Get the latest tips straight to your inbox.
Google vs. Facebook ads – which is better for your needs, and why?
Every business has a limited marketing budget, and figuring out where you should spend it can be challenging.
So before you decide where to spend your budget, you need a rock-solid understanding of Google vs. Facebook ads. Otherwise, you could choose the wrong platform for your needs and pour money down the drain.
This is where we can help.
In this article, we'll explore Google vs. Facebook ads and see how they compare. Plus, we'll take you through 4 considerations to help you decide which platform to use.
Let's get into it.
First things first: What is Google Ads, and why is it such an attractive advertising platform?
To start, Google is by far the world's largest search engine, with an 83% global market share.
If that isn't enticing enough, Google also processes more than 85,000 search queries per second. That's more than 7 billion searches per day.
Essentially, Google Ads is the search engine marketing platform. The term "paid search" is often used synonymously with "Google Ads."
What’s more, Google doesn’t just allow you to advertise on its Search Network. You also can place ads across the Google Display Network. This network includes more than 2 million websites and reaches more than 90% of people on the internet.
Oh, and this includes YouTube, which happens to be the second-largest social network in the world.
In short, Google Ads provide virtually limitless advertising opportunities.
Let's take a quick look at the types of Google Ad campaigns that are available.
To start, Search ads are text ads displayed in the Google Search Network. You’ll often see these at the top of the Google search results page.
Search ads are great for generating web traffic, new leads and sales. Why? Because the users that see your ads are actively searching for solutions related to your products and services.
For example, if someone types "budgeting app," they're actively looking for ways to manage their finances.
Next, Display ads are shown across the Google network on websites and apps. These ads can be images or videos. Here's an example of a Google Display ad shown on The New York Times:
You also can create Google Shopping ads. These ads allow you to promote your products in Google's Shopping results. Typically, searchers using this feature have a high purchase intent.
It's also possible to run highly targeted local Google ad campaigns across Search, Display, YouTube and even Google Maps.
Plus, 6 YouTube ad formats allow you to promote your brand on the social network.
So, how do you choose which of these ad formats and placements to use in your marketing campaign?
Google Ads makes it simple to get up and running with a suitable ad format. To start, choose a campaign type based on your marketing objectives.
Then, Google will present you with the different ad formats best suited to help you achieve your goal.
Whichever ad format you choose, you can take advantage of Google Ads Smart Campaigns, which automate the process of creating and refining your targeting.
You also can use Google Ads Remarketing to follow up with website visitors, leads and customers as they browse the web.
It's important to note that different ad formats and placements can often be suited to specific marketing funnel stages.
The image below from an AdEspresso and Hootsuite Ads webinar shows how the different Google Ads solutions fit into the buyer's journey.
The image shows that the Google Display Network (GDN) and YouTube are ideal for branding and remarketing campaigns. This is because there are many ad formats available and the intent of users is low.
However, Google Search ads are ideal for increasing conversions – whether securing leads or sales – thanks to users' high search intent.
Absolutely. Who for? Pretty much everyone.
Running ads on Google Search, Shopping and Maps is also a great way to complement your SEO efforts.
Still, it's worth looking at Google Ads' pricing, as some industries typically experience higher costs than others.
So, how much do Google ads cost?
The image below shows the average monthly cost-per-click (CPC) in the U.S. in 2020 by industry. You can see that the CPC ranges from $0.83 in the electronics industry to $18.57 in the insurance industry.
In summary, the power of Google Ads lies in its mind-blowing reach and users’ high intent.
Now, let's see how Facebook Ads compares.
Google might be the largest search engine globally, but Facebook is the most used social media platform in the world.
These users aren't typically searching for an answer to a specific problem like they might on Google.
Are they looking for a new car? Probably not.
However, these users share information about their preferences, interests, relationships, life events, hopes, dreams and more.
This information provides advertisers with a treasure trove of knowledge that can be used to target prospects on a granular level. And Facebook Ads allow you to tap into this information bank and use it to reach your marketing goals.
Facebook Ads also allow you to run campaigns on Instagram – the world's 6th largest social network.
In summary, Facebook Ads provide a way to reach an enormous amount of people with extremely detailed and sophisticated targeting tools.
Like Google Ads, there are many Facebook Ad formats and placements you can use.
There are newsfeed ads shown on desktop and mobile devices. These ads are integrated seamlessly into feeds and look like every other type of post.
On desktop computers, you also can display ads in the right-hand sidebar.
Plus, Facebook newsfeed ads come in a variety of formats, such as images, slideshows, videos and carousels.
You also can create Messenger ads that are hard for prospects to miss.
And let's not forget Stories. These ads can be shown on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
All in all, there are plenty of options available across multiple platforms.
And the best part? Every option allows you to take advantage of Facebook's epic targeting features.
Just like Google, advertising with Facebook Ads begins by choosing a goal.
Whether you want to drive website visitors and sales or video views and brand awareness, Facebook Ads has you covered.
And once you create your ad, the Facebook Ad Manager provides a simple way to preview how it will look in every format and placement.
As mentioned above, Facebook's targeting options are impressive. The Custom Audiences feature allows you to hone in on incredibly personal and specific details.
And we're not just talking demographics, like age, gender and interests.
Facebook Ads enables you to target people based on criteria such as whether someone has a female friend with a birthday in 7-30 days.
And that's just one example of a specific targeting option – there are thousands available. And when you combine a whole bunch of these targeting options, you end up with a scarily precise custom audience for your ads.
If that hasn't 'wowed' you, this next feature will.
It's called Lookalike Audiences. This feature enables you to input information about your best customers. Then Facebook Ads will use the information to create a target audience that matches your customers' behavior, interests and more.
Finally, you can use Facebook Ads to retarget website visitors and customers. In other words, when a user visits your website, you can automatically show them ads the next time they use Facebook or Instagram.
Here's why: Almost everyone you know or have ever met uses Facebook.
Plus, almost every business online has a presence on Facebook, from your favorite restaurant to international airlines – not to mention, the businesses’ employees.
As a result, business-to-business advertising is possible with Facebook Ads.
OK, so how much does Facebook advertising cost? Well, used correctly, the detailed targeting options can help to provide an incredible return on investment (ROI).
In fact, AdEspresso found that the average cost-per-click (CPC) was $0.55, and the average cost per thousand impressions (CPM) was $0.92.
This means that for just $30 a month, you could receive more than 50 clicks to your website or over 32,000 impressions.
What's more, it should come as no surprise that running Facebook, Messenger and Instagram ads is a great way to complement your social media and content marketing efforts.
Bottom line, the power of Facebook Ads lies in the platform's vast reach and detailed targeting options.
So, what's the verdict: Google or Facebook ads?
Alright. Google vs. Facebook ads. Two powerful ad platforms with different benefits.
There's no doubt that both Google Ads and Facebook Ads are viable advertising options, but which is better for your marketing objectives and budget?
To help you decide, here are 4 things to consider when weighing Google vs. Facebook ads.
Before you choose Google Ads or Facebook Ads, you need to know which stage of the buyer's journey you plan to target.
Do you want to generate leads or sales? If so, Google Search ads may be the way to go thanks to users' high search intent.
Or perhaps you want to increase brand awareness? In which case, Facebook ads may be a more practical solution because you'll be reaching them in a more personal manner.
Before choosing between Google and Facebook ads, define your target market and consider how it matches each platform's suitability.
For instance, say you're a business-to-consumer (B2C) establishment selling products that customers often buy as impulse purchases, such as fashion. Your target market could respond positively to an eye-catching Instagram campaign but may not think to search Google for your new jackets.
However, if you run a plumbing company, it could be challenging to target people with a leaky washing machine on Facebook – better to show up on Google when they search for a plumber.
What's more, if you sell products that appeal to a very niche target market, such as violin strings, it's a good idea to tap into Facebook's detailed targeting options.
But if you sell products to a broad target market, such as washing detergent, the Google Display Network may be a better option.
When evaluating Google vs. Facebook ads, another factor to consider is competition.
Both of these advertising platforms use automatic bidding systems to decide which businesses get ad placements – and some industries are a lot more expensive than others.
So, use Google Keyword Planner to discover how much businesses are bidding on specific keywords.
Then work out how much you can afford to spend to acquire a customer.
If your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is more than your keyword's average cost-per-click (CPC), Google Ads could be a good bet.
However, if your CPA is lower than the industry average, perhaps Facebook Ads may be a more affordable solution.
Finally, when you look at Google vs. Facebook ads, consider your position in the market. In other words, how well-known and reputable is your brand?
If you're a new company that's relatively unknown, you may struggle to win clicks on Google Search when your ad is listed next to more recognizable brands.
In this case, it may be worth building up your brand equity through Facebook Ads or the Google Display Network before using Google Search ads.
When comparing Google vs. Facebook ads, remember that you don't have to choose one platform over the other forever.
Although it can help to establish effective campaigns on one platform before expanding your operations, ultimately, it's best to use both in tandem.
When choosing Google Ads or Facebook Ads, consider the key strengths of each platform:
Whether you start advertising with Facebook Ads or Google Ads, don't forget to test, test and test again – it's the only way to ensure you're getting the most bang for your buck.
As the famous British advertising executive David Ogilvy said, "Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving."