Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which Is Best For Your Business?

30-Second Summary:

  • Choosing between Google Ads and Facebook Ads should be based on business goals. Google Ads is key for immediate sales and high-intent targeting, whilst Facebook Ads excel in brand building and engagement.
  • Google Ads focuses on PPC and keyword targeting for high purchase intent, while Facebook Ads utilise detailed demographic targeting for storytelling and brand loyalty.
  • Different cost structures of Google Ads and Facebook Ads mean businesses need effective budgeting and ROI maximisation through targeted strategies and analytics.
  • For eCommerce brands, Google Ads can provide direct product sales whilst Facebook Ads can build long-term brand awareness and customer engagement.

Everyone knows the right advertising platform and tactical approach can drive traffic and bring business success, but how do you know which is best for your unique business needs?

With Google Ads and Facebook Ads, you have two giants of the digital world offering a simple way to harness this potential. However, this isn’t just a choice between two separate behemoths but instead, a strategic decision that can significantly impact your business’s online presence and profitability. After all, with the Google Display Network (GDN) reaching 90% of global internet users, and Facebook having 3 billion monthly active users worldwide, you’ll have the world at your digital feet.

Are you looking to drive immediate sales, or are you more focused on building brand awareness? Do you understand the nuances of pay-per-click versus demographic targeting? Knowing what you want to achieve from PPC marketing is the starting point, and we’re here to help as an experienced digital marketing agency with plenty of client success stories.

Below, we’ll look at a comparison of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads, discussing their strengths, weaknesses, and unique offerings to provide you with a clear roadmap. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or an established enterprise, understanding the subtleties of these platforms is crucial for success. By the end, you’ll not only grasp the key differences but also have a solid idea of which platform aligns best with your business goals.

Understanding the Basics

What are Google Ads?

Google Ads is a powerhouse in the world of online advertising. This platform allows businesses to display ads on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and across its vast network of partner websites. 63% of people have clicked on a Google ad, and the key feature is its reliance on keywords. Businesses bid on specific keywords relevant to their products or services. When a user searches for these keywords, Google displays the most relevant ads. This is known as PPC advertising, where businesses pay each time their ad is clicked.

The strength of Google Ads lies in its ability to capture user intent quickly. People searching on Google are often looking for specific information, products, or services, which means they’re closer to making a decision or a purchase. This makes Google Ads an excellent platform for driving conversions and direct sales by putting your products and services front and centre.

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads harnesses the power of social media to help businesses reach their target audience. Unlike Google Ads, Facebook Ads don’t rely on user searches but instead use detailed demographic and psychographic information to show ads to users. This includes data on age, gender, location, interests, behaviours, and more.

Facebook’s strength as we all know lies in its vast user base and the amount of time people spend on the platform. Global users spend on average 19.42 hours a month on Facebook, so it excels in creating brand awareness and engagement. Ads on Facebook are often less about immediate sales and more about building a connection with the audience. They’re excellent for storytelling, brand building, and creating a loyal customer base.

While Google Ads are excellent for targeting users with a clear intent to purchase, Facebook Ads are superb for creating a strong brand presence and connecting with users based on their interests and online behaviour.

Facebook vs Google Ads Pros and Cons

To make a well-informed decision about which is best for your business, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Each platform has its own set of advantages and limitations, which can impact their effectiveness depending on your business objectives and target audience.

Advantages of Google Ads

  • High Intent Targeting – Google Ads are unmatched in reaching users with a high intent to purchase, making them ideal for direct response campaigns.
  • Vast Network – With the Google Display Network (GDN), your ads can appear on a multitude of websites, increasing your reach.
  • Measurable Performance – Google Ads offers robust analytics and tracking tools, allowing for precise measurement of ROI and campaign performance.
  • Flexible Budgeting – You can start with any budget and adjust your spending based on the campaign’s performance.

Advantages of Facebook Ads

  • Extensive Demographic Targeting – Facebook’s detailed targeting options based on user demographics, interests, and behaviour are unparalleled.
  • Visual Engagement – Facebook’s emphasis on visual content, including images and videos, makes it great for brand storytelling and engagement.
  • Massive User Base – With billions of active users, Facebook provides a broad audience for brand exposure.
  • Cross-Platform Opportunities – Ads can be placed not just on Facebook, but also across Meta’s apps like Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network. Even WhatsApp may soon contain ads.

Limitations and Considerations

  • Google Ads – can be competitive and expensive, especially for high-value keywords. The platform also requires a certain level of expertise to manage effectively.
  • Facebook Ads – while excellent for brand building, may not always lead to immediate sales. The platform’s frequent changes in algorithms can also affect ad performance and visibility.

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer compelling advantages for brands. The choice between them should be guided by your specific marketing objectives, target audience, and budget.

Google Ads is more suited for businesses looking to drive immediate sales or actions, whereas Facebook Ads is ideal for those aiming to build a strong brand presence and engage with customers over time.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Cost

Arguably one of the most critical factors in choosing between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the cost. It’s unavoidable, and it’s how both companies became giants, so understanding how each platform charges and what you can expect in terms of ROI is vital for effective budgeting and financial planning.

Cost Structure Explained

  • Google Ads – The cost of Google Ads primarily depends on the keywords you are bidding on. The cost-per-click (CPC) can vary significantly based on the industry and the specificity of the keyword. The average CPC is $2.69 across all industries on the search network, with consumer services averaging $6.40 and e-commerce averaging $1.16.

    For highly competitive keywords, the CPC can be quite high, but these often bring in more qualified leads. Google also offers cost-per-thousand impression (CPM) and cost-per-action (CPA) pricing models, allowing for flexibility based on your campaign goals.

  • Facebook Ads – Facebook’s cost model is primarily based on a cost-per-impression (CPM) basis, although you can also opt for cost-per-click (CPC). The cost here is influenced by a range of factors including ad quality, relevance, audience targeting, and time of year.

    The average CPC is $1.72 across all industries, with Finance and Insurance seeing an average of $3.77 and Travel and Hospitality averaging $0.63.  Generally, Facebook Ads can be more affordable than Google Ads, especially for campaigns aimed at brand awareness and engagement rather than immediate sales.

Budgeting for Your Business

  • Setting a Budget – For both platforms, starting with a clear budget based on your business size and advertising goals is crucial. It’s recommended to start small, test different strategies, and then scale up based on what works.
  • Cost-Effective Strategies – Utilising targeted keywords (for Google Ads) and specific demographic targeting (for Facebook Ads) can help in managing costs effectively while reaching the right audience.

Maximising ROI

  • Tracking and Analytics – Both platforms offer robust analytics tools. Regularly monitoring these can help you understand which campaigns are performing well, allowing for adjustments to improve ROI.
  • A/B Testing – Experimenting with different ad formats, copy, and targeting options can help in identifying the most cost-effective strategies for your business.

Understanding the cost structures and effectively budgeting for Google Ads and Facebook Ads are key elements in maximising your advertising ROI. While Google Ads might be more suitable for businesses looking for immediate conversions with a higher budget, Facebook Ads can offer a more cost-effective solution for long-term brand building and customer engagement.

The right choice will depend on your specific business goals and the audience you aim to reach, which we can help you define.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads for Ecommerce Brands

With ecommerce, where every click and impression can translate into a sale, choosing the right advertising platform becomes even more critical, with worldwide eCommerce sales expected to reach $8.1 Trillion by 2026. So, how do Google Ads and Facebook Ads cater to the unique needs of ecommerce businesses?

Google Ads for Ecommerce

Google Ads can be a potent tool for ecommerce businesses. Its key strength lies in capturing users with high purchase intent through search ads. When users search for specific products or services that you offer, appearing at the top of search results can significantly increase the likelihood of conversions.

  • Shopping Ads – Google Shopping Ads are particularly effective for ecommerce. They display product images, prices, and business names right at the top of search results, making them highly visible and attractive to shoppers.
  • Keyword Targeting – By targeting specific product-related keywords, you can attract highly qualified traffic to your store.
  • Local Inventory Ads – For businesses with physical stores, these ads can help drive local foot traffic by showing product availability nearby.

Facebook Ads for Ecommerce

Facebook Ads, with their visual and interactive formats, are excellent for creating brand awareness and engagement, which are essential for ecommerce businesses. 30% of online shoppers are likely to buy from a social media network, so showing your products and services across Meta platforms is a tactic well worth your efforts.

  • Dynamic Product Ads (DPA) – These ads automatically show the right products to people who have expressed interest on your website, in your app, or elsewhere on the Internet. Brands doing so have experienced a 25% increase in ad performance and 70% average savings.
  • Broad Audience Targeting – Facebook’s extensive targeting options allow you to reach a wide range of potential customers, from broad audiences to highly specific segments.
  • Remarketing Capabilities – Facebook is effective for retargeting users who have interacted with your brand, helping in nurturing leads and converting them into customers.

For ecommerce businesses, both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer distinct advantages. Google Ads are ideal for driving immediate sales, especially for specific product searches, while Facebook Ads excel in building brand awareness and nurturing long-term customer relationships.

The optimal strategy often involves leveraging both platforms in tandem, using Google Ads to capture active buyers and Facebook Ads to create a broader brand connection and engagement.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads – Get Your Brand Seen

Rather than thinking of it being a decision to pick one over the other, aligning your marketing strategy with the right tool should be the best approach. As mentioned for ecommerce brands, a blend of both platforms can be particularly effective. We can help you consider your marketing objectives, budget, and target audience carefully before committing to a platform, especially if you are new to navigating these ads.

Digital advertising is dynamic, so whether you choose Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or a combination of both, the focus should be on continuous optimisation for the best results.

Have any questions? Reach out to the Absolute team today for tailored advice to help you on your journey and enhance your business’s online success.

For more insights from our blog, discover how to navigate SEO challenges for specialised industries, as well as the role of schema in featured snippets and rich results.

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