Digital Duopoly

Every industry has its titans. In the world of digital advertising, there are two unquestionable behemoths: Google and Facebook.

Indeed, the so-called duopoly captured 48.4% of all U.S. digital ad revenue in 2022.

Of course, you’ve likely placed ads on both platforms whether you’re a new or experienced agent. But with marketing budgets tighter than ever — thanks to an equally tight real estate market — you may be wondering: which platform gives a better ROI?

Like most things in digital marketing, there’s no clear-cut answer. By understanding these ad platforms better, though, you’ll have a clearer view of where it’s best to use which solution.

Getting to Know Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Turning Search Into A Selling Opportunity
First, let’s begin with one of the pioneers of digital marketing: Google.

As you may know, Google is the world’s favored search engine, with a commanding 93.12% market share as of May 2023. This is crucial because almost half (47%) of buyers begin their home search online.

Knowing this, Google built out an advertising platform that leverages its massive audience — or to be more precise, billions of people looking for answers on its website. That’s why Google ads are very keyword-driven because they’re trying to anticipate what people search for and create ads that address those queries.

Perhaps the most oft-used and familiar Google ads are the text-based ones, which appear at the very top of search results pages, ahead of the organic or non-sponsored results. As an agent, the following may prove especially useful to you:

Display Ads
These are images, videos, or even text ads that appear on websites that are part of the Google Display Network.

Video Ads
These are the pre-roll, mid-roll, or post-roll video ads you see on YouTube.

Making Timelines A Marketing Channel
On the other hand, there’s Facebook, the undisputed king of social media networks with close to three billion users worldwide.

With such an expansive user base — about two billion of which use it each day — it was only a matter of time before Facebook would monetize its timeline.

In the same way that Facebook’s algorithm curates your timeline based on your interests and behavior, so too does it determine which ads you see. Put another way, if it thinks an ad aligns with your interests, then it will show it to you.

Over the last decade, the kinds of ads you can create on Facebook have multiplied. Below are some of the formats you could use to sell homes:

Image and Video Ads
The two most basic and commonly used ad types on the platform.

Carousel Ads
This allows you to show a photo or video gallery of various products in one ad.

Instant Ads
These mobile-exclusive, full-screen ads create an immersive experience.

Lead Ads
As the name suggests, these ads allow you to collect contact information from interested prospects.

Messenger Ads
Reach out to prospects with ads that land right in their Messenger inbox.

Stories Ads
These ephemeral ads are a great way to reach younger buyers or sellers.

How are they similar?

Yes, Facebook Ads and Google Ads may seem different on the surface, but they actually share a lot of things in common, such as:

Both are pay-per-click
This means that you only pay when prospects actually interact with your ads, thereby optimizing your marketing budget.

Both let you target certain audiences
These platforms have robust targeting tools that let you display your ads to people depending on their demographics, location, interests, browsing activity, and more.

Both have ad auction mechanisms
If you want to run a Facebook or Google Ad, you’ll need to bid on the right to place your advertisement.

Both have multimedia ad formats
Different ads work well with different audiences, which is why Facebook and Google have various formats for you to choose from.

Both have budget controls
You won’t have to worry about overspending because these two platforms allow you to set the exact limit on your marketing spend.

Both let you do remarketing
Prospects rarely convert on first exposure to your ad. Remarketing lets you re-engage them on other platforms they visit, such as websites.

Both have an analytics suite
There’s no need to guess whether your ads are converting. Facebook and Google both have analytics capabilities that show you the real-time performance of your ads.

How are they different?

On the flip side, each advertising platform has features that set them apart. These include:

User intent vs. user interests
Simply put, Google Ads target people who are searching for keywords related to real estate, while Facebook Ads target those who don’t necessarily have immediate purchase intent but may be likely to. That’s why Google Ads appear when you type keywords into the search bar, while Facebook Ads are served on your timeline.

Ad auctions
In Google Ads auctions, you bid on relevant keywords; your bid amount and the relevance of your ad determine its position on SERPs. Meanwhile, Facebook Ads also factors in bid amount and ad relevance, but also takes into account audience targeting, action rates, placement, and optimization when computing rates.

While there are a few Google Ad formats to choose from, there aren’t nearly as many as those offered by Facebook Ads. That’s not bad per se — it just means that you’ll have to decide which platform offers the best solution for the listing you want to promote.

Which advertising platform should you use?

Neither platform is inherently better than the other per se. Rather, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both equally effective — though they target audiences at different ends of the sales funnel.

If You Want To Generate Awareness
Think of Facebook Ads as TV commercials: they coexist with the content on your timeline and occasionally show you ads that may align with your interest and browsing behavior. Because people don’t actively seek out such content, Facebook Ads are more useful for creating awareness and generating leads than outright sales. This means that such ads are helpful in targeting prospects higher up in the sales funnel who are just beginning their home search.

If You Want To Reach High-Intent Prospects
On the flip side, Google Ads target people who are deeper into their home-buying journey and lower down the sales funnel. In fact, they already have a clear idea of what kind of house they might want (hence search phrases like “3 bedroom 2 bathroom home in Temecula for $750,000). For this reason, you can create ads that address such queries, which increases your likelihood of getting a conversion. It also really helps that your ads will be placed atop the organic search results, so they command prime online real estate.

Your Action Plan
In all likelihood, you’ll need a combination of both Facebook Ads and Google Ads to effectively generate leads and sales. The Push-Pull-Pester model is a simple but powerful strategy that you can employ:

Push: Use Facebook Ads to help prospects find you.

Pull: Use Google Ads to help you find high-intent prospects.

Pester: Use remarketing to re-engage prospects who are likely interested but are on the fence.

Need help with Facebook Ads and Google Ads?

Finding the right mix between these two platforms can be challenging. That’s why Agent Image offers expert digital marketing services so you get the most out of your budget.

This content was originally published here.