The Social Smackdown: Should You Invest in Facebook or Twitter?

Decision about facebook or twitterBoth Facebook and Twitter offer great options to improve your marketing ROI, but which one comes out on top?

Social media isn’t all fun and games. Advertisers and marketers hoping to make an impact in the competitive world of social media had better be ready to throw down.

In particular, I’d like to compare Facebook and Twitter. Both of these social giants have years of refinement under their belts, and are true forces to be reckoned with when it comes to advertising reach.

Facebook and Twitter are both handy platforms to leverage social inbound marketing tactics, but each has its own strengths and weaknesses that business owners should be aware of before investing.

Let’s take a look at the contenders.

In This Corner: Facebook

You just can’t beat Facebook when it comes to marketing reach. Mark Zuckerberg already had Facebook up and running when Twitter was just a gleam in Jack Dorsey & co.’s eyes. Facebook has had years of practice refining its algorithms and honing its infrastructure to cater to users and marketers alike.

Let’s review a few reasons why you should put your advertising faith in Facebook:

growth of facebook users over timeThe growth of Facebook users from Q3 2008 to Q1 2016, as found by Statista

  • Facebook advertising has greater reach—with over 1.65 billion monthly active users, this should be no surprise. Facebook marketing agencies rely on the ridiculous visibility of Facebook ads to drive growth.
  • Facebook advertising is cheaper—and gives you plenty of control over your maximum spend. Advertisers can choose to spend a certain amount per day, or allocate a set amount to be distributed over a lifetime campaign. Salesforce Marketing found that the average advertiser in the US will pay $24 per 100 clicks—peanuts compared to other CPC providers.
  • Facebook advertising has better targeting—and rightfully, too. Facebook has earned the privilege of highly targeted advertising by so cleverly letting us join all groups and pages that interest us. From a consumer standpoint, it’s a way to connect with friends and the brands we love. From a marketing standpoint, this type of data is a market segmentation goldmine.

Are There Drawbacks?

Facebook advertising is pretty comprehensive—there aren’t many weaknesses to point out. Though relatively cheap, the pay-to-play nature of Facebook advertising may turn off small business owners who can’t afford the investment.

In This Corner: Twitter

Not to be outdone, Twitter brings a different approach to the marketing battle. With a focus on short-form texts over long, overblown life updates, Twitter created the perfect platform for advertising and brand promotion.

Twitter offers a few advantages over Facebook that marketers should note:

  • Twitter advertising is mobilized—Yes, technically both platforms are mobile-friendly, but Twitter is ahead of the game. According to the data, 83 percent of monthly active users access Twitter on mobile devices, with 86 percent of Twitter’s ad revenue coming from mobile. Twitter supports mobile, and is driven by mobile.
  • Twitter advertising is limited—When I say limited, I’m referring to the 140 character limit of each tweet. This actually is a benefit. The concise nature of tweets have set Twitter apart from the competition, and forces advertisers to choose their words carefully when crafting ad copy. This makes it more likely that Twitter ads will generate the clicks and the marketing metrics that we love so dearly.
  • Twitter advertising is #recognizable—The hashtag (or as us old fogies call it, the pound sign) has caught on like wildfire. Its inclusion creates instant brand recognition. In fact, 45 percent of Super Bowl advertisements in 2016 contained a hashtag.

social media stats from 2016 super bowlThe influence of social media and the Hashtag from the 2016 Super Bowl

And the Drawbacks?

Though there’s some overlap in the benefits that each platform offers, Twitter comes up short in several key areas. Most advertisers find Facebook to be more affordable, and Twitter can’t compete with Facebook’s advanced market segmentation options.

The Winner

When Facebook and Twitter go head to head, which advertising comes out on top?

Trick question. The best social media marketing services use both.

Despite the advantages that each platform has, marketers can get the best of both worlds by leveraging a combination strategy. Businesses can craft, say, an inexpensive CPC campaign on Facebook alongside boosting specific tweets that have well-written ad copy and tested calls to action. One isn’t necessarily better than the other; they’re different paths to the same destination.

Business on Facebook reaches more eyes, but Twitter ads are better designed for mobile. Facebook can create better market segmentation and help produce more qualified leads for your sales funnel, and yet Twitter ads are more recognizable and are often crafted more carefully.

There’s a reason why social media marketing services use a combination of outreach strategies—no single option can do it all. The best inbound marketing leverages the strengths of each platform to generate the strongest returns for their customers.

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