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Interests vs. Intent: Comparing Facebook Advertising and Google AdWords




When looking to promote your business, should you focus on Facebook advertising or a search engine alternative such as Google AdWords? Answering that question is crucial to making sure that your budget is well-spent. Ultimately, the two options come down to the simple difference between intent and interest.


Google’s Strategy: Intent

Google AdWords, through which you can place ads on its search engine and audience network, has a straightforward targeting mechanism: keywords. You can refine your target geographically, and then bid on individual words and phrases you believe your audience likely searches for.

In other words, when you target an ad in AdWords, you will need to find keywords that relate to what you have to offer. If a member of your audience types that keyword into Google, your ad will show up.

Focusing your advertising on the intent of your users can come with a number of advantages. Above all, if you target the right keywords, you know that users seeing your ads already have expressed a certain level of intent to learn more about a product like yours. If someone searches for ‘local fashion boutique in [city]’, for example, you know that your ad promoting your clothing outlet will be relevant.


Facebook’s Alternative: Audience Targeting

Facebook takes the opposite approach to Google. It allows marketers to use a variety of variables to make sure the audience that sees your ads is actually relevant and a part of your target. Just a few of these variables include:

  • Interest-based targeting. If Facebook users like a page or have otherwise expressed interested in a general topic, you can target them based on that topic. For example, a self-declared football fan may be a great target for fan gear.
  • Behavioral targeting. In partnering with a variety of external data collection firm, Facebook allows marketers to take advantage of their users’ recent behaviors. For example, you can show ads to users based on recent trips they took, or whether they are new homeowners. 
  • Exclusion Targeting. Both of the above options also allow for exclusions, which help you significantly lower your target. For example, you may want to target Facebook users based on their education level to market your higher ed institution. In that case, you’ll want to exclude any college graduates to increase the relevance of your target.

Of course, Facebook’s targeting options don’t end there. In fact, we haven’t even touched on what may be the most important, targeted, and beneficial option for marketers: custom audiences.

The network, for instance, allows marketers to target only recent visitors to their website, increasing the relevance and time period in which your brand will appear in your audience’s news feed. Similarly, you can also upload a list of your current customers, and tell the platform to show ads only to users who exhibit similar characteristics to your customers.


Reaching Your Target Audience

While they are both among the most powerful digital advertising options available to marketers around the world, Google and Facebook offer very specific options whose benefits depend on your needs. Action-oriented ads, for example, tend to perform well on Google, if you know the keywords your audience likely searches for when they are doing research in your industry.

On the other hand, Facebook allows you to discover and target potential customers who may not even know about your brand or its benefits yet. Understanding the difference of intent vs. interest is key to understanding how the two digital marketing platforms differ for businesses like yours.

Of course, you still need to be strategic in terms of understanding your target audience and marketing specifically to them. Ultimately, your targeting needs to help you reach your strategic objectives – and depending on your individual situation, both Google AdWords and Facebook allow you to do just that.


Call us today, for more information on how we can help you grow your business at Small Dog Creative 661-702-1310!




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