Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads – Is One Platform Better to Advertise on Than the Other?

A common question for many business owners when it comes to online advertising is  where is my budget better spent?

Google, with over 85% of the search market share, is undoubtedly known as the most popular search engine on the internet as Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. Both Google and Facebook are valuable places to advertise your business, but for different reasons depending on a few factors.

We all know that both time and money are limited, so where should you start with paid advertising to get the best bang for your buck?

No matter if you’re an expert in pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or if you’re just getting started, this article will help you understand the key differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads and which is the best fit for you.

What is the Main Difference Between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?

Before we look at the factors that make each of these advertising platforms their own, let’s take a look at the main difference between Facebook ads and Google ads.

Google ads = paid search

As Google is the world’s largest, most popular search engine, it is also the largest PPC advertising platform.

Google ads is a paid search platform working on a pay-per-click model where ads show up in search results above organic results giving immense opportunity to advertisers. 

Pay-per-click means exactly what it says – you do not pay until someone clicks on your ad.

Paid search primarily focuses on targeting specific keywords that advertisers bid on in hopes that their ads will be displayed on SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) when specific words and phrases (keywords) are searched by Google users.

Every time a user clicks on a Google ad, the advertiser is charged a certain amount of money. 

Facebook ads = paid social

A great example of advertising on social networks, also known as “paid social”, is Facebook ads.

With more than 2 billion active monthly users, Facebook has become a highly competitive element across many businesses’ digital advertising strategies.

You may think that advertising on Facebook is similar to advertising on Google as advertisers use both platforms to promote their business online… but this is where the two become very different.

Unlike paid search advertising, where businesses can be found with keywords, paid social helps connect users to businesses based on their interests and behaviors online. 

A common strategy used with facebook ads is retargeting. Facebook retargeting ads are one of the platform’s prime advertising features where these ads allow you to reach out to users who are already familiar with your brand. We’ll touch back on this advantage later in the article.

When Should You Use One Advertising Platform Over The Other?

Now that we’ve covered the primary difference between Google ads and Facebook ads, let’s take a look into the features of advertising on each platform and how they can be used effectively.

Targeting users 

Google ads target users based on specific keywords pertaining to their search queries. By doing keyword research, you can find out exactly what users are searching for to target them accordingly.

Targeting through Facebook ads allows you to target users based on how they interact online. You can focus on demographics, interests, previous behaviors and more.

Although Facebook users don’t use the platform to search for products as they would with Google, with the many different targeting options available, you still have the opportunity to get yourself in front of your audience.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, Facebook retargeting allows you to reconnect with users who have previously interacted with your business in some way. 

This could include users who have:

  • Interacted with your Instagram or Facebook page
  • Shared their email with you
  • Watched your videos (or a portion of them)
  • Interacted with your app
  • Viewed or taken actions on your website

As of late 2020, retargeting on Facebook has changed. With the Apple 14.3 IOS update, Apple will now require people to opt-in to having their data tracked…instead of requiring them to opt-out, which had been the standard. This update will affect your retargeting efforts if you do not take action.

For more information on this update and ways to mitigate the damage to your Facebook ads caused by the IOS 14.3 change, check out our article on How to Avoid Losing All of Your Retargeting Traffic.

Giving users what they want, where they want it

Since Google users see ads based on the keywords they search, it is more likely that they will click on an ad in Google since it is something that they intentionally searched for. 

It is likely that those who are served ads while searching on Google are further along in the buyer journey, making them that much closer to purchasing.

When advertising on Facebook, you are most likely putting your product or service in front of an audience who has never heard of you before. You are reaching customers where they already are – social media. 

Since social media users use the platform to “hangout” and socialize as opposed to using Google to look for answers, they might not be as far along in the buyer journey as they did not intentionally seek out your product/service.

When this occurs, you have to hope that you are offering the right ad at the right time, hoping that they move along in the buying process.

What is the goal of the ad?

Obviously the goal of every ad is to sell a product or service. But based on what the audience is seeking, these goals change ever so slightly.

The main goal of Facebook ads is to promote awareness of your company, product or service. Advertising to people based on their interests over time will lead to reaching more goals (website visits, new clients, and even purchases!) as users become more familiar with you.

When you advertise on Google, you are advertising with a goal to sell immediately since you are targeting specific keywords. 

We know that when users search with specific keywords, they know what they’re looking for and they are more likely to purchase upon finding the product that they want. This is where you are able to make it easy for them to find exactly what they are looking for.

So… Facebook Ads or Google Ads? Is One Platform Really Better Than the Other?

In reality, one of these platforms isn’t necessarily better then the other because both platforms perform differently from one another, bringing unique benefits to the table.

Benefits of using Google:

  • Target ready-to-purchase users
  • Choose from a variety of ad formats
  • Analyze your ads with Google Analytics

Benefits of using Facebook:

  • Expansive audience (over 2.4 billion users!)
  • Granular targeting based on demographics
  • Visually appealing, fun ads

These two platforms should be seen as complementary to one another rather than being viewed in an adversarial way.

You will ultimately find the most success with advertising on both platforms as you will not only show up for popular keywords that users search for on Google, but you will also target users by their interests and behaviors through your ads on facebook.

Why not create the largest possible audience by advertising on both platforms to reach a multitude of new potential customers?

Not sure where to begin with advertising your business? Let us help you. Send me (Stacey Ivol) an email at si@iftsdesign.com or give IFTS, Inc. a call 412.715.6266 for a FREE consultation.

Are You Prepared For the Apple 14.3 iOS Update – How To Avoid Losing All of Your Retargeting Traffic

Are you prepared for the Apple iOS update that could drastically affect any Facebook advertising you may be doing?

Late last year, Apple announced that they would be implementing new privacy updates to iOS 14.3. One new feature is that users will now be able to see how each app uses their data.  The most significant change is that Apple will now require people to opt-in to having their data tracked…instead of requiring them to opt-out, which had been the standard.

The message that will pop-up is below:

Facebook has been trying to fight Apple on this by stating that it will hurt small businesses.  They took out newspaper ads, ran Facebook ads against it, and explored other options, but the rollout has already started.  In fact, some people started receiving this pop-up in late December 2020.

What Happens When People Opt Out Of Being Tracked?

What does opting out mean for your Facebook ads?

You will not be able to track online conversions from users on mobile devices like you used to, and your retargeting audiences will change or will be missing iOS users.

One positive thing to note – when people interact with your ads in the Facebook app, that behavior is still able to be tracked.  So, you can still see the stats for your videos, reactions, comments etc.

However, once a person clicks on an ad and is taken to another site, the Facebook Pixel will not be able to identify that person.  This means that you can’t track if they convert and you cannot retarget them.

What Happens When People Opt In To Being Tracked?

Currently, Facebook is estimating that about 10 – 15 percent of people will opt-in to being tracked.  

If a person has opted-in to being tracked, there are some changes to that ability as well according to Facebook:

  • You will only be able to track conversions that happen within 7 days after clicking your ad (instead of the standard 28 days)
  • All tracking and statistics may be delayed up to 3 days
  • Personalized ads on audience networks will be very difficult to serve and this functionality may be discontinued

Here is a quick summary of what this means for your Facebook Ads:

  1. You will no longer be able to retarget iOS website visitors
  2. You will not be able to exclude your current customers from seeing your ads using the “Audiences” feature
  3. Your conversion tracking numbers will no longer be accurate

The question on everyone’s mind is “What can we do to limit the impact of this change?

How To Tell If This Change Will Affect Your Facebook Campaigns

If you want to see how this change will affect you, you can see how many people are clicking on your ad or viewing your video broken down by device.  Facebook has a view setting for you to check out.

Open your ads manager and click on “Breakdown” > “By Delivery” > “Impression Device”.  This view will show you the results of your campaign, broken down by device.  

In the example below, you can see that iPhones and iPads account for 50% of our video thruplays.

If your campaigns are targeting a large percentage of iOS users and you use retargeting, you’ll definitely need to take mitigating steps to account for this update.

How To Mitigate The Damage To Your Facebook Ads Caused By The iOS 14.3 Change

Facebook has outlined 2 quick steps to take right away to manage these changes.

Step 1 – Verify Your Domain Through Facebook

In order to track ANYTHING on your website with the Facebook Pixel, you need to go through the verification process.  This will require access to your DNS records.

Open your Facebook Manager and go to “Business Settings”.  Select the “Domains” option inside of “Brand Safety” on the menu, then click the blue “Add” button.

Enter your domain name and follow the instructions to verify your domain through adding a TXT entry to your DNS records.

Step 2 – Make Sure You Only Use 8 Tracking Events Going Forward

A tracking event on Facebook allows you to track the actions that people take on your site.  For instance, you can keep tabs on how many people purchase a specific product.

Some examples of tracking events are:

  • PageViews
  • Leads
  • Purchases

And more.

To see how many events you are currently tracking, go to your “Events Manager” inside your Facebook Manager.  

If you have 8 or less, you are fine to keep your tracking strategy the same.  If you have 9 or more, you will need to choose the 8 that are the most important to you.  Make sure that you have them in priority order.

How to Overcome the Main Issues That Result From Limited Tracking From the Facebook App

What are the alternative ways to create retargeting audiences?

  • Collect email addresses first in your funnel.  Then, use these email addresses to create a custom audience in Facebook by uploading a csv file.
  • Create a retargeting audience by using an informational video that would be very helpful to your target audience as an ad.  Then, retarget the people that watched more than 50% of the video.
  • Set up custom conversions through the Facebook API to allow you to collect the numbers that you need.  There may be a manual step within this process, but it will allow you to collect the information to make informed decisions about your advertising budget.

In conclusion, iOS 14.3 has started to go live and will affect your Facebook retargeting efforts if you don’t take any action at all.  Tracking your visitors and your conversions will not be an option from anyone using an Apple mobile device.

Be sure to verify your domain name and check if you are below 8 tracking events.  Then, start implementing alternative plans to create audiences of your ideal client.

Need help creating a plan to account for these changes or do you want help putting it all into action?  Give IFTS a call at 412.715.6266 or email me (si@iftdesign.com) to ask about our small business special for the iOS 14.3 change!

Top 3 Social Media Management Tools

A strong social media presence can help your business in a multitude of ways, but keeping up with posting on multiple social platforms can be a chore. Thankfully, there are social media management tools out there to make the job easier and help you manage every one of your social profiles and pages in one place, so you can spend more time on other aspects of your business. These tools are designed to save you time and help you build an audience.

In this post we compare the top 3 social media management tools, Sprout Social, Buffer, and Hootsuite, if you need help deciding which may be the best fit for you.

What makes a good social media management tool?

Buffer, Sprout Social and Hootsuite all cater to a broad range of social networks. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn – the four most popular social channels are compatible with all 3 of these social media management tools.

People mainly turn to social media management tools for the convenience of scheduling posts which makes it extremely easy and convenient when coordinating multiple campaigns.

Given the ability to schedule and post across all of your social networks at once is going to save you a lot of time- especially when you wear many hats within a business. If the convenience of posting to all of your social accounts at once isn’t enough, you also have the ability to tag locations on Facebook and add hashtags on Instagram posts.

Top 3 social media scheduling tools

  1. Buffer

Buffer is the most straightforward tool to use for scheduling your social media posts and also allows you to measure your performance on social sites, create reports, and gain insights to grow engagement.

Buffer supports the 4 most popular social channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and Pinterest updates can be scheduled for pro users.

Buffer is great for collaboration within teams – but only if you are willing to pay for a more expensive plan.

Buffer’s free version includes one user, 3 social media accounts and 10 posts per profile. Their Pro plan is ideal for those who are just getting started. This plan is $15/month and includes one user, up to 8 social accounts and 100 scheduled posts. An option for growing brands would be the Premium package ($65/month) where you can add up to 8 social accounts, schedule 2,000 posts and have 2 users. Now, Buffer has an ideal option for larger teams coming in at $99/month that includes up to 25 social accounts, 2,000 scheduled posts and 6 users on the account.  

  1. Sprout Social

Sprout Social is a great all in one tool for managing and scheduling all of your social media accounts through one platform. 

Sprout Social stands out for its ability to handle team interaction. Several team members can collaborate on drafts and you can distribute permissions or request approval before posts are published. Sprout Social also makes it easy to assign tasks to other team members. Although Sprout Social is the best management tool for team-based social media management, you have to pay the monthly fee per user.

Sprout Social offers a free 30-day trial. After that, prices start at $99/user per month for up to 5 different social profiles. They offer additional plans that include more profiles and features.

  1. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is the best management tool for scheduling as well as analytics. With this tool, you can connect 35 social networks including the top 4 – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. 

If you are looking to make use of the analytics feature, Hootsuite is the tool for you. Hootsuite will help you understand the results generated from your social posts to measure your performance. From there, you can generate reports to use within your organization.

Hootsuite works great for individuals as well as teams. You can assign access to team members and customize permissions for each individual user. You can even assign specific tasks to your team members (like responding to comments or incoming messages), then approve the outgoing responses before they’re sent.

There are 3 different plans available that include unlimited scheduling, where the difference lies in the amount of users and number of social profiles that can be connected. Professional plan allows one user and up to 10 social profiles. Team plan allows 3 users and up to 20 social media profiles. Business plan allows 5-10 users as well as up to 35 social media profiles.

Which social media tool is best for you?

Hoostuite takes the cake at being the all-in-one tool that has the biggest list of compatible networks. It offers more analytical tools that go just beyond scheduling your own posts. The business plans are moderately priced, so if you’re looking to use it within a large organization it’s likely worth it. For no-frills social media management, Buffer is the most straightforward tool that focuses on sharing your posts while it allows for simple team interaction. Buffer is ideal for your typical business that is just getting started and doesn’t have a ton of resources to devote to social media. Sprout Social ranks #1 as it has the best collaborative features of the three but it comes at a premium price point.

5 Social Media Marketing Secrets Nobody Has Told You About

Surely and quickly, social media marketing is becoming one of the most important ways for businesses to reach their target market. But why? 

How does social media provide such incredible benefits? It wasn’t too long ago that social platforms were only used to connect with family & friends.

The truth is, over the past few years, things have changed… A lot! Today, over 90% of marketers have noticed how social media has significantly increased their exposure. And this can only mean 1 thing: if you’re not using social media to your advantage, you’re missing out on an incredible marketing opportunity. 

That in mind, here are 5 “secrets” about social media marketing that no one’s telling you about: 

1. Social Media Marketing can help your SEO

What does social media have to do with search engine optimization? The idea is simple: search engines know which pages on your website are getting traffic and which ones aren’t. This means that, each time your content is shared on social media, traffic will be sent to your website that tells the search engines your website is still relevant, helping you to maintain your rankings or climb faster in the search engine results pages. The more shares you have on social media, the more opportunities people have to see your content and link to it.

2. Social Media helps you know your target market

By taking an interest in your “fans” on social media, you can easily find out who your target market is! By simply looking at their profiles and seeing what other brands they follow, you can learn what products they buy, what their hobbies are and maybe even what they like most about other brands. The more you know about your audience, the better you can market your products or services.

3. A Social Media presence helps you increase your brand awareness

People don’t look at Facebook or Instagram and see a marketing platform. They see a social network! That in mind, the more you interact with everyone, the sooner you can start building a relationship with your audience and grow as a brand. Social media is a great platform for brands to maintain customer relationships, while also having the opportunity to be found by new leads. 

4. Social platforms allow you to target and RE-target to your audience

Did you know you can narrow down your audience on social media and target only your ideal customers? Not only that, but Facebook allows you to retarget your products and services to anyone who was “this close” to becoming your client! If someone visited your website, but left before making a purchase, you can add that person to your list of “almost clients” and deliver your ads to them in the hopes that they convert.

5. Social Media Marketing is cost effective and fair

Did you think you’d have to spend a fortune to market your business on social media? Creating a business profile is free and so is being active. And if you decide to advertise on Social Media, you can always start small if you don’t know what to expect.

One of the best things about social media is that it’s a fair way to market your business. Sure, bigger brands have some advantages like bigger marketing budgets and better name recognition. But everyone can create a social account for free and dedicate their time to engage with their audience.


If you need help with social media or even just want it done for you.. contact us at IFTS!

Visit our website for more information!

What is the Best Time to Post on Social Media?

What is the best time to post on social media? 

This may sound like a ridiculous question, but there absolutely is a right time to post on social media.  Audience engagement is one of the key factors when selecting times to post.  More likes, comments, and shares can result from a well-timed post, although timing can vary depending on industry and your specific audience. 

At the end of this guide, you will have a better idea on how to experiment with your social channels to find the perfect time to engage with your audience on those that you appear.

How To Find the ABSOLUTE BEST Time to Post on Social Media

Get Totally Familiar with Your Audience

Look at your best clients or clients that you want to attract.  What common demographics or psychographics do they have?  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are their age ranges?
  • Where are they from?  A specific city, state, country?
  • What do they do for a living?  Do they work for a specific company or companies?
  • Are they more likely to use a mobile phone or a desktop?

Create a complete picture of your target audience using these questions.  This will help you develop a publishing schedule that best caters to them.

Test different times with similar content

If you want accurate results, test consistently. Use the same content (or content that is very similar) when it comes to testing out different times to post. This way, you don’t receive a false positive with a not so engaging post that is shared at a high-traffic time.

Keep an eye on your competitors profiles

Make note of when your competitors are receiving high amounts of engagement and what kind of content they are posting. Create an opposing schedule for yourself and make note of the data. Do you also see a boost at the same time? 

Take note of what others in your industry are posting on social media and what their engagement looks like. Larger organizations with sophisticated social strategies are great examples to help you find a starting point for your posting schedule. 

Continue testing 

Even if you find times that are working great for you, keep testing! Audience habits, and network algorithms are going to continue to change which we ultimately have no control over.

Create a social media report for yourself and keep track of when you are receiving the most engagement as well as what the content is. Decide how often you’ll experiment with your social channels and keep adding to the list to make sure you are maximizing your efforts for your content to be seen and engaged with!

What time should YOU post on social media for your business? 

Hootsuite, using data from 300 brands, identified what day/time of the week is the best to post and receive maximum engagement. They have also broken the data down by social network.  The results are further divided into B2B and B2C categories.

For the most productive posting time on social media, you should schedule your posts between 9 am and 12 pm during the early work week, according to Hootsuite’s data.  

Let’s Break it Down By Platform…

Facebook – Best Time to Post

B2B brands: 9am – 2 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

B2C brands: 12pm EST on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Things to consider when posting on Facebook

Twitter – Best Time to Post

Can you guess how long Hootsuite data claims is the average lifespan of a tweet?

Give up?  It’s  only 18 minutes!

This makes your posting schedule for twitter that much more important.

B2B brands: 9am – 4pm EST (emphasis on the 11am to 1pm window) on Monday or Thursday

B2C brands: 12pm – 1pm EST from Monday thru Wednesday.

Things to consider when posting on Twitter

Instagram – Best Time to Post

Hootsuite analyzed their top Instagram accounts in multiple industries to pinpoint their most productive posting times.

Professional Services Industry : Early in the workday on Fridays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 9 am – 10 am.

Professional services usually post informative, educational content such as links to videos and blog posts. This is content that people are more likely to interact with earlier in the day while they’re at work.

It is suggested that if you are just launching your social media accounts, do not schedule posts on the weekends/evenings unless your testing has shown this to be effective.

LinkedIn – Best Time to Post

According to data from Hootsuite, the best time to post on LinkedIn is 7:45 am, 10:45 am, 12:45 pm, and 5:45 pm. 

B2B brands: Wednesday was found to be the best day to post. 

B2C brands: Mondays and Wednesdays

Amanda Wood, Social Marketing Lead at Hootsuite says “The Hootsuite social team posts on the 45-miute mark because most brands are posting on the hour.” This is interesting because it offsets your posts from being thrown into the mix with competitors, giving you an opportunity to be seen outside of those flooded peak hours.

Things to consider when posting on LinkedIn

All of these timing recommendations can be used as starting points, then supplement internal data that you have found through testing to maximize your engagement.