Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which Is Best? We’ll Boil it Down

Sam has been writing for WebFX since 2016, the year she graduated from Susquehanna University. In her free time, she likes to spend time on the beach, play with her cats, and go fishing with her husband.

Facebook and Google are two of the most popular advertising platforms out there. Although Google is a search engine and Facebook is a social media platform, they both offer effective, cost-efficient advertising strategies that allow businesses to sell more than ever before. But when it comes to Facebook ads vs. Google ads, who is the winner? Who should you advertise with? On this page, we’ll talk about the pros and cons of advertising on each platform, as well as which platform will likely drive a higher return on investment (ROI) for your business.

What about Facebook Ads vs. LinkedIn Ads?

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Facebook ads vs. Google ads: The basics

Before we can start to compare Google Ads vs. Facebook ads, let’s get into a little background of each.

Facebook ads

Since a typical Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month, it’s no secret that Facebook is one of the best places to advertise. Not only do you have access to an extremely vast audience, but you’re reaching customers where they already are — social media. Facebook ads are known as a paid social strategy since you’re paying to advertise on the social platform.

You’ll choose exactly how much to spend on Facebook ads per day, or for the lifetime of the ad, so you’ll never overspend. You can choose from a wide variety of ad formats.

The targeting options on Facebook allow you to advertise to users with specific online behaviors and interests — making Facebook ads a fantastic advertising opportunity if you want to get extremely granular with your audience. Check out the example above – there were three Facebook ads on my timeline within the same scroll!

Paid or organic Facebook advertising? See what our experts say

Google Ads

Google makes up 38.6% of total U.S.

digital ad spend — making it the most popular digital advertising strategy. Google Ads, formerly called Google AdWords, is known as a paid search platform since ads show up in search results. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads show up above organic results in Google and sometimes, to the right of search results — giving tons of opportunity to advertisers.

When you opt for a PPC campaign you won’t pay for advertising space — instead, you’ll only pay when someone clicks on your ad.

Facebook ads vs. Google Ads: The differences

Now that you have a little background on each ad type, let’s talk about some major differences between Facebook ads vs. Google Ads:

Facebook ads vs. Google Ads
Feature Facebook ads Google Ads
Targeting Targets users based on previous behavior and interests Targets users based on keywords
Placement Ads show up on Facebook Ads show up in Google search results
Intent Audience might not be planning to buy, but is offered the right ads at the right time within Facebook Audience is likely looking to purchase when they search for a product
Goals One of the biggest goals is brand awareness One of the biggest goals is to sell products
Purpose Good for sign-ups, website traffic, etc. Good for selling products to users with a goal

Google Ads vs. Facebook ads: Targeting

Ad targeting is perhaps one of the biggest differences between Facebook ads vs. Google ads.

Facebook ad targeting options allow you to focus on demographics, interests, previous actions, and more. This precise targeting means that with Facebook ads, you can target users based on who they are and how they act online. In part, this means that a Facebook user might not be searching for you and your products, but with the number of targeting options available on Facebook ads, you’re able to get yourselves in front of them.

When it comes to Google ads, on the other hand, you’re targeting users based on keywords.

In this case, you already know what it is that users are searching for (if you do ample keyword research). In the case of Google ads, users are searching for you and your products, unlike Facebook ads.

Facebook ads vs. Google Ads: What the audience wants

In terms of Facebook ads, as we mentioned, you’re likely putting an ad for your product or service in front of someone who has never heard of you before. This positioning is due to Facebook targeting options (interests, behavior, etc.). At this point in the buyer journey, a Facebook user might not be ready to buy, since they didn’t intentionally seek out your product or service.

That means it’s more about offering users the right ad at the right time, and hoping they take the next step in the buyer’s journey.

Talking about Google ads though, users get served ads based on keywords they search. This search behavior means that it’s more likely for users to click PPC ads in Google since the ads are based on something that they searched for consciously. As a result, users are likely further in the buyer journey and closer to purchasing when it comes to Google Ads vs. Facebook ads.

Google Ads vs. Facebook ads: Goals

The goal of every ad is to sell a product or service. However, based on what we talked about in the last section “what the audience wants,” the ad goals change just slightly.

For Facebook ads, the main goal is brand awareness. Since you’re advertising to people based on interests rather than keywords, your focus is more on exposing users to your brand rather than making immediate sales.

That might sound scary, but it’s great for building brand awareness — and it works because you’re targeting users based on their interests! Over time, as you build brand awareness with customers, you’ll reach more goals like getting users to visit your website or sign up for correspondence. With Google Ads, the main goal is to sell, since you’re targeting specific keywords, and the PPC model used makes it easy to do so.

Like we talked about earlier, users see your Google ads based on the keywords they search. When users search specific keywords, it means that they know the product they want, they’re searching for it, and they’re ready to buy when the time and product is right.

Why use Facebook ads vs. Google Ads?

Before you make your choice between Google AdWords vs. Facebook advertising, we want to give you all the facts. That said, let’s dive into the benefits of Facebook ads:

Get a more expansive audience using Facebook ads vs. Google Ads

With over 2.7 billion users, Facebook is undoubtedly a fantastic advertising platform — simply because you have the opportunity to get your products in front of millions of people. The more people you can get your ads in front of, the more your brand awareness will increase. Over time, that will lead to more site traffic and more sales overall.

More granular targeting options with Facebook ads vs. Google Ads

Want to target a specific audience based on where they live? How about their marital status or schooling status? With Facebook ads, you can.

One of the biggest benefits of Facebook ads vs. Google Ads is that you can advertise to an extremely granular group of people — making it more likely that your ads will reach the right people successfully.

Get more visually appealing ads with Facebook vs. Google Ads

For lack of a better term, Facebook ads are prettier than Google PPC ads, simply because you can feature video, graphics, a carousel of products, and more. You have a lot more design abilities when it comes to Facebook ads vs. Google Ads, which means you also have an upper hand in showing off your products to potential customers.

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Why use Google Ads vs. Facebook ads?

Google is the most popular ad platform for a reason — because it works. Check out the benefits of using Google Ads vs. Facebook ads in your marketing campaign:

Target users who are ready to purchase with Google Ads vs. Facebook ads

When it comes to Facebook vs. Google Ads, it’s hard to find a clear winner. However, when we’re talking about targeting users who are ready to convert, Google takes the cake. Like we mentioned before, when you use Google Ads, you’re able to target users based on keywords, and you pull those keywords from tools that specifically tell you what users are searching for.

Instead of simply boosting brand awareness, with Google Ads, you can target users who are ready to commit to a product.

Use a variety of ad formats with Google Ads

Although Google ads might not be as “fun” as Facebook ads, you still have the option to add engaging features to your ads that makes users more likely to click them. For example, you can add customer reviews to an ad, a link to your website, a phone number, and so much more. These are called ad extensions, and they can make your ads that much more effective.

Get a deeper analysis with Google Ads vs. Facebook advertising

When it comes to analytics platforms, Google Analytics is second to none. You’ll see important ad metrics that you didn’t know you needed, like impressions over a specific period of time, average cost-per-click (CPC), and more.

So who wins in a battle of Facebook ads vs. Google Ads?

In the Facebook advertising vs. Google AdWords debate, it’s hard to choose a clear winner.

The fact of the matter? You’ll find the most success with your marketing campaign if you advertise on both Facebook and Google.

The more real estate you can take up online, the more you’ll boost your brand awareness and make sales. When you opt for both Google advertising and Facebook advertising, not only will you show up for keywords that your audience searches in Google, but you’ll bridge the gap by also having ads on Facebook that target potential customers by interests.

You’ll have the biggest possible audience of potential customers when you create product ads for both Facebook and Google.

Bonus Reading: SEO vs. Google Ads

WebFX can help you with paid search and paid social ads

If you’re looking to advertise on Facebook, advertise on Google, or both, WebFX can help. We’re a full-service digital marketing agency that has over 10 years of experience working with hundreds of clients in a variety of industries. No matter what kind of ads you’re interested in, we’ll get to know your company, your goals, and your budget to help you craft the perfect custom campaign.

If you’re ready to get started, contact us online for your free quote or give us a call at 888-601-5359!

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