Facebook vs Google Ads – Which One Should Your Small Business Use?

Oct 5, 2020

Wondering about the difference between Facebook vs Google Ads? Discover the advantages of each platforms and which is right for your business

Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) and Facebook Ads are often looked at as competitors. Small businesses feel they have to choose one over the other. However, most businesses can benefit from using both platforms together to maximize your visibility, increase leads and sales, find new customers, and improve your ROI.

What Are The Differences Between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads?

Both platforms perform differently and offer unique benefits to their advertisers. Google Ads focuses on paid search while Facebook Ads focus on paid social. To understand the features and benefits of Facebook Ads vs Google Ads, it's important to understand the differences between these two ad platforms.

Google Ads: Paid Search

Paid search or PPC is often synonymous with Google Ads. Google Ads is the most popular and the largest PPC advertising platform. Not only is Google Ads the largest Ad platform, Google is the world's largest search engine. According to Internet Live Stats, more than five billion searches are performed on Google every day!

Google Ads offers multiple ways to advertise and grow your businesses.

  • Google Search Network
  • Google's Display Network
  • Google Retargeting Ads
  • Google Shopping
  • Google Video Ads

Facebook Ads: Paid Social

Facebook's target audience has different objectives than people searching for something on Google. When people use Faecook, they aren't searching for keywords. They're not searching for the closest dentist near them. Instead, they're interested in catching up with their friends, connecting with people about shared interests, and sharing their favorite cat pictures.

facebook cat pictures 2

So if Facebook audiences aren't searching for the keywords you're promoting, why use Facebook ads? With almost 2.2 billion active monthly users , it's pretty easy to find your target audience while advertising on Facebook. The most common ads you see on Facebook are within the newsfeed itself and look like every other post. These ads usually have the goal of driving clicks. In addition to newsfeed ads, there's a few other Facebook ad placement options

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook Video Feeds
  • Facebook Right Column
  • Audience Network
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Instagram Feed

What's the difference between Google ads and Facebook Ads

The biggest difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is search intent versus awareness. Google Ads target users who are searching for something. This is referred to as "search intent". Facebook ads are more passive, they are shown to users while they're scrolling their newsfeed. Facebook Ads help increase awareness of your brand to potential customers.

Here's a couple examples of search intent vs awareness:

Google Ads: Search Intent

Let's say you need someone to clean your carpets. So you go to Google and search for carpet cleaning companies. The ads you're shown in the search results are directly related to your intention of hiring a carpet cleaning company.

google ads carpet cleaning

Facebook Ads: Awareness

Instead of searching for a carpet cleaning company, you're posting the latest pictures of your cat on Facebook and scrolling your newsfeed for other cat pictures. While you're scrolling through your newsfeed you come across this ad for cat toys:

facebook ads cat toys

Advantages of Google Ads

Should your business use Google Ads? Small business owners often operate on tight marketing budgets and getting the most out of their advertising dollars is important to them. Businesses with smaller advertising budgets are able to take advantage of Google Ads as effectively as larger businesses. When creating Google Ads, it's important your ads are well-written and meet the Google's quality score requirements.

Google Ads Quality Score

  • Ad Quality - is your ad relevant and useful
  • Impact of Ad - does your ad use the appropriate extensions
  • Keyword Bid - how much are you willing to pay for clicks on your ad

Multiple Google Ads Formats

Google Ads has grown from Google AdWords to the robust platform it is today. As it has grown, so have the types of ad formats available for advertisers to use. Here's a few Google Ads format options:

  • Text Ads
  • Image Ads
  • App Promotion Ads
  • Responsive Search Ads
  • Call-Only Ads
  • Showcase Shopping Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Product Listing Ads

Besides various ad formats, Google Ads offers multiple add-ons such as: sitelink extensions, location extensions, call extensions, price extensions, and more. These ad extensions help drive more qualified traffic to your business.

Advantages of Facebook Ads

Do you wonder if the annoying Facebook Ads you see in your newsfeed are effective? If your Facebook Ads are properly targeted to your audience, you can skyrocket your results. When we talk about Facebook Ads, we're not talking about boosting your posts. We're talking about creating a targeted ad to reach a specific goal.

Facebook Analytics

Knowing the effectiveness of your ads is extremely important to improving your ROI. Facebook has the data you need to determine what's working and what isn't. Facebook lays out the important metrics such as conversion rates, cost per result, ad impressions, and other important social metrics.

Audience Targeting

Granular audience targeting with Facebook Ads is amazing. You have the options to target based on demographics, interests, behaviors, language, and more. Facebook Ads audience targeting digs deeper than any other platform. You're able to create custom target audiences to make sure you eliminate anyone who isn't within your target market. Audience targeting is probably where Facebook Ads excel the most.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: What They're Best Used For

When considering Google Ads versus Facebook Ads, you first need to answer one question: "what goal do you want to reach?" Are you trying to raise awareness of your brand or are you trying to increase conversions?

Awareness

Businesses who offer a service can raise awareness of their brand by using Facebook Ads. The goal of brand awareness is to increase the recall of your ads with your target audience. In other words, they don't increase sales, instead they lead your target audience into your marketing funnel. Three elements of an effective brand awareness ad campaign include:

  • Visual appeal - this makes your ad more memorable
  • Unique selling proposition - give our viewer a reason to click on your ad
  • Call to action - entice the viewer by giving them something. This can be a percentage discount, BOGO offer, or anything else that would encourage them to click the ad

Audience Targeting

Granular audience targeting with Facebook Ads is amazing. You have the options to target based on demographics, interests, behaviors, language, and more. Facebook Ads audience targeting digs deeper than any other platform. You're able to create custom target audiences to make sure you eliminate anyone who isn't within your target market. Audience targeting is probably where Facebook Ads excel the most.

Conversion

When your target audience is actually searching for the product or service you offer, Google Ads are very effective at increasing conversions. While conversions often mean increased sales, they can also mean other metrics such as downloading a PDF, filling out your contact form, or signing up for you newsletter. When creating Google conversion ads, it's important to measure their effectiveness. Some of the metrics you'll want to track include:

  • Click-through rate - this determines your quality score and lets you know if your ads are appealing to your target audience.
  • Conversion rate - this tells you how many times someone click on your ad that resulted in a conversion.
  • Cost per conversion - CPC is the amount you're spending on each conversion it show how much you pay for each conversion action

Google Ads vs Facebooks Ads - Our Recommendation

There will always be a debate at to which platform is better. In reality there's not a specific situation where one platform is a better option over the other. Often the two platforms work best when used together to reach your goals.

If you're just getting started, it might be a good idea to start heavy with Facebook ads as awareness is the bottom of any marketing funnel. When people are exposed to your brand on Facebook and become more aware of you, then they will often turn to Google to start searching for you. Once you have good brand awareness in place then focus on Google Ads to drive conversions and sales.

facebook vs google ads

Need Results Faster?

If you're a new business or you need to start getting sales right now, then Google Ads would provide you with a better return on your investment. This will require a larger marketing budget but it will deliver a better sales outcome.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads - Starting Your Campaigns

The first step is always to analyze your options and define your goals. Consider the following when deterring which one is right for you:

  • How much can you afford to pay to acquire a new customer
  • Are your products or services something your target audience frequently searches for
  • What are the cost per click ranges in Google Ads
  • Determine the best platform for you budget. If you use both platforms, track your metrics and determine which one performs better
  • Test your ads and then test some more until you find the solution that's right for you

Choosing Your Best Platform

Various factor such as your marketing goals, your industry, and your target audience are going to determine which ad platform you choose. Remember to measure, test, and adjust your ad campaigns. Consider the value you receive from the campaign in addition to your ROI.

Google ads help you find customers right now and give you quicker conversions. Facebook ads help new customers find you and improve your ROI over the long-term.

Google Ads vs Facebooks Ads - Our Recommendation

There will always be a debate at to which platform is better. In reality there's not a specific situation where one platform is a better option over the other. Often the two platforms work best when used together to reach your goals.

If you're just getting started, it might be a good idea to start heavy with Facebook ads as awareness is the bottom of any marketing funnel. When people are exposed to your brand on Facebook and become more aware of you, then they will often turn to Google to start searching for you. Once you have good brand awareness in place then focus on Google Ads to drive conversions and sales.

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