facebook ads vs google ads

Do you use Facebook ads or Google ads for your business? The choice of the best platform for your business depends on three major factors — your goals, audience, and type of business.

If you ever heard someone say “you should try Facebook ads – anyone can sell through that” or “Google AdWords is the way to go for any business”, don’t be so quick to believe either of them. Making the choice is not that easy. And what worked for someone else may not work for you.

Luckily, there are ways to make that choice. Let’s dig in!

google ads vs facebook ads

As you may already know, businesses today use online advertising to effectively reach new customers, expand their reach, and increase their revenue streams. There are so many options available that it can be an overwhelming task to choose the right one for your business.

Advertising online has become essential because of empowered customers. They are more connected, curious, and demand top-notch services and products. In the search for the best, they want fast problem-solving information on the products and services they are searching for.

The customer buying journey has evolved. The customer now dictates what they want to find, not the other way around. It’s also become easy for consumers to find information.

This means that it has become even harder for businesses due to increased competition. As a business owner, you must make it easy for customers to find your product or service.

Through online advertising, you can:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Help customers learn about your products and services
  • Help persuade their buying decisions
  • Remind potential buyers of the quality product or service you are offering
  • Provide customers with multiple ways to find your product

Successful businesses are leveraging the strengths of both forms of advertising to find new customers, increase leads, and maximize visibility. However, before deciding how to use any one of these online platforms, you must know what they are all about.

What is Google AdWords?

Google AdWords, oh and by the way, Google AdWords is now Google Ads – in case you didn’t catch that.

Anyway, where were we… yes, Google AdWords is probably the most used platform by businesses looking to reach new customers and help their businesses grow. The platform allows businesses to choose between targeting the search networks and the display networks.

Search networks involve using Pay-Per-Click/Per Impression search where advertisers bid on keywords related to their businesses. They can display these keywords to users who enter search terms related to this keyword. For example, when a potential customer searches for Facebook Ads, the search results will look like this:


facebook ads

Image via eCommerce insights

The display network involves the use of visual banners by advertisers on websites on the Display network. The Google Display network reaches over 90 percent of internet users and has over 2 million sites. The ads can come in several formats: text, video, photo and more.

Google shopping ads help businesses show up in high-intent searches that are relevant or based on the product offered by the business.

Both networks, the display network, and search network are controlled via Google Ads. Google Ads displays ads at the bottom or top of the Google search results page. When potential buyers click on the ad, they are directed to your page. You only pay if you add is clicked on.

Video-based ads allow businesses to show ads on streaming website like YouTube and other display networks.

Google Ads retargeting allows businesses to perform excellent retargeting to a customer who did not conclude their buying process. You can remarket to them in hopes of winning a sale. This is an ideal strategy for customers who abandon their carts or who visit the page of a product several times without making a purchase.

The trick to Google Ads is the use of specific keywords with a conversion intent. They also build brand awareness with the customer and are there when the customer seeks support after purchase.

Find out what keywords to bid for by first conducting keyword research. You can use the Keyword Planner to identify what keywords are relevant to your business, then write persuasive text that persuades customers to click on it.

Here’s the thing, you want an ad that either leads the customer to buy emotionally, out of fear, via comedy or through special offers.

Benefits of Using Google Ads

1. Keyword targeting

With Google Ads, businesses can target ideal customers. They can do this by using the filter option to target based on age, keywords, geographic location, demographics and so much more. This is great for businesses that know the specific age, demographic or location of their potential customer. In other words: the basic things you should know about your buyers.

You can also choose what time of day the ad should appear to maximize money spent on ads. This is great because according to research, 50 percent of consumers visit a store a day after conducting a search.

Better yet, you can target people who are ready to buy by choosing relevant keywords. For example, someone searching for “Swatch” may simply be looking for information about the brand. On the other hand, someone searching for “Swatch RedBaya price” has already done their homework. They know the exact product they want to buy. They are now looking for the perfect offer, which could be yours.

2. Target device

Businesses can now bid on different devices depending on the one most valuable to your business. This includes tablet, desktop, and mobile.

Thus, you can optimize your ads by reaching customers that use devices that are relevant to you. You wouldn’t advertise a mobile app to someone on a desktop, right?

Even if they do own a mobile device, the hassle of transferring the link from one device to another is too much for today’s busy customers.

3. Different Ad Formats

The expanded text and feature increased the size of text ads. The ads created are now longer, have double headlines and include an 80-character description. Google also added two additional paths to the Display URL.

Businesses can now show prices of products and services they offer on AdWords. These extensions are available on all devices which makes it easy for advertisers to set separate URLs for price extensions.

google ads

Image via eCommerce insights

4. Pay for Clicks Only

You only pay for clicks on AdWords. You only pay when a user visits your website, and this saves you money.

Plus, it keeps off the people who aren’t really interested in what you are selling.

5. Monitor and Track Ads

With Google Ads, businesses can track how their ads are performing. You can track the number of users who heed the call to action after visiting your website and those that view and click on your ad.

According to an Economic impact report from Google, for every $1 a business spends it earns $2 in revenue on Google Ads. However, to find out if this is true for your business, try AdWords first.

6. Customers Can Get to Your Products or Services Exactly when They Need Them

In a second, Google processes an average of over 40,000 search queries. This gives you a wider audience reach. Google Ads are on the first page of search results and this ensures that the customer sees your business or product at the exact time they need information or need to purchase it.

The Ads also appear when a customer searches for products or services near them. If optimized for mobile and location, the ad will pop up first on their device and you get a walk-in customer.

7. Numerous Features

You can take advantage of features such as user reviews, shopping ads, site links etc.

Google Ads has location targeting option where you can geotarget your ads. This means that local businesses can help their customers within a certain distance find them with ease. You can also exclude locations to allow for precise targeting and reduced costs.

AdWords also allows you to include a map to your shop in the ad. This makes it easier for walk-ins to find your business.

google adwords result for memphis lawyer

Google AdWords results for ‘Memphis Lawyer’ showing directions to the office

Ad extensions allow you to add contact information, including addresses, phone numbers, reviews, landing pages, and so much more. It will, however, cost you the same amount if the customer clicks on the extension as when they click on the headline.

8. AdWords Allows for Retargeting

Retargeting is when businesses target customers who visited the site but left before making a conversion. You can target ads on Google search or Display networks.

It allows businesses to show the prospective customer that product or service repeatedly. This frequency can translate to a sale.

Facebook Ads and Their Benefits

Facebook Ads are a form of paid social advertising. It’s estimated that the number of social network users will have surpassed 2.77 billion by 2019. The easiest and fastest way to reach your customers is to find them where they spend most of their time. Social advertising allows businesses to optimize campaigns by choosing objectives, targeting specific demographics and the ad type.

Facebook is the most engaged social platform when compared to Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks. Almost everyone is on Facebook including your customers and potential leads.

To allow businesses to monetize audiences, Facebook has built targeting tools for their affordable ads. You have the option to either use desktop, mobile, Facebook messenger or Instagram.

Facebook allows you to create an ad either for brand awareness, conversions or considerations. There are also different key conversion indicators available for each of these goals. These include reach, traffic, store visits, and many more.

facebook ads manager

Image via Facebook Ad Manager

You can choose to promote your product or service through different formats available including link ads, slideshow ads, collection ads, lead generation ads, video ads, image ads, dynamic ads or messenger ads.

You can choose to build your audience from scratch or let Facebook do it for you. Targeting options available include:

  • Demographics: age, location, gender, relationship status, the field of study, languages, schools, education level, job industry, income, net worth, etc.
  • Interests: depend on the activities or pages they have liked on topics like entertainment, fitness and wellness, business & industry, food and drink, family and relationships etc.
  • Behavioral: what are they buying, intend to buy, or how are they are using their devices around topics including charitable donations, automotive, job roles, page administrators, media, purchase behavior, seasons and events, travel etc.
  • Facebook Ads are perfect for businesses that understand their ideal customer to a higher level.

Having an ad that targets the right audience based on accurate and detailed buyer personas can make ads relevant and lead to more conversions.

Facebook can also build your audience by using look-alike features. You can also target customers already in your Facebook contact list. This places ads on pages of your customers, mobile users or site visitors.

  • The Facebook Ads also integrate directly into potential customers Facebook feeds, which makes them look like normal posts. The ads blend seamlessly with any visual content on their feeds.
facebook ad

Image via lead squared

  • Facebook Ads are affordable and have a high return on investment. The budget for your specific campaign will vary depending on things like your objective, messaging, scope, and amount of cash you have.
  • A click on AdWords takes the user to the landing pages that contain the brand identity, a good design and an easy to navigate website. Facebook Ads, on the other hand, leverages word of mouth. If a customer loves your product, they will either review your product positively or post on their timeline. Social and word of mouth are powerful in terms of advertising. Before a customer can make a purchase, they research to find out if someone else has used the product or service and their experience. The better or more reviews, the more customers you get.

What Is the Difference between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?

Both are powerful advertising platforms, we’ve already established that. But how can you choose between two giants who both promise you the world (read: excellent ROI for every cent you spend on their product).

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Similarities

  • Both are huge in terms of market reach
  • Both offer numerous targeting options
  • You can optimize ads for mobile
  • Both offer advanced features

So what’s THE difference?

  • User intent. Google AdWords targets those who demonstrate intent through the Google search box while Facebook matches ads with a user’s interests.
  • Google AdWords is great because it makes your product pop up when the user is searching for it while Facebook Ads build brand awareness.
  • A Facebook user comes across your ad as they browse their feeds while Google users know exactly what they are looking for. Facebook can help you reach customers that may match your personas, and this could open future opportunities.
  • Facebook targets potential interests while Google Ads provides the ad relevant to a user’s search to increase chances of clicking on it.
  • Facebook allows for more detail in terms of targeting. This means that you can find specific interests or various demographics. You decide on ad reach and can find the exact buyer persona. You can be very specific to your audience by targeting them based on their interests and behavior.
  • People are more likely to find your local business through Google search. By the time they are searching for a hotel or a school near them, they are already on the road.
  • Facebook encourages engagement since brands can interact with their customers by answering questions, expounding on their ads etc. Engagement on social sites leads to more sales and customer loyalty.
  • Facebook offers you the option to post different formats of your ad including videos, carousels, graphics etc. Facebook will require creativity to come up with incredible images or videos for your ad. AdWords uses a short block of text. The format is limited to text.
facebook ads manager format

Image via Facebook Ads page

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which One Should You Choose

First off, there is no one-size-fits-all in making this choice. You can’t say that Facebook Ads is the best choice. Or that Google Ads is the best choice.

You can, however, say which the best choice for you is. In order to do that, you have to consider these factors:

1. Your budget

The difference between Facebook Ads and Google Ads, in terms of cost per click, is that Facebook is generally cheaper. It’s ideal for businesses with small advertising budgets. Sometimes businesses lack enough money to compete for better keywords or positions with AdWords. The cost per click for Google AdWords will be higher.

2. Your objectives

What do you want to achieve with the ads? Do you want to increase brand awareness or increase reach? Then Facebook Ads will be ideal for you. Do you want to get more leads or sales? Use Google Ads instead. When a person is searching for a product or service online, they intend to buy it.

Does this mean you can’t sell via Facebook ads?

Not at all!

It just means you get more decisive clients with Google Ads. You are rid of “window shoppers”.

3. Your industry

Some industries are competitive and expensive for cost-per-click. Competitive keywords can be hard to succeed at. Facebook Ads will most of the time work best for less expensive items. This is because people are impulsive buyers. They tend to buy inexpensive products after seeing them frequently. However, your choices need to be data-driven.

4. Your customer buying persona and their journey

At what point do you want to capture the customer’s attention? The buyer’s journey is a three-step process:

buyer's journey

Image via HubSpot

  • The awareness stage: when the buyer realizes their problem
  • The consideration stage: they start researching options to solve the problem
  • Decision stage: they choose their best solution

If you understand at what stage your buyer persona is, you can choose the best way to advertise. Google Ads would be ideal for a customer who wants to purchase a product due to intent. Facebook would be ideal for a customer seeking information or considering your product.

5. Customer’s intent

Are you targeting customers with an intent to buy or are you trying to build an audience for your product? AdWords are great for customers who intend to buy while Facebook will work for an increase in audience reach and brand awareness.

6. Where is your target audience?

Even though both Google and Facebook have a wide reach, the ads will be of no use if the ideal customer is not on that platform.

Before you make the choice, take a closer look at your buyer persona’s habits. Do they buy based on recommendations? Do they research via Google? Do they trust Facebook ads? Are they even on Facebook or Instagram?

How to Choose between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

facebook chart

Image via Visual Capitalist

You could say that Google and Facebook have the advertising market cornered — 58 percent combined. Both can be excellent options. However, tracking results will help you determine which platform is better for your business.

At DigiGirls, we recommend our customers to “test drive” both platforms in the beginning if the choice isn’t clear from the get-go. Dividing your budget between the two can help you make the right choice without any guesswork.

Since we’re all about data-driven marketing, we advise you to make your decision based on the data you collect from both. It’s as simple as seeing which platform has the best ROI for you.

Key Takeaway: Advertising on Google and Facebook

You can leverage both advertising platforms to increase your return on investment, build brand awareness and increase reach. Here’s how you can do that:

Use Facebook Ads to build awareness by placing the brand in front of potential customers. The more they see the product, the more they will be interested and eventually, they will Google the product.

Facebook targets customer interests, so the people who see your ad are interested in your product in some way. Putting the brand on their news feeds lets them discover your brand. This will pique their interest and in their quest to find out more about the product, they will find you on Google AdWords and click.

Another way to leverage the power of both is to use Google Ads data to target Facebook audiences. For both ads, tracking data helps you realize who is searching for your product more and how far they get after they have clicked on your website.

Do they bounce or do they heed your call to action? You can use these data to identify the demographics, interests, engagement time, and gender of your audience. These will allow you to write ads that target potential customers on Facebook. You can also retarget those on Google AdWords, using the same informed data.

You can also use Facebook data to find the right Google Ads audience. Check out some of your ideal Facebook customers. This will define your customer personas. Use this data when crafting your Google AdWords to create an audience that resonates with your Facebook buyer persona.

Closely monitoring data from Google Ads and Facebook Ads can help you determine who your ideal customer are, their interests and what they are searching for.

Remember that the intent for both is different. Make sure there is no overlap between audiences.

Still not sure how to choose between Facebook Ads and Google Ads? We get that! It’s not an easy choice to make! But do you know who can? Our seasoned digital marketers! Get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help you make the right choice!