In 2024, having the right e-commerce marketing strategy can be the difference between the success or failure of your online store.
American consumers spent about $900 billion on e-commerce in the year 2020. In the midst of the post-pandemic, most eCommerce businesses became a go-to storefront for millions of Americans.
Many brick-and-mortar businesses attempted to throw together their eCommerce stores as fast as possible.
Some succeeded and some failed.
What made the difference?
A lot of it came down to things like product-to-market fit, website conversion rate optimization, and marketing strategy.
When it comes to deciding which marketing strategy to use for your eCommerce store, it usually comes down to Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads. Which one is better?
Today, we’ll be going over the pros and cons of each ad platform to decide which one is best for your business.
In this blog, you’ll learn all about Facebook ads vs Google ads to help you determine which platform will work best for your eCommerce business.
- How Do Facebook Ads Work?
- Different Types of Facebook Ads
- How Do Google Ads Work?
- What Are the Main Differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?
- Are Facebook Ads Cheaper Than Google Ads?
- Facebook Ads VS. Google Ads — Why a Smart E-commerce Business Uses Both
- Where to Learn More about Facebook Ads and Google Ads for E-Commerce
- Facebook Ads VS. Google Ads: The Bottom Line
How Do Facebook Ads Work?
Facebook ads are one of the most effective ways to accelerate your marketing campaigns in 2023.
However, since the iOS14 update in 2021, Facebook has faced some unique challenges that are holding it back from its full potential.
The iOS14 privacy updates significantly limited the capacity of Facebook ads to reach targeted audiences which was soon felt by advertisers across the globe, with many eCommerce stores reporting a drop in overall sales from Facebook advertising.
However, don’t despair, the good news is that Facebook ads still can work very well.
In just 30 days, a marketing guru can generate hundreds or thousands of leads in a variety of industries. By implementing the right conversion tracking using the Facebook pixel, marketers gain a significant advantage in targeting and retargeting campaigns.
Facebook ads have historically worked using an auction-based system that relies on many factors including ad rank, advertiser bid, ad quality, relevancy, and expected action.
While Facebook provides this information publicly, they keep the majority of the information about their algorithm private to protect it from competitors.
Different Types of Facebook Ads
Facebook evaluates ads that can come in one of six formats.
Facebook Image Format Ads
A Facebook Ad in image format is usually in the form of a JPEG or PNG. It’s important that marketers always use high-resolution images in the dimensions suggested by Facebook for each individual placement.
Digital Marketers should perform A/B testing on different ad images to maximize clicks and conversions.
Once thorough testing has been performed on ad creatives, digital marketers will then usually move on to the text of an ad and test that.
Once several winning ad creatives and text options are decided on, the advertiser can focus on scaling up (increasing the budget) of the ads that are performing the best.
Other things digital marketers are usually testing are demographics, interests, budgets, placements, and similar, however these tests are performed at the ad set level vs. the ad level.
Facebook Video Ads
A video ad is an excellent upgrade for marketers who want to showcase how a product looks and is used in the real world.
And because most social media platforms are focusing heavily on video these days, so it is no longer an option for advertisers to only use images and stay relevant.
Videos allow the consumers to visualize the products much better, which can lead to increased clicks on ads.
Using trending sounds, user generated content, and video testimonials and reviews can also help drastically increase ad conversions.
If you don’t have the time or budget to create marketing videos, you still can create a video slideshow of static images directly inside the Facebook Ads Manager.
But these days there are so many video editing apps that make creating marketing videos in minutes a breeze, so I highly recommend checking some of those out.
Facebook Carousel Ads
Facebook carousel ads are like a photo book of 10 images or videos. Each image can have its own headline and description.
It’s best for marketers to use carousels when they want to show off multiple products or product categories at a time.
For jewelry and fashion brands, where the products are visually stunning and appealing to look at, using carousel ads can be a great Facebook ad strategy.
Facebook carousel ads can also be used in the format of Dynamic Product Ads (DPA’s) where the carousel ad is dynamically created from product sets manually created from your product catalog.
Facebook Collection Ads
Facebook Collection ads create an immersive experience when clicked. These are also known as Instant Experience ads.
Collection ads have either a cover photo or video that can host up to four products below (three on Instagram).
Once clicked, users can navigate an instant shopping experience directly on the platform that feels like a mini website or landing page.
Users can view additional images, videos, and product carousels with “SHOP NOW” buttons on them, making it easy to navigate a brand’s product catalog.
Facebook Ad Recommendation
There are a lot of people who are self-taught in the Facebook ads space.
For those who have products that are high in demand, average order values over $100, and high-converting websites, they can actually have a lot of success running their own Facebook ads on smaller budgets.
But once they start to scale their ad budget, or get busy running other areas of their business, they usually need to hand the ads off to an experienced Facebook Ad Agency.
Working with a Facebook Ad Agency that specializes in eCommerce marketing can lead to increased return on ad spend, more high quality traffic, increased website conversions, more profitable ad campaigns, email list growth, new customer growth, and more.
We highly recommend hiring a Facebook Ad Agency, or at least having a chat with one before starting Facebook Ads.
How Do Google Ads Work?
Google Ads are an extremely powerful marketing tool that can be used to not only drive brand awareness, but generate sales.
Google Ad Formats
Google Ads offer a variety of advertising formats that include:
- Search Ads
- Display Ads
- Shopping Ads
- Video Ads (YouTube Ads)
- App Ads
Google Search Ads
Google Search Ads enable advertisers to bid on keywords they would like their ads to appear for when people Search Google for answers.
Jane’s eCommerce store sells organic lipstick in the United States. She wants her ad to appear at the top of Google Search results whenever anyone searches for “organic lipstick”.
Jane would create a Google Search Campaign and target the keyword “organic lipstick”, deciding how much she is willing to pay when a user clicks on her ad (PPC – pay-per-click).
Tip: Many advertisers think the highest bid wins the race; bid high enough and your ad will appear at the top of the search results. This is not the case.
Google ranks your ad using its Quality Score rating system.
A Google ad must provide users with a good landing page experience and also be relevant to the search query (keyword).
If one advertiser bids less yet providers users with a better experience, their ad will appear at the top of the results, even though they are paying less.
What does this mean?
You can lower your Google ad costs simply by making sure your landing page experience is a good one.
Make sure your landing page is designed to convert and answers the search query well enough that the user who clicks on your search result doesn’t need to go to an additional website to find what they are looking for.
Google Display Ads
Google Display Ads appear on websites as people Surf the Web.
If you’ve ever been on a website and seen an image or video ad for a brand or product, these are Display Ads.
Display ads are great for brand awareness but have another added bonus: They are a great way to retarget individuals who have visited your website but have not yet converted.
We personally do not put much budget toward display ads for our clients as their conversion rate is the lowest of all Google ad formats, however they are also very affordable, making them a good option for remarketing and general brand awareness on high traffic websites.
Kim sells funky bicycle helmets. The website is getting plenty of traffic but not many sales.
Kim’s graphics designer creates an eye-catching set of display ads (see Google banner/display ad sizes).
These ads are then used for a Google Display Ad campaign, targeting users on high traffic websites related to biking and sports.
These Display ads can also retarget Kim’s website visitors who didn’t convert by following them around the internet.
The website visitor keeps seeing the ads and is reminded of the helmet they were thinking of buying.
Eventually they click on the ad and buy the helmet. And that is how Google Display Ads work for retargeting. Voila!
That’s just one example of the power of Google Display Ads.
There are a few bid strategy choices with Display Ads.
These bid strategies include:
- CPC (cost-per-click)
- vCPM (viewable cost-per thousand-impressions)
- CPA (cost-per-action)
Google Shopping Ads
All e-commerce store owners should consider running Google Shopping Ads.
Google Shopping Ads promote your products to people searching for products just like yours.
To run Google Shopping Ads, a Google Merchant Center account is required.
Google Merchant Center connects to your website and processes your product feed.
Once the product feed is approved, you can create a Google Shopping campaign in Google Ads.
The bid strategy for these ads is PPC – pay-per-click and the buying intent is very high.
Just remember, with Google Shopping Ads, your product price and store reviews can be a strong factor in determining whether someone will clock on your ad.
YouTube Video Ads
Want people to watch your ad on YouTube? You need to do it through Google Ads.
There are a few pre-requisites, such as connecting your YouTube channel to Google Ads and uploading the video you want to use in the ad to your YouTube channel.
With over 122 million active daily users, any business not taking advantage of YouTube advertising is leaving money on the table.
There are several different bidding strategies for YouTube ads, including CPV (cost-per- view) as well as Target CPM (cost-per-thousand-impressions). These did strategies are often used when you are not yet ready to optimize for a specific conversion goal, such as a purchase.
These can be a more affordable YouTube advertising strategy to start warming up your Google Ad account and create audiences you can retarget later with conversion ads.
That being said, these bid strategies tend to target audiences that are not as likely to purchase from you.
The other bidding strategies you can use with YouTube ads are conversion focused. You can use Maximize Conversions and Target CPA (cost-per-action) bid strategies if you have a specific conversion goal in mind, such as a purchase.
If you have an App and your goal is new installs of your app, then App ads are for you.
App ads show across a variety of platforms, including App stores and showcase your app with the goal of getting new customers to install your app.
Unlike individual ads, and the ads we reference above, Google takes impressions from your app and designs an ad for you using these images.
Bidding strategies for apps depend on the campaign goal; such as installs, pre-registrations, or in-app actions.
App ads are not recommended for eCommerce brands and really should only be used for companies wanting to promote their apps.
Google Ads Recommendation
Google Ads are not easy to run.
Because there are so many different parameters to consider and the slightest tweak can increase sales substantially.
We highly recommend hiring a certified Google Ads expert, or at least having a chat with one before starting a Google Ads campaign.
What Are the Main Differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?
While they have a lot of similarities, Facebook ads and Google ads tend to be used for different purposes.
Smart marketers will use the majority of their Facebook ad budgets for top-of-funnel lead generation and brand awareness campaigns.
These ad campaigns target audiences who have never heard of the brand before, but match a certain interest or demographic that the advertiser wants to target.
Facebook has a fairly robust set of targeting demographics and interest categories for marketers to use to reach their ideal audiences.
Further down the sales funnel, marketers can target their warm audiences on social media, such as their Facebook and Instagram followers, as well as people who have viewed their videos on the platform.
Marketers can also target their hot audiences with Facebook ads, such as their website visitors and email lists.
Because top-of-funnel Facebook ads work more on targeting interests and demographics vs. purchasing intent, they tend to be a little less expensive than Google ads.
On the other hand, top-of-funnel Google ads have the ability to reach an audience who have a much stronger buying intent than top-of-funnel Facebook ads can.
This is because marketers are catching individuals right at the moment they are trying to find information or solve a problem via Google Search.
With a tactical approach to Google ads, a smart marketer can position the product or service right in front of the eyes of the user at just the right time.
This means Google ads can target audiences with much higher purchasing intent than Facebook ads, usually leading to a higher ROAS on Google than on Facebook.
Similar to Facebook, marketers can also target warm and hot audiences, such as video views on YouTube, website visitors, email lists, and more.
As you can see, both of these platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. A smart marketer will be able to leverage both of these ad platforms to work together for the best results.
Are Facebook Ads Cheaper Than Google Ads?
Ultimately, the answer to this question will depend on a variety of factors, including your skill as a marketer on each of these platforms, your industry, targeting, custom audience size, conversion goals, and more.
However, on the whole Facebook ads are slightly cheaper than Google ads.
This is because the purchase intent with Facebook ads is much lower than the purchasing intent with Google ads.
For a company that is trying to sell a shirt in the retail apparel sector, they might have to pay about $0.50 per click through Facebook ads.
On the other hand, the cost for most Google ad clicks for the same shirt will be slightly higher than this.
That being said, it is always worth testing on your own and comparing your cost and return on each platform.
Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads – Why an eCommerce Business Should Use Both
At Karizma Marketing, we use a combination of Facebook and Google ads together to grow our clients’ eCommerce stores.
When used correctly, it’s like pouring rocket fuel into their business and everything starts taking off.
A good strategy to using both Facebook and Google ads together at top-of-funnel would be to use the majority of your Facebook ads budget for lead generation and email list growth and use your Google search and shopping ads for purchasing intent.
From there you can use both platforms to remarket offers to website visitors, social followers, video viewers, your email list, and more.
Learn How to Use Facebook Ads for eCommerce
When I started in the eCommerce industry back in 2007, I quickly learned the power of making money while I slept.
Fast forward over a decade now and I’ve fully immersed myself into growing eCommerce brands through strategic marketing campaigns.
My first love was Facebook ads, so naturally I have written several blogs on the topic. I put a few below that you may find valuable:
If you want to engage the customer earlier on to promote brand awareness and lead generation, Facebook ads are your best bet.
However, if you are interested in generating a faster sale with more targeted purchase intent ads, Google ads may be more effective, albeit at a slightly higher price.
If you enjoyed this article, please let me know in the comments below!