Facebook Ads or Adwords?

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Facebook Ads or Adwords



So you wanna advertise online…:  

After realizing that newspaper ads aren’t working, it doesn’t take long before your thoughts drift to paid online advertising. It’s overwhelming when you first look at it, so let’s break it down.

2 platforms dominate: Facebook ads (“paid social”) and Adwords (the ads that appear when you enter search terms on Google). They operate completely differently.

Here’s the key difference. Facebook ads are based on who people are, while Google Adwords is based on what people are looking for.

“Give them quality. That is the best kind of advertising.“

– Milton Hershey, Founder of Hershey chocolate



The Basics:

Reach: These are monsters. Facebook has 1.3 billion monthly users and reaches 44% of all internet users. Google boasts 2.6 billion searches/ month and reaches 90% of all internet users.

Cost-per-click (CPC): This is the standard currency of online ads. Facebook’s CPC averages $0.45 for the retail industry. Google’s CPC is usually a few bucks depending on demand (the most expensive term, “insurance,” weighs in at $55).

Purpose: Google ads are best for immediate sales, often from an online store. Facebook is better suited for brand awareness and expanding your customer base.

Comparison #1 – Set Up:

If your Garden Centre has a Facebook page (if you don’t have one, stop reading now and make one), you’re set up for basic “Boosting.” Here’s what to do:

  • Click the blue BOOST button to the bottom right of the post.
  • Build an audience. Choose gender, age (remember that Facebook is a slightly younger audience) and region (you can pinpoint it exactly).
  • Add Demographics (ex. Parents of School Aged Children, aged 6-8), Interests (ex. Organic Gardening, and Behavior). The depth of the data here depend on your country (American advertisers have access to more information).
  • Set a budget, lifetime of the ad, and off you go.
  • You’ll be able to to check metrics by clicking under the ad.

Warning: Facebook ads are addictive. They also work, and as you see results, $10 per ad will turn to $100 to $500. Make a monthly budget, reflective of your projected sales, and stick to it.


Google Adwords is a more complex set-up. I’m not going to get into it because, unless you have in-house tech talent, it’s not DIY.

If you want Adwords, there will be an SEO agency down the block wanting to work with you. For most Garden Centres (and unless you have a large e-commerce store), I don’t recommend it.





Comparison #2 – Targeting:

If you want to buy a pair of shoes online, you’re likely to Google “sneakers size 11” or “mens shoes good for jogging.” These search terms will yield products that match exactly, because companies have lined up thousands of search terms in anticipation.

    On Facebook, that same shoes company might target Men, aged 16-30, who like sports and live in certain geographical areas. But they can’t target specifics, so Adwords is the better match.

Comparison #3 – Cost:

Adwords is priced based on supply and demand. If you’re selling life insurance or Viagara, you’ll pay over $10 per click (and that’s just to get them to your site). At that price, you’ll lose your shirt if you don’t have a cadillac strategy to convert visitors into buyers.

Garden Centre website are focused on contact information, education, and thought leadership. E-commerce is picking up steam, but still not the industry’s driving force.

Cost-per-click to drive people to your site from a Facebook ad is a fraction, as little as a dime if your post is engaging enough. If you’re telling people about a sale, asking them to sign up for a workshop, or just inviting them to read a blog so they sign up for your email, Facebook is your platform.



For Garden Centres: 

It’s not cost effective to drive customers to your product pages via Adwords just to look at them. You’re paying per click (usually a few bucks), so unless you have a solid e-commerce strategy in place, avoid getting into the weeds.

You need to be in Google’s good-books, but that’s a story more about Local SEO strategy than Adwords, and another article.

In my opinion, Facebook is the best place to invest your advertising dollars. Boost your most engaging posts (they’ll have the best ROI), and target people in your sales area in interested in gardening.

Start small, with $10 and $30 posts. I typically target women aged 27 and up within 15 miles of my Garden Centre. Be consistent, stay within your budget, and you’ll be playing Facebook like a videogame in no time!