Should Your Dealership Spend More Ad Budget on Google or Facebook?

Should Your Dealership Spend More Ad Budget on Google or Facebook?

In 2019 alone, Google and Facebook earned $135 billion and $70 billion in ad revenue, respectively. This begs the question: To which of these should your dealership’s ad money go?

With the continuing growth of both of these platforms, small businesses – including car dealers – are making tough decisions about how to balance their marketing budgets.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which One Deserves More Money?

This is a common question we get from customers and contacts, and it has a common answer: It depends.

Before a dealership marketing manager dives in and builds a campaign on either of these platforms, they should look at the expected outcomes.

While both platforms will send plenty of visitors to your website, they each have unique attributes and capabilities that will help you decide where to stack your precious advertising dollars.

Budgeting for Ads on Google and Facebook

Before you set the budget on your first campaign on either of these platforms, you need to answer these two important questions regarding your store’s digital marketing strategy:

  1. What is the goal of this campaign? While this seems obvious, we’ve seen many independent marketers make the mistake of diving into Google Ads without a clear view of the desired outcome (or KPI). Knowing what the finish line looks like is key to beating competitors and winning the race. You need to know the numbers on your website. For example, if you want 10 new customers, and you know your visitors have a 10% conversion rate, you need at least 100 visitors.
  2. What is the expected CPC? Keywords are the foundation of Google’s search campaigns, while targeting is essential for Facebook ads. Identify the right keywords and then analyze the expected CPC. This will help you calculate how many visits could happen within a certain budget. On Facebook, use the audience insights tool to forecast your performance for certain kinds of campaigns.

With these two questions answered fully, you can then calculate your daily or monthly budget on either platform.

Key Differences Between Advertising on Facebook vs. Google

Both of these platforms work together quite well for auto dealers. Our agency regularly uses Facebook to gain top-of-funnel brand awareness, and Google Ads to nurture visitors over time. Both platforms offer great features for retargeting visitors.

While both platforms offer significant benefits for maximizing reach, there are some fundamental differences that impact the budget for each.

Paid Social for Auto Dealers

Ads on social networks allow you to reach audiences based on location, browsing behavior, interests, and demographics. Layering all of these aspects allows marketers to talk specifically to their high-value audiences.

These targeting parameters are based on data that is given to Facebook by the users themselves. The rich library of user data allows Facebook to show hyper-relevant ads to every user.

Paid social platforms like Facebook also have several unique placement options. For example, anyone creating a Facebook ad in Ads Manager can distribute their campaign to Instagram at the click of a button.

Plus, Facebook offers several visual formats, including static images, scrolling carousels, full-screen catalogs, videos, messenger prompts, and even conversion forms built right into the ad.

The social nature of Facebook also applies to its ads, where people can leave reactions and comments. For that reason, it’s important for someone at your business to monitor your ads and respond to comments throughout the lifetime of the campaign.

Paid social is also relatively cheap. Agency Analytics reports that the average cost-per-acquisition (CPA) across all industries on Facebook came to $18.68 in 2019, while the CPA for Google Ads levitated up to $48.96.

The value of paid social is also in the details. As we reported in our most recent Automotive Performance Benchmarks Report, the average cost per click (CPC) for paid social is $1.82, while the CPC for Facebook ads was down at just 63¢.

But before you choose your horse in this race, it’s important to know the unique value of search ads.

Paid Search for Auto Dealers

Platforms like Google and Bing allow advertisers to target customers based on the keywords they search.

This straightforward approach comes with unique benefits:

  1. Advertisers can constantly research the performance of certain keywords over time, and even choose similar keywords that will bring in the same quality of traffic.
  2. Because of the sheer volume of traffic on Google – more than 40,000 search queries every second – advertisers have the luxury of being able to set specific bids for each keyword within the same campaign.
  3. Google Ad campaigns can be coordinated for several purposes, including promotions, products, services, and general branding.

Some keywords cost much more than others. Financial and legal keywords, for example, are much more expensive than e-commerce or hotels.

Another unique aspect of paid search is intent. For example, advertisers know that when a person searches for “Toyota dealer near me” they’re a much hotter lead than a person who is searching for “Toyota models” or “when was the first Toyota made.”

Analyzing the search keywords that bring people to your website is a great way to find useful insights for your paid search strategy.

Finding the right high-volume, low-cost keywords is really important on paid search. We’ve outlined this tactic (and other money-saving hacks) in this free Google Ads eBook ⬇️

Good Google advertisers know that when you hone in on your high-converting keywords, you can easily justify the relatively high CPA.

How Do Facebook and Google Fit Together?

While these platforms have many differences, they both can play key roles within your PPC strategy. WordStream says it best:

Harnessing the power of both paid search and paid social is a remarkably effective advertising strategy. However, it necessitates a dual advertising strategy that aligns with the strengths of each respective platform. Although marketing messaging can – and arguably should – remain consistent across both Google Ads and Facebook Ads, it’s vital to understand how best to use each platform for maximum ROI and greater business growth.

As you start out on each platform, commit to analyzing the results and improving your campaigns over time. It doesn’t happen overnight, but with the right knowledge and dedication, your business can make a splash on Google and Facebook.

If you know the personas of your core customers, start on Facebook, where you can find very granular targeting options. If you’d like to dive into those options, see our roundup of our top Facebook ad targeting tips for auto dealers.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a keen sense of your demographics, you can still find your core customers by researching and selecting the right keywords for Google Ads.

In either case, the budget (and its allocation) depends on the competition and the volume of traffic you need to convert visitors to your website.

Get the Data Your Dealership Needs

Budget allocation poses one of the most challenging aspects of digital marketing for automotive. That’s why 9 Clouds bases all of its decisions on data, and why we report that data to you in the form of ebooks, webinars, case studies, and more.

If you’d like to learn more about advertising on Facebook and Google, download our 2020 Performance Benchmarks Report today. This handy PDF is chock full of real-world insight for auto dealers.

Don’t work in automotive? No problem! Find many more helpful resources in our Education Library.

DOWNLOAD THE BENCHMARKS REPORT »