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For Clicks Sake: Comparing Advertising Costs between Google AdWords and Facebook

Are you unsure whether you should be spending your advertising budget with Google AdWords or social media advertising through networks such as Facebook?

If so, then what you might need to help you make the decision is a way to compare the costs between the two. In this post, we’re going to look at how you can estimate the cost of a Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads budget.

A Few Things to Note

Before we get started, here are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind during this process.

  • Most advertising platforms, especially Google AdWords, based the cost of a click on your ad on a variety of factors, including the keyword(s) you are targeting. While one business may only need to target keywords that cost less than a dollar per click, others might be targeting keywords that are $20+ per click.

  • Paid search advertising generally only allows you to target your ads based on keywords searched, location of the search user, and language. Social media advertising generally allows you to target by deeper customer demographics such as location, gender, marital status, subjects they like, and who they are connected to.

  • Depending on how you set up social media ads, you could be charged for more than just a click to your website. Social media networks often charge based on engagement, meaning people who see your ad, people who click on any part of your ad (but not necessarily the link itself), and people who engage with your ad through likes, comments, and shares. This can increase the cost without increasing the results to your bottom line.

  • You can control your costs on all advertising platforms by setting the maximum bid amount for each click or interaction with your ad, as well as a daily maximum budget and maximum overall budget. You can effectively choose any bid amount you want, but if another company is bidding a higher amount for the same terms or targeted audience, their ad will be shown instead of or above yours.

With these things in mind, here’s how you can compare estimated costs of your advertising budget with search vs. social.

Estimating Your Advertising Costs

The best way to estimate your advertising costs for Google AdWords is to use the Keyword Planner tool to estimate the CPC for the keywords you are targeting, whereas on social networks, you will have to set up your ad to find out the suggested bid price. Here are the steps to doing each. We’ll use the example business of an online store that sells baby clothing in the United States.

Google AdWords

To use Google Keyword Planner, you must have a Google AdWords account.  You will need to set up your AdWords account first, then go to the Tools > Keyword Planner. Using this tool, you will enter the keywords you think your ideal customers would search.

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When you click Get Ideas, you will then select the Keyword Ideas tab to see the details about each keyword you searched. Here, you will see the estimated search volume along with the suggested bid amount per click.

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Beneath this, you will also get additional keyword ideas that you could target, each with estimated search volume plus a suggested bid amount. If you decided to target just the terms you entered, your suggested bid amounts per click would range from $1.01 to $2.29. This means an advertising campaign that received 100 clicks could range from $101–$229 dollars. Alternatively, an advertising campaign with a total budget of $100 could receive anywhere from 43–99 clicks.

Facebook Ads

To estimate the cost of a Facebook ad for the same business, you will go to Facebook Ads and select Clicks to Website or Website Conversions (if you have conversion tracking in Facebook set up).

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Next, you will set up your ad as you would want it to appear on Facebook and configure the settings, including demographic targeting of your audience. For the example business, they take advantage of targeting options under More Categories that includes selecting expectant parents and parents of children ages 0–3.

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Once you’ve set up your Campaign and Budget, you can select the option under Bidding and Pricing to manually set your maximum bid for clicks. When you do this, you will see a suggested bid amount appear under the Audience Definition box.

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This means an advertising campaign that received 100 clicks could range from $27–$58 dollars. Alternatively, an advertising campaign with a total budget of $100 could receive anywhere from 172–370 clicks.

Running a True Test

A true test as to which ad platform is best for your business is to run ads on both platforms at the same time with a small but equal budget and see which results in the most traffic and conversions on your website using Google Analytics goals. This should give you a good indicator if one advertising platform – AdWords or Facebook – works best for your business.

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Kristi Hines

Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter and .

Leave a Comment

  • CommonCents210

    Very helpful blog and well written, I’m off to setup my Adwords campaign.

  • Sunny

    I have used footrr.com for my local business and it worked really well. Their click ratio is really good as my ad was delivered right in user’s email with regular content. Basically footrr.com’s ad will not look to obvious and unlike adwords, footrr.com’s ads are displayed right in the middle of screen where user is more likely to click and get coverted to customer.