Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

Start Up Founder reviewing data with team

One of the first questions we get when meeting with potential clients is “Where should I spend most of my  digital marketing budget; Facebook Ads or Google Ads?” and “Which one is best for my business?”

Of course, the answer varies depending on that client ’s unique goals and objectives.  Though Amazon has recently made a move to gain market share, Facebook Ads and Google Ads have dominated the digital advertising space for years now, forming a stable duopoly and though both platforms have proven to be effective, there are significant differences.

What are Google Ads?

92% of all Internet searches begin with Google making it the largest and most well-known search engine. People go to Google to search for products, reviews, information or services; it has become the digital encyclopedia (sorry Wikipedia) allowing us to get information regarding almost anything.

Google displays results based on what people are searching for (keywords). The search results that appear on the first page of Google are based on the relevance of the website and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It is becoming more and more critical for businesses to appear ahead of competitors on search results to stay relevant, especially when you consider that 75% of users do not browse beyond the first page.

Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform for businesses. Google Ads shows ads on Google pages based on what people are searching for (keywords) or related searches. Even if your business is not in the top of organic search engine results, Google Ads can place your website on the first page of the search engine with paid digital ads, and these ads only appear when people search for the particular term related to your service or business. The idea is that the person seeking your product or service has a higher probability of converting to a customer.

What are Facebook ads?

Facebook is one of the best platforms for businesses to reach potential customers. Facebook is continuously growing with its user base reaching  2.32 billion monthly active users in 2018. Among the active users, 95.1% of them access Facebook via mobile.

With the changes in the Facebook algorithm, Facebook gives less preference to business pages and more inclination to personal content. As a result, the organic reach of Facebook business pages has dramatically declined over the years. Organic reach refers to the number of people who have seen your post without spending any money. The only way to promote and increase the reach for your business on Facebook is by using Facebook ads.

The Facebook Ads platform has grown in popularity due to its advertiser-friendly features, such as narrow targeting and campaign tracking. With Facebook Ads, your business can directly reach your target audiences’ newsfeed and connect with them. You can create a Facebook ad with different ad formats and apply various ad targeting parameters.

The Four significant differences between these two advertising platforms, Google Ads vs. Facebook ads are described below:

1. User Intention

People use Google with a purpose. They use Google to search for products or services when they need them. If you’re using Google Ads, your website will show up in front of people at the exact time when they search for a particular keyword. As a result, it’s crucial for you to identify keywords relevant to your website.

Google Ads is favorable for businesses that provide immediate services to their customers. For example, professional service providers like dentists, photographers, and auto repair shops. Similarly, Ads is highly effective for e-commerce products as people search for specific product categories or brands in Google.

On the flip side, Facebook Ads are not intent based. People use Facebook to connect with friends, families and generally for entertainment. They are less likely to be on the platform, seeking a business. Since the audiences on Facebook does not have the intent to purchase, conversions are vastly different compared to that achieved on Google.

Facebook Ads are great when you need to promote your product to a broad range of audiences. It allows you to reach diverse demographics that may or may not be actively seeking a product in your sector. For example, if you’re a local restaurant owner, you have a large broader audience from all ethnicity, age groups, professions, and interests. With a little bit of creativity, you can create Facebook ads that are more likely to grab the attention of all these different kinds of audiences.

2. Targeting options

Both of these platforms offer various targeting options for businesses. Google Ads is based on keyword-based targeting whereas, Facebook Ads is based on demographics, interests, and behavior.

The fundamental working principle of Google Ads is a keyword. So, it’s critical to identify keywords that people are searching for that relates to your product/service. You then bid on these keywords, and when a potential customer searches for the exact keyword, your ad will appear before other results on the page. Besides that, Ads also offers other forms of targeting such as:

  • Location and language targeting (target specific cities, zip codes and more)

  • Device targeting (target particular devices, networks, mobile, desktop users and many more)

  • Audience targeting (based on a wide range of audiences). On the other side, Facebook Ad is very different. Facebook Ad offers targeting option in forms of demographics (location, age, gender, and languages), interest, behaviors and much more.

  • Demographics – Target specific audiences based on their Location, Age, Gender, Language, Relationship, Education level and many more.

  • Interests – Reach specific audiences by looking at their interest activities, the pages they liked and closely related topics.

  • Behaviors – Aim specific audiences based on their purchase behavior or intent, device usage and more.

  • Connections – Reach people who have a particular type of connection to your page, app or event. For instance, you can target ads to people who like your page, who used your app and who responded to your event.

3. Ad Formats

Both platforms offer a unique ad format to their viewers. Google Ads are primarily text-based, and the most popular form of ads are Image ads, call only ads, Video ads, and shopping ads. Google Adword is favorable for a specific audience that drives specific action (depending on business goals). Facebook Ads, on the other hand, are more creative and more visual. The various options for Facebook ads are Carousel ads, Image ads, Video ads, Slideshows, Canvas ads, Lead ads and Collection ads.

Facebook Ads work great for brands and e-commerce businesses to raise brand awareness and increase a large number of audiences. With Facebook Ads, you can tell a story about your brand and showcase the various products you offer. The ad should be creative and appealing enough so that you can increase the reach and engagement with your brand.

4. Cost

Cost is an important consideration when comparing Google Ads vs. Facebook ads. When comparing these two platforms, Google Ads is slightly expensive in comparison to Facebook Ads.

The average cost per click for a search ad is $2.32, and display ad is $0.58. Similarly, the average cost per click for a Facebook ad is $0.27.

Note: The cost varies widely by industry and the placement of ads on both platforms.

So Which is better Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads?

The first thing you should do before spending money on an ad platform is to establish your advertising objective. For instance, if your goal is to increase brand awareness and lead generation, you can choose Facebook ads. Similarly, if your business goal is immediate sales, you might want to pick Google Ads.

If you have a limited budget, you can stick to only one platform. Monitor the results for three months. Depending on the outcome, you can adjust your marketing strategy.  If the budget isn’t a significant concern for your company, you should use both platforms, Google Ads as well as Facebook Ads. Both of them have their specialty and offer unique benefits. They provide unique targeting options and ad placement for different types of businesses.  

The best thing about paid advertising is you can track your result with time. Using various analytical tools, you can monitor and identify what’s working and what’s not. So, you can make a decision or change your marketing strategy if needed according to your ad performance.