Once you’ve decided that you are ready to invest in online marketing campaigns to expand your business, you have to decide which platform you want to start with. Or maybe you’ve worked with several platforms but only want to focus on one. Which is why clients ask us all the time if they should use Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads.
Facebook and Twitter’s ad systems have some similarities and some differences. They both give you the option to have your ad appear as content in with users’ content feeds. They both offer the potential viral sharing and branding that comes with advertising on social media. They both encourage engagement on the ad, and your business’s page or profile itself.
At the end of the day, both platforms have their pros and cons. Advertising on both, when possible, can be beneficial, but we’ve compiled a list of all the benefits and disadvantages of each platform, as well as a list of who ranks better in several critical areas.
Twitter, taking a note out of Facebook’s book of success, has recently announced remodeling the structure of their PPC ad system.
Before, Twitter would get paid by advertisers whenever a user interacted with their ad, including likes or retweets. Now they are restructuring so that advertisers can choose certain actions, such as whether a user will click through to a certain landing page, becomes a follower, or leaves their e-mail address. Companies will be paying only for results. This is an exciting change to the platform, and we are excited to see it go live.
- Advertisers will soon be able to pay only for results instead of any interaction with the ad.
- Ads can blend in with content seamlessly. It can go unnoticed by users that they are looking at an ad.
- Adds appear both in the feed content and search content of users based on the similarity of searched accounts.
- Twitter does your targeting for you. They use algorithms to find your relevant audience, and especially for beginners or those who don’t want to spend a lot of time researching target audiences, this can be a good way to go.
- Twitter is mobile friendly.
- You only get 140 characters to sell the user.
- Ads don’t always stand out against an overwhelming newsfeed.
- Twitter does your targeting for you. Twitter’s targeting system is hit or miss. They need to further develop getting the right ads to the relevant audience. For an example, I searched for “food” in the search bar, and the first thing to pop up was an American express ad. I might add it had nothing to do with food.
- Their pricing can be confusing. While you can set a fixed price at the beginning, some users get confused about what they’re paying for and how much they will actually get out of it.
Facebook Ads, as you likely know if you’ve read our other posts, work with advertisers setting a budget, using highly detailed targeting for audiences, and creating ads with a variety of different objectives.
Facebook Ads has been the hotspot for businesses of all shapes and sizing trying (and often succeeding) to get their campaigns going.
- Facebook has 1.3 billion users. It is the largest social networking site.
- Facebook’s targeting system is second to none in social media.
- You can use as many characters as you want in your posts.
- Your ads stand out. If your ad is in the timeline, Facebook makes your post larger than most, and they are naturally set aside if your ads appear in the sidebar.
- You know exactly what you are paying for.
- Facebook and its ads are mobile friendly– to an extent.
- Facebook is reducing ads in users’ newsfeeds. While this doesn’t sound ideal, it is for you, because they see fewer ads and are more willing to pay attention when they do.
- If you don’t know anything about targeting, you can lose money by targeting the wrong audience.
- Organic reach is declining, meaning newsfeeds are getting congested. Your competition is increasing.
- Facebook’s ads formatting is limited for mobile users.
- Facebook Ads can be expensive. As its popularity increases with businesses and marketers, you can bet on prices increasing, too. Online marketing is not immune to supply and demand. Cost is the biggest con on the list.
Comparative Performance in Critical Areas:
Twitter Ads vs Facebook Ads
Now that we know the basic pros and cons of each platform to help users determine if one platform would be better for them as an individual, we need to look at overall results. To determine overall potential for success in general, we need to look at areas such as reach and performance results.
Network Reach: Network reach simply looks at how many users each network has. While Twitter’s 232 million users is an impressive feat, Facebook is sitting pretty at 1.3 billion users. Facebook wins this one by a landslide.
Formatting Flexibility: Twitter gives you a few options. Facebook gives you a ton of them. Both platforms have their own advantage here.
Twitter keeps it easy. You have three choices (to which some groan only three, and others rejoice). They offer promoted tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends. It’s pretty basic, and you know exactly where to promote whatever it is you want to get out there. Your promoted content appears in the same place, making the process simple.
Facebook gives you a lot more options, diving into specifics. You can choose if you want your ad to appear in the sidebar or in the newsfeed. You can choose between a variety of objectives, like ads aiming for clicks to website, website conversions (where they actually track this with a conversion pixel), and page engagement. You can promote posts and create Facebook Offers. Their system is flexible—whatever you want to do, they seek to make sure you can do it.
Unfortunately, for some, it can be too complicated, especially in the past before they narrowed it down.
While Facebook gives you a lot of options, there is apparently such a thing as too many options. Facebook recently had to simplify, scaling back their number of ad formats.
In terms of keeping it easy, Twitter has the advantage here. If you’re looking for more options and flexibility, Facebook does. This decision comes down to individual experience level, how complicated you want to get, and exactly what it is that you want.
Mobile Performance: Though Facebook offers a lot more formatting flexibility, some of those options are taken away for mobile usage. Ads in the sidebar work well on desktops, but don’t even exist for their mobile platform. Their ads appear as promoted posts on mobile devices. Though Twitter has an advantage with their in-content and seamless ads, Facebook is still dominating in mobile usage, though that is expected to potentially change with Twitter’s restructuring.
Overall Ad Performance and Results: This is all about results, which can be difficult two compare on two different platforms.
Twitter has higher engagement rates on their ads than Facebook currently does, likely because most of their ads blend into content streams seamlessly.
Facebook, on the other hand, has been noted to have higher percentages of revenue coming from their ads. While Google holds the number one spot for ROI with their ad system, Facebook falls in place at number two, and Twitter follows behind.
Though Twitter is changing things around, Facebook is currently beating them out in terms of ROI and ad performance.
Conclusion: Facebook Ads or Twitter Ads?
Facebook’s overall performance, as of now, outshines Twitter.
Twitter claims to currently have 4.5 million small business accounts, thousands of which have done marketing on their social media site. Facebook is dwarfing these numbers, claiming more than 30 million small businesses have pages on their site, and more than 1.5 million have advertised with them.
For Facebook’s targeting system alone Facebook would win this battle. Having your ad appear in front of a highly targeted and relevant audience is what will generate you real leads and land you real clients long term. That’s why you’re investing money advertising on social media in the first place!
Incredible targeting system aside, Facebook would be our choice for advertising if you had to pick only one platform. Though Twitter seems to be making big changes to their campaign, they’ll have to play some catch up in order to reach Facebook. Facebook is dominating overall out of the two platforms, and marketers are seeing bigger ROIs coming from Facebook Ads.
Twitter and Facebook are both fantastic platforms for brand awareness, content marketing, and even soft sale lead nurturing. Both offer great potential for engagement, which is a great step to building loyal customers. Both ad systems are strong, too, especially since they both continue to roll out updates to their systems like their jobs depend on it (which they probably do). Right now, though, if you had to chose one, we would recommend Facebook Ads.
For more information about how to be successful with Facebook Ads, you can check out our FB Ads Formula here.