Running Paid Ads As A Photographer | Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads

As a photographer, I understand the importance of staying ahead in this fast-paced digital world. In order to reach my target audience and showcase my work, running paid ads has become an essential part of a lot of photographers marketing strategies.

Personally, I lean heavy into SEO and relationships/referrals as my two primary sources of leads. That said, I truly believe that the source of your leads is heavily dependent on your niche(s) that you photograph.

However, with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose between Facebook ads vs Google ads. That’s why in this article, I will analyze the features and benefits of both platforms to help you make an informed decision.

First – when it comes to running paid ads as a photographer, understanding your target audience is crucial. You need to know who they are, what they’re interested in, and where they spend their time online. This will help you determine which platform is more suitable for reaching them effectively.

Facebook allows you to target users based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors, making it ideal for reaching a specific niche audience. On the other hand, Google ads use keyword targeting to show your ads when people search for relevant terms or visit websites related to your photography services.

Understanding these differences will help you create targeted campaigns that resonate with your desired audience.

Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, it’s important to compare the advertising features and options offered by both Facebook and Google ads. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to ad formats, placements, targeting options, and analytics tools.

By carefully evaluating these features in relation to your marketing goals as a photographer – whether that’s driving website traffic or generating leads – you can choose the platform that aligns best with your objectives.

So let’s dive into the details and discover which platform is right for running paid ads as a photographer: Facebook or Google?



Some Key Takeaways When Comparing Facebook Ads vs Google Ads

  • Granular targeting is crucial for reaching the specific demographics, interests, and behaviors of a photographer’s target market. So, first understand your target market incredibly well.
  • Evaluating ad creative effectiveness and testing different visuals, copywriting approaches, and call-to-action buttons can optimize campaign performance.
  • Google ads are known to be more transactional in nature because your prospect is directly searching for that exact thing (keyword) in that moment, compared to a Facebook ad that is targeting based on interests and/or location (among other factors)
  • Access to data and analytics in Google Ads allows for informed decisions about ad targeting, detailed performance analysis, and optimization based on keywords, demographics, and locations.
  • Both can do very well for you, but to identify which – you need to perform both keyword research to identify a search volume for the keyword(s) that are desired to target, as well as the competition of the ad space, the cost of the ads, and the niche demographics to further run an intelligent ad campaign.
  • I am a fan of testing both and just comparing the numbers in terms of CPC (cost per click), CPL (cost per lead), and CPA (cost per acquisition) of a new customer.
  • PS, did you know Google has a free course for you to learn Google ads?




Understand Your Target Audience

You need to imagine yourself as a potential client scrolling through social media or on Google, searching for the perfect photographer who understands your unique style and captures moments that truly speak to you. As a photographer running paid ads, one of the first steps in creating an effective campaign is understanding your target audience. This starts with thorough demographic research to identify key characteristics such as age, location, interests, and behaviors.

By gaining insights into these aspects, you can tailor your ads to reach the right people at the right time.

Once you have gathered demographic information, it’s time to develop targeting strategies that align with your client’s preferences. For instance, if you specialize in wedding photography and want to target engaged couples between the ages of 25-35 living in urban areas, Facebook ads allow you to filter your audience based on these criteria. On the other hand, Google Ads can help you reach potential clients actively searching for photographers by utilizing keywords related to photography services and locations. An example to that would be something like “Miami wedding photographer”.

For a helpful online course that is provided directly from Google themselves, I highly recommend to check out their on Skillshop trainings.

Understanding your target audience and utilizing effective targeting strategies are essential when running paid ads as a photographer. By honing in on specific demographics and using platforms like Facebook or Google Ads that offer comprehensive targeting options, you can ensure that your ads are reaching individuals who are most likely interested in hiring a photographer like yourself.

Now let’s compare advertising features and options available on these platforms without losing momentum.



Compare Advertising Features and Options

When it comes to promoting my photography business, I find it crucial to compare the features and options offered by different advertising platforms like Facebook and Google.

Both platforms offer unique targeting options that allow photographers to reach their ideal audience. With Facebook ads, photographers can target users based on their demographics, interests, location, and behaviors. This helps to ensure that your ads are seen by people who are most likely to be interested in your photography services.

On the other hand, Google Ads allows photographers to target users based on their keyword search queries and website browsing history. This means that when someone searches for keywords related to photography or visits websites related to this topic, your ad can appear in the Google search results pages (SERPs) or on relevant websites.

In terms of ad placement, Facebook offers various options such as news feed ads, sidebar ads, and even Instagram ads (since Facebook owns Instagram). These placements allow photographs to showcase work directly in front of their target audience while they browse through their social media feeds.

On the other hand, Google Ads primarily focuses on text-based ads displayed in search results or on relevant websites through their display network. This ensures that my ad appears when someone is actively searching for photography services or browsing websites related to this field.

Considering these advertising features and options is essential when running paid ads as a photographer. By understanding how each platform targets users and where the ads will be placed, you can make strategic decisions about which platform best aligns with your marketing goals toward your ideal client avatar.



Consider Your Marketing Goals

Set your marketing goals to effectively optimize your advertising strategy and maximize impact for your photography business. When setting objectives, it’s crucial to consider what you want to achieve with your ads. Are you aiming to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive sales? It’s not always just about sales. Sometimes ads have the primary benefit of purely building trust to warm them up, then you retarget other ad creatives for a lead generation – not necessarily a direct sale.

Once you have a clear vision of your goals, you can tailor your ad campaigns accordingly.

When choosing platforms for running paid ads as a photographer, it’s important to select ones that align with your marketing goals. Here are three considerations to keep in mind:


Target Audience

Understand the demographics and interests of your target audience. Facebook ads allow you to reach a wide range of users based on their behavior and preferences, making them ideal for building brand awareness. On the other hand, Google Ads enables you to capture potential customers who are actively searching for photography services online through direct keyword searches.


Ad Format

Consider the type of content that works best for showcasing your photography skills. Facebook offers various ad formats such as image carousels or video ads, allowing you to showcase a portfolio or behind-the-scenes footage or images creatively. Google Ads primarily focuses on text-based search ads but also offers visual display ads that can be effective in driving engagement.


Budget Flexibility

Evaluate which platform offers more flexibility in terms of budget management for your unique position that you’re in and your unique goals. Facebook allows you to set daily or lifetime budgets and provides insights into estimated reach and performance metrics. Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click model where you can control bids based on keywords and adjust budgets accordingly set around the day/month, etc.

Considering these factors will help you make an informed decision when choosing between Facebook and Google Ads for running paid advertisements as a photographer. By identifying your marketing objectives and selecting platforms that align with those goals, you’ll be able to optimize your advertising strategy effectively while maximizing impact for your business.

And heck, you could also choose to run ads on both.

Why not, right?



Evaluate Budget and Cost-effectiveness

When it comes to evaluating the budget and cost-effectiveness of running paid ads as a photographer, you should always make sure to assess ad costs and return on investment (ROI). This will allow you to analyze whether your ads are running properly if you should keep putting more and more money into it, or if you should just shut them down (either temporarily or permanently) after testing out various ad creatives and ad targeting.

Additionally, you should compare the two.

You should carefully analyze Google ad costs as well as your ROI to that of your Facebook ad campaign(s) to help determine which has been a more financially successful effort.

By considering both platforms, I can strategically allocate my budget and ensure that I’m getting the most bang for my buck in terms of reaching my target audience and generating a positive return on investment.


Assess Google vs Facebook Ads: Costs and ROI

Assessing Facebook ad costs and ROI can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of running paid ads as a photographer on this platform. With its extensive targeting options, Facebook allows photographers to reach their ideal audience with precision. By analyzing the costs associated with running ads and comparing them to the returns on investment, photographers can determine whether their advertising efforts are yielding positive results.

Let’s use an example in plain English.

  • Let’s say that you spend $100 in ads on Facebook/IG
  • and you spend $100 in ads on Google

Now let’s say that you made:

  • $2,000 in sales from that $100 on Facebook
  • And $1,000 in sales from your Google ad

Which one was more successful? The Facebook ad with a 20X ROI.

But don’t think for a second that the Google ad isn’t working. You still did a 10X ROI with this scenario.

Plainly put, imagine that you walked up to a vending machine and for every $1 you put in, $10 spit out.

I would LIVE at that vending machine, wouldn’t you?

I see way too many photographers complaining how their ads are underperforming because they see someone else getting something wild like a 30X ROI. That is NOT NORMAL.

In the education space, the professional ad agencies that I hired in the past would commonly report back with ROIs in the range of 1.5-4x ROI. And when we got at least 2X, it was considered a wildly successful campaign.

So, do your best to not get swept up in the game of comparison. It will only rob your joy.

If you do choose to run some Facebook ads, get familiar with the ad manager dashboard. The level of granularity in the detail reporting can help you become fully knowledgeable about what exactly is working, what’s not working, and what’s about average.

A few things to stay up on:

  • CPC: Cost Per Click
  • CPL: Cost Per Lead
  • CPA: Cost Per Acquisition of a new customer
  • ROAS: Return On Ad Spend (your ROI)


By closely monitoring ad costs and ROI metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates of the ad creative, conversion rate of your website landing page (or lead form), and cost per acquisition, photographers can gauge whether their campaigns are generating sufficient returns. Furthermore, evaluating ad creative effectiveness is paramount in optimizing campaign performance. By testing different visuals, copywriting approaches, or call-to-action buttons, photographers can refine their strategies based on what resonates best with their audience.

You can start to see why a lot of photographers outsource ads.

My recommendation, at least get a course or a coach to walk you through it. And ideally, one that specializes in your niche.




Test and Track Your Ad Performance

When it comes to running paid ads as a photographer, it’s crucial to test and track your ad performance. To do this effectively, I’ve set up conversion tracking and analytics tools to measure the success of my campaigns.

By monitoring key metrics such as click-through rates and conversion rates, I can optimize my campaigns for better results. This ensures that I’m getting the most out of my advertising budget.


Set Up Conversion Tracking and Analytics

To effectively track conversions and gain valuable insights, it’s crucial to set up conversion tracking and analytics when running paid ads as a photographer on platforms like Facebook and Google.

Even if you are trying to optimize your SEO, you should track the performance of your website.

Both of these platforms provide conversion tracking tools that allow you to measure the success of your ad campaigns. By implementing these tools, you can track specific actions taken by users after clicking on your ads, such as filling out a contact form or making a purchase. This information is essential for understanding which ads are driving the most conversions and optimizing your future campaigns accordingly.

In addition to conversion tracking, integrating analytics into your advertising strategy is vital for gaining deeper insights into your audience’s behavior. Analytics integration enables you to measure various metrics such as website traffic, bounce rate or user engagement, and time spent on page (aka dwell time). These data points help you understand how users interact with your website, identify areas of improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimize your ad campaigns further.

By combining conversion tracking tools and analytics integration, you can gather comprehensive data about the effectiveness of your paid ads as a photographer on Facebook or Google. With this information in hand, you can monitor key metrics and optimize your campaigns for maximum performance without missing any opportunities for innovation and growth.



Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine my target audience as a photographer?

This is crucial in order to identify your ideal clients and your targeting strategy, but as weird as it may sound – do not overthink it.

To do this, you need to delve into the depths of creativity and strategy. You must analyze the different segments of the market and understand their unique desires, passions, and preferences when it comes to photography.

Where do they live? Where are they wanting their session or wedding? How old are they? Are they wanting an urban location or something away from the city and more peaceful? Are they stylish & modern people? What sort of stores would they shop from/what style of fashion are they into? Where do they hang out online?

Through market and client research, data analysis, and constant adaptation, you can uncover hidden patterns that will help you effectively reach your target audience and connect with them on a deeper level.


What are the key differences between Facebook ads vs Google ads for photographers?

When it comes to advertising as a photographer, there are distinct differences between using Facebook ads and Google ads.

Let’s start with the pros and cons of using Facebook ads. One advantage is the immense reach that Facebook has, allowing you to target a wide range of potential clients based on their interests, demographics, and behavior. Additionally, the visual nature of photography aligns well with Facebook’s platform, making it easy to showcase your work. However, one disadvantage is that while Facebook offers detailed targeting options, the conversion rates may not be as high compared to Google ads since users are often in a more casual browsing mindset.

Now let’s move on to the advantages and disadvantages of using Google ads for photographers. The biggest advantage here is intent-based targeting; when someone searches for keywords related to photography services or products, they are actively looking for them. This increases the likelihood of conversions and bookings. On the downside, Google ads can be more expensive than Facebook ads due to greater competition within certain keywords and markets. It requires careful management and optimization to ensure cost-effectiveness in your campaigns.

Ultimately, both platforms offer unique opportunities for photographers but understanding their strengths and weaknesses is crucial in determining which one aligns best with your specific business goals.


How do I define my marketing goals and objectives when running paid ads as a photographer?

When defining your marketing goals and objectives as a photographer, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of what you aim to achieve with paid ads.

What do you want out of the ads?

Brand awareness? Lead? Direct bookings? A PR campaign? Affiliate sales? Something else? A blend of the above?

To begin with, defining marketing goals helps you establish a direction for your advertising efforts and ensures that you are focused on specific outcomes. Whether it’s increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving conversions, having well-defined goals enables you to strategize effectively.


What factors should I consider when evaluating the budget and cost-effectiveness of running paid ads?

When evaluating the ad budget and cost-effectiveness, there are several factors that I take into consideration.

Firstly, I analyze my target audience and their behavior to determine which platform would be most effective in reaching them. This involves researching the demographics and interests of my potential clients to see if they align more with Facebook or Google users.

Secondly, I assess the competition within my industry on each platform to understand how much I need to invest in order to stand out. If the competition is fierce on Facebook, for example, it may require a larger budget to get noticed.

Additionally, I consider the return on investment (ROI) that each platform can provide. By tracking conversions and leads generated from each ad campaign, I’m able to determine which platform is delivering the most cost-effective results.

Lastly, I keep an eye on trends and innovations within the advertising industry to ensure that I’m staying ahead of the curve and leveraging new opportunities for maximum impact with my ad budget.


Is there a particular platform that you recommend to run ads for my niche of photography?

In short, it depends not only on the niche, but it also depends on where you are trying to market yourself. As an example, a large city versus a town with only a few hundred. It also really depends on the search volume of your transactional keywords in your market. As an example to that, does your target city + niche photographer have zero search volume or does it have people looking for it each month?

Outside of that, let’s break it down really quickly from some of my personal insights that I have seen over the years after coaching thousands of photographers from around the world.

I will break it down by niche here. (DISCLAIMER: There are always exceptions to the rule. Again, this is just based on my own experience.)

  • Boudoir Photographers: Facebook ads crush it in any market, but so do Google ads (in larger cities).
  • Maternity & Newborn Photographers: I’ve seen these photographers have more success with Google ads in any market.
  • Family & Motherhood Photographers: I’m going to lean to the side of Google ads slightly here, but it’s about 50/50 depending on the pitch in the ads. And that’s only because of  mini sessions / limited edition sessions which can do quite well with Facebook ads.
  • Wedding Photographers: Google ads here win, but Facebook ads can still perform incredibly well when done properly.
  • Elopement Photographers: Hands down Google ads.
  • Personal Brand Photographers: Google ads, but spend that money instead on very targeted cold outreach.


Should I run ads or optimize my Google SEO? Or which should come first?

If I was you, I would optimize your website conversion first, then optimize your SEO, then run ads. Why in that order? Because ideally, I would recommend that your organic bookings pay for the ads to then get the ad-based bookings.




In conclusion, running paid ads as a photographer can be a game-changer for your business.

By understanding your target audience and comparing advertising features and options, you can effectively reach the right people at the right time.

If any of this is overwhelming to you, get a photography business coach that can walk you through it – or just outsource it.

(PRO TIP: Just ensure the person who you hire can truly help you so you don’t burn your money. Traditionally, my advice is to first get a business coach to educate yourself on the topic, then outsource after knowing what needs to be done so you can properly manage the work and ensure what’s being done is strategic.)

Whether you choose Facebook or Google ads, it all depends on your marketing goals and budget. Facebook ads offer a wide range of targeting options and creative formats that can engage your audience visually. On the other hand, Google ads provide a more intent-based approach, allowing you to capture potential clients actively searching for photography services. Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s crucial to evaluate which one aligns best with your overall marketing strategy.

When it comes to budget and cost-effectiveness, Facebook ads tend to be more affordable compared to Google ads. However, keep in mind that the cost per click or impression may vary depending on your niche and competition level. Therefore, it’s essential to test different ad strategies and track their performance regularly.

In this digital age, advertising is not just about creating stunning images; it’s about strategically positioning yourself in front of potential clients. So take advantage of these powerful advertising tools and elevate your photography business to new heights! Remember to analyze the results, refine your approach when needed, and always stay ahead of the competition.

Whoever spends the most money and/or spends the most time/effort to get the clients – win.

So, if you want more of your ideal clients booking you, or if you want your lead generation to seem easier – you need to get more strategic with your marketing.

Since you are here learning more about Facebook ads vs Google ads, you might be wondering about other things to help optimize your photography business. So, come check out these other helpful articles around my site:


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