My Adwords vs Facebook Experiment & The Surprising Results

Have you ever wondered if you should you use Facebook ads or Google Adwords to reach your dream customers? Then read on, here are the results of my Facebook v Adwords test, and the results might surprise you!

A year ago I was spending a lot of money advertising for my clients on Google Adwords.  I was spending about 80% of the budget on Google Adwords and around 20% went on Facebook ads.

I was targeting mums online, and up until that point, Google Adwords had been the perfect way to reach these mums and start a conversation with them that – very often – eventually led to them purchasing an online information product.

But around Spring last year I started noticing something different was happening.  As it turned out, this was the start of something quite extraordinary.

Fast forward to February 2016. 

Having just spent a week knee-deep in excel spreadsheets mapping out an annual marketing budget and I now have the results of the experiment I started last year. 

And I can’t wait to share this with you.  If you’ve ever tried Facebook advertising or Google Adwords to reach your target customer, then what I’m about to reveal might (if you get on and implement it) make radical shift in your online business.

Back in May last year I started doing some deep testing of Facebook advertising.  I’d already been using it for a year already to target mums online and it was working pretty well.

But then I started to compare how many people ended up making a purchase if they came via Facebook or if they came via Adwords. 

At first there didn’t seem to be any strong argument that either platform was better.  But that all changed once I started implementing ONE thing.


The deeper I got into Facebook advertising, the more I realised its powerful capabilities.  So I started cutting money from Adwords and putting it into Facebook.  The strategy I’m about to describe will work for you if:

If you already have an audience visiting your website

You have a list of around 500 subscribers

You know exactly who your dream customer is


So, getting back to the results of this test.  By autumn last year I’d moved a lot of budget out of Adwords and was running campaigns on Facebook. 

But here’s the secret. 

I had stopped targeting new people.  Rather than trying to reach anyone with an interest in the general topic area, I started to focus on only people who already knew the brand. (and you can do this even if you only have 1,000 visits to your website every month)

Every single campaign on Facebook was a ‘retargeting’ campaign, that meant only mums who already knew about the brand (my clients are targeting mums) saw the adverts.

Here are the four campaigns that produced the most sales:

Retargeting subscribers

Retargeting all website visitors

Retargeting website visitors to a certain section of the website

Retargeting page likes


So instead of spending money targeting new people on Google Adwords, 80% of the budget went to putting content in front of people who already knew the brand and were either subscribers, had visited the website or had liked the Facebook page.

Can you guess what happened?

Every single pound I spent got us four times as many clicks to the website.

Let me rephrase that so it sinks in.

On Adwords we were charged on average £0.40 per click

On Facebook we were charged on average £0.10 per click

Same costs, 4x the number of people clicking on the advert.

Now that alone should be enough to convince you to at least ‘try’ Facebook retargeting.  But there is one more crucial metric that completes this lesson. 

The number of those people who ended up buying.

The simple answer to this is that overall we had 25% more sales from the same marketing budget.

Incredible right?

But I want to unveil another marketing lesson for you here – one which is just as simple to apply to any online business.

facebook and adwords


This is something I learned back in the day when I was marketing online to mums whilst at Disney.  There is an exponential power of layering your marketing message across several platforms. 

Which basically means, saying the same thing over and over again to your target audience wherever they are – on email, on Facebook, on Google, Instagram, Pinterest or whatever place you find out is their favourite haunt.

The thing to remember is to get in front of them on at least 2 different platforms.

In my experiment I found that by launching a campaign on Email + Facebook + Google = 20% better results than by using just Email + Google (with the exact same costs).

Pretty powerful stuff!  Will you give it a try?


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