact info, possibly look for social proof, and then call. Same thing applies for HVAC or electrical contractors – these types of businesses can do well with Adwords.
On the other hand, a prospect interested in an exterior hardscape project, complete with artificial waterfalls, isn’t going to get the idea one day, quickly type ‘hardscape contractor’ into Google and then call. They might Google but then they’re going to ask for referrals. They’re going to research what they want. They’re going to recall any pictures they may have seen of similar work that stuck out in their mind. Services such as these are where Facebook advertising excels.
Facebook Ads have options that are favorable for businesses that already know specifics about their ideal customer since the platform enables you to utilize data to reach them. Even if your customers aren’t looking to purchase something, that shouldn’t stop you from advertising your business where they spend most of their time. In fact, you can even get them to take action on a home service by providing a discount or offer right on their Facebook newsfeed, even if the need isn’t immediate.
Bottom line: When it comes to targeting, both Google and Facebook provide two unique ways that home service providers can reach customers. Businesses that have bigger budgets can leverage both platforms, although this isn’t a necessity.
Google AdWords uses a text-based ad format, while Facebook’s is more creative.
Google AdWords’s most popular ad format is text, although there are also image, call only, video, and shopping ads. Facebook Ads are more visual: they use carousels, images, video, slideshows, canvas, leads, collections, and more – this works well for services with striking visual appearance.
Going back to the hardscape contractor example, before and after photos of a yard going to from typical green grass to beautiful palm trees and rock formations, would strike any prospects attention.
Check out this ad ran by Concrete Designs Fl. Just image taking pride owning a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. You might never realize your driveway could be refinished, or how bad your driveway looks. The stunning before and after photos of the driveway refinishing would capture your attention and make you say “wow our house looks so good, but our driveway is just so ew”.
That type of emotion, can’t be evoked with Google Adwords.
Google’s AdWords formats are better for businesses that require direct responses, providing the opportunity to be in front of your customer when they are looking for your service. Specifically, home service providers can benefit from call-only ads to target phone call conversions.
Another bonus here is that Google’s Ads don’t require fancy creative design. Facebook ad formats are more efficient for increasing brand awareness and maximizing creative design to visually showcase products and services. For a home service, Google AdWords gives you an edge since Facebook struggles with conversion optimization for non-website events.
Business owners are most concerned about the price of advertising. Generally speaking, Google AdWords are more expensive than Facebook Ads – we’re talking over $20 for just a click in some markets. Of course that is all relative to the return. For immediate, non researched services, the traffic from Google AdWords converts at a much higher rate because of its high-intent nature compared to the interest, demographic, and behavior-based nature of Facebook targeting.
Facebook can bring a much cheaper cost per click, or impression (or whatever metric you want to compare), but the recipient of the ad isn’t necessarily interested in the service. It’s up to you reach an audience that is likely interested in your service (suggested: Facebook’s Powerful Marketing Features For Home Service Businesses). Failure to do that effectively can make your total ad spend a waste.
Both platforms can be highly lucrative for advertising. Adwords can provide an instant flux of leads at a high price, while Facebook Ads also require time and patience to cultivate, monitor and analyze.
In General, I’d suggest businesses that serve customers with immediate needs start with Google Adwords and contractors that take on remodeling style projects start with Facebook. You shouldn’t limit yourself to one or the other, just start there.
Smart marketers know that both platforms are beneficial, and that with either platform there is no such thing as an overnight success with Facebook Ads. The way to succeed is to continue to monitor and improve on existing campaigns. You’ll have to test, review the data, and optimize. Conversion tracking is crucial to running an effective marketing campaign, so make sure to have it set up track every before you run any campaigns. When you have insight into where your leads are coming from, you can test each platform and make data driven decisions!