Why Facebook isn’t and won’t ever be Google

Google vs Facebook

Facebook versus Google

We have to confess one thing to you: us, digital marketers, aren’t always concurrent about one thing: which channel of digital marketing brings you the best results? We are often asked by our clients (also other companies): “What is the best pick for me and which one will bring me the best results?” That’s a fully legitimate question, but the answer to it isn’t and cannot be unambiguous. Users use different channels in a lot of different ways, and for a lot of different things.

I am writing this article because of the statement my colleague wrote: “Newsletter is much better than social media”. Let us picture a hypothetical situation for a moment: you just started a new business, your mailing list consists of practically zero subscribers (in this hypothetical situation, you are also being fair and you didn’t buy any mailing lists, which we wouldn’t recommend in the first place) and you need to promote some offer of yours. You create a newsletter to precisely zero subscribers. Result? Zero. Nada. Nothing. Close but no cigar!

Newsletter ilustration

On the other hand, you create a Facebook page, publish the info you want to promote and put some money into Facebook advertising. That post will be seen by thousands, tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of people. Result? Something. Cosa. Close and at least one cigar!

Is then newsletter better than Facebook?

It depends and it varies. If you don’t have a good base of e-mail subscribers (you didn’t give your subscribers the reason to subscribe), then your whole newsletter isn’t of much use. It’s crucial that you give your users an adequate reason for them to leave you their e-mail address. One way to achieve this is through content marketing; the other is to give some value for your users, for example: tell them they can receive great offers through your newsletter. For example, Hrvoje Bujas, the founder of the portal for group buying Crno Jaje says that newsletter is their main sales channel and that Google and Facebook don’t really bring many sales either.

Well, that’s not a big surprise because they gathered a great organic database of subscribers in the first place who agreed on receiving their newsletter, while also they want to buy some of the offers received through it. If you have tens of thousands of such subscribers, the newsletter will undoubtedly be a great selling channel, much better than Facebook or Google. (There’s a pretty small chance someone will google search “barbecue ribs with 50% discount in Zagreb”). But if you don’t have such a subscriber database, then, your newsletter probably won’t work better than Facebook. 

Wait a minute, where’s Google then?

When comparing Google and Facebook (or any other social network), we have to understand that users don’t use Google and Facebook the same way. Google is the place where users search for a piece of specific information that they are interested in (I want to know something about Facebook advertising so I will Google “Facebook advertising” or “Facebook advertising agency“). If you are in the Facebook advertising business, your goal is that your website appears at the top of somebody’s search. You can do this in two different ways:

  1. By optimizing for search engines (SEO – Search Engine Optimization) which can be divided into onsite and offsite optimization
  2. Via Google AdWords advertising. where you’ve bought some keywords for your company’s business

You are, of course, not the only one trying to do this, so you have to bear in mind that your business competition is trying to be on top of paid ads also, all with reducing the price of a click while also raising the relevance of their ads


As you can see, everything is not so simple and you have to watch out for a lot of parameters. But one thing’s for sure – Google isn’t a terrific channel and that it can definitely pay off if you know what to do with it, because, you show your ads in the very moment when users are searching for a specific service you offer.

Why Facebook then?

Well, you see, users use Facebook in a different way. If they need Facebook advertising, they will look it up on Google. But on Facebook, they communicate and they search for Facebook pages connected with social networks and Facebook. Through it, Facebook puts them in specific categories like “social media marketing” or “digital marketing“. Those users can then be shown that you are in that business, even before they start searching. They will like your page, get information you post on your Facebook page on a daily basis, they will visit your website and your blog, they will download your ebook… in other words, they will find something about you, educate themselves while at the same time making you an expert in the given field in their eyes. The probability that someone who sees your Facebook ad, will visit your website and buy immediately is pretty small. But Facebook is a great channel for communication, for asking questions, raising brand awareness…. something that Google isn’t enabling.


On the other hand, there are campaigns where Facebook is your only choice, really. Take for example, a campaign we did for Biograd tourist board. If we used Google, what do you think, how many people would search Google for keywords such as “Biograd” or “na moru”? Quite few. Those that were already there had no need to Google it and those that were yet undecided about choosing their summer vacation spot would generally opt for broader searches such as “popular destinations in Croatia” or “Affordable accommodation at the beach. Facebook was, in this case, the perfect channel: we showed the ads to a specific group of people, who could be interested in choosing Biograd as their vacation destination. Facebook #ftw!

What the heck do we do for Kontra, then?

Everything. We are writing a blog. Because of it, we are very well organically ranked for the terms we want to be ranked in. Through the blog, we are educating the market, and the market is considering us the experts in the field of digital marketing. In addition to this, we are using Google AdWords advertising so that, in addition to organic ranking, we could position ourselves pretty high with the paid ads as well. That way, we bring the visitors back to our website. We are also very active on social networks. There, we are communicating with our fans. We have over 10.000 fans on Facebook, who are every now and then exposed to our paid posts. They are constantly reminded that we exist and that we are very much in business. We tend to do re-marketing advertising on a regular basis also. We also publish ebooks. Our goal is that our users after they’ve visited our website, download at least one of our ebooks, which automatically turns them into leads – potential clients. On top of all that we also have a newsletter so our users are weekly refreshed with some new information about us, along with some of the most important news from the world of digital marketing. We also have some other things, but I will stop here to keep it short.


What is delivering results for us?

We have Goals set up in Google Analytics (if you don’t have that setup, do it ASAP!). When we look at our insights about where do people who filled a contact form (alongside other Goals we have), we see that most of it come through Google (some organic, some paid). But if we wouldn’t have everything else (content, social networks, newsletter…), Google alone wouldn’t be even close to bringing such good results. We see that we are being googled more often via the keywords “Kontra agency” meaning they are looking for us and us alone.  And we achieved that through social media and content marketing.

Simply said, the mixture of everything is the key. Social networks like Facebook aren’t and won’t ever be Google because users use them in an entirely different way. If we are focusing solely on conversions, it all depends on the industry you are in. But, the best results will be brought through a mixture of all channels, because users can get in touch with you in so many different ways. Those different ways can sometimes be Google, sometimes Facebook.

What brings the best results for you?