As a digital marketing agency, we receive this question every day. “When to use Facebook Ads vs Google Ads? Which is better for my online business?”
Well, it depends.
Both Google and Facebook are dominant advertising giants and worth spending your marketing budget on, yet for different reasons. Which one is a better fit for you will depend on the type of your business, your goals, and your audience.
Facebook currently has 2.5 billion active monthly users and offers ultra-precise audience targeting to help new customers discover your business.
At the same time, Google handles roughly 3.5 billion searches per day and accounts for 92% of overall organic search traffic in the US, letting you find new customers and leverage their high search intent.
So, when should you opt for one advertising channel over the other, Google Ads or Facebook Ads, which one will better suit your business’s needs?
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the differences between these two platforms, and what aspects you should consider when deciding which one will bring your organization a bigger ROI.
Paid Search vs Paid Social: What’s the Difference?
Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads are advertising platforms that charge you on a pay-per-click basis. They’re also both effective and can help you increase sales and brand awareness. However, what is the primary difference between the two? Let’s figure it out.
What Is Google Ads?
Google Ads, formerly known as Adwords, is mostly considered a paid search. When you’re using this advertising platform, you pay for the ads to appear on search engine result pages (SERPs.)
Check out an example of paid search ads below:
As you see, all paid listings are marked either “Ad” or “Sponsored”. You can also notice that Google showed only ads relevant to my search and even my location (editor’s note: since I’m in Thailand, all prices are in Thai Baht.)
It means that Google can place your ad based on your target keywords and audience.
Now, imagine how many prospects you can reach by leveraging the power of their search intent. These buyers are actively looking for the type of products/services you offer, and Google Ads can help you find and convert them before your competitors do.
Apart from Google Search, Google Ads also lets you advertise on:
- Google Display Network (has over 2 million sites and reaches over 90% of people on the Internet)
- Youtube (1.68 billion worldwide users)
- Google Play
- Google Maps (154.4 million monthly users)
In short, the main goal of advertising on Google is to get more new or existing customers who’re already searching for something you sell on your website.
What Is Facebook Advertising?
Contrary to the Google’s paid search, Facebook offers paid social advertising. It’s the biggest social media platform in the world, and it lets you pay to place your ads in front of potential customers.
People share a lot of things on their social media, including their interests, likes/dislikes, preferences, friends, plans, marital status, date of birth, location, and many more. That’s why advertising on such a gigantic social media powerhouse like Facebook lets you take advantage of this immense data and target audiences that are most likely to convert.
Below you will find an example of a paid ad on Facebook Newsfeed:
Apart from the Newsfeed, you can also place your Facebook Ads on:
- Facebook Marketplace
- Instagram Feed (over 1 billion worldwide users)
- Video Feeds
- Right-hand column
- Messenger (1.6 billion active users)
To cut a long story short, Facebook Ads, aka paid social, let you use precise demographic targeting and help prospects find your business based on their interests and social behavior.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Comparison
Now that you’re aware of the fundamental differences between these two advertising giants, let’s dig deeper and compare Google Ads and Facebook Ads in more detail.
Both Google and Facebook provide you with an enormous amount of users. However, the number itself shouldn’t be your primary focus.
Your target audience is likely to use both of these platforms. Yet, you cannot define whether Facebook or Google Ads is better for your business by just looking at the number of people using them.
Instead, here’s what you need to ask yourself:
- Are my prospects actively using both networks or just one of them?
- Is a service or product that I offer on my website search-oriented?
- Are people aware of my product or service?
If your potential customers are neither on Facebook or Google, then what’s the point of spending your budget?
If no one is searching for your specific product or service on Google, then you should consider other advertising options.
If your product or service is brand-new or super hi-tech, and no one has ever heard of it, then Facebook would be a better place to spread the word about what you have to offer.
You can target or retarget specific audiences by location, age, gender, marital status, and income level with both Facebook and Google Ads.
However, if your business requires more advanced targeting options to drive traffic, Facebook is your ultimate winner. Moreover, you can also create custom and lookalike Facebook audiences based on the user’s preferences and behaviors.
People share a lot of information on Facebook, sometimes even too much if you ask us.
Nevertheless, the more they tell the platform about themselves, the bigger is your chance to reach your target users, even if they’re precisely 20-25-year-old digital nomads who love EDM music, Tiger King, and vegan smoothie bowls (just saying…)
Now, it’s time for Google Ads to shine. If people are searching for your products or services when they’re ready to click “Buy”, then you should advertise on Google.
Google Ads lets you gain qualified traffic that will most likely result in an immediate conversion. Google will place your ads at the time your prospects need your services the most.
In short, the Google advertising platform will make sure your ads satisfy buyers’ search intent.
On the other hand, if your marketing goal is to build a strong social community and boost your brand awareness, then Facebook has much more potential.
Cost & ROI
As a small business owner, you, of course, worry not only about the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns but also their price. So, which is cheaper, Google Ads or Facebook Ads?
Note: Before we take a look at the exact number, remember that cost for your ads, either on Google or Facebook, will largely depend on your industry, location, and marketing objectives.
Average Cost per Click
In January 2020, the average cost per click (CPC) on Facebook Ads was $0.11, and it fell to $0.09 in March across all industries.
While according to SEMrush, the average CPC for Google Ads across all industries in the US is $1.9.
So, you’ll pay less per click on your Facebook ad than on Google, yet again, it shouldn’t be the only reason why you choose one platform over another.
If your audience isn’t on Facebook, you’ll still waste your money even with a minimum CPC.
Average Click-Through Rate
Here, it’s critical that you understand that Facebook Ads let you combine both text and attractive images or videos that are more likely to be clickable to learn more about your brand.
Google Ads catch your prospect in the process of either consideration, that’s why it takes more effort to create a highly-clickable ad on Google.
Average Conversion Rate
The average conversion rate (CVR) for Facebook ads across all industries is 9.21%. However, it also depends on the industry.
For example, fitness business owners can jump from happiness because an average CVR on Facebook for the fitness industry is 14.29%. Pretty neat, eh?
At the same time, the average conversion rate in Google Ads across all industries is 3.75% for search and 0.77% for display.
Average Cost per Action
Note that “action” can be anything from submitting a form, clicking on your ad to making a purchase. CPA is also an important benchmark to know whether you’ll have the desired ROI on your specific PPC campaign.
P.S. Don’t be scared by the CPA numbers, just make sure your ads are well-targeted and have a high conversion rate.
Unique Ad Placements
Google Ads versus Facebook Ads: same same, but different.
Even though both platforms are more or less similar (they let you place your ads and pay for them whenever your prospects click on them), they are still unique in their own way.
Each platform offers a unique ad placement that differs from other ads on that platform. For Facebook, it’s Messenger Ads, and for Google, – Shopping Ads.
Depending on your business, you can leverage both to make sure you reach your target audience.
We’ve mentioned a lot of stats and facts, and we know it might seem like too much information to process at once. In the end, all you want to learn is what will bring you a better ROI, Facebook Ads, or Google Ads.
Usually, it’s an excellent tactic to test both Google Ads and Facebook Ads and see which one is a better fit.
However, if your marketing budget is tight and you cannot afford the cost of “trial and failure,” then take a look at the table below. It should make the process of choosing the right advertising platform for your business much more straightforward.
Google Ads or Facebook Ads: What Should I Choose?
Please, note that the guidelines you see above are general. Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads have tricks that can help you reach almost all of your marketing goals if you know how to craft a strong advertising campaign.
And if you’re new to pay-per-click advertising and don’t know where to begin, our PPC experts are ready to leverage years of experience to run profitable Facebook and Google Ads campaigns for your business.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads are strong PPC advertising platforms that can help you boost your business. However, which one you’re going to choose depends on your industry, type of business, goals, and target audience.
After comparing Google Ads vs Facebook Ads, we dare to state that you should view paid search and paid social as complementary rather than opposed strategies.
Google Ads is ideal for businesses that sell products or services that users are aware of and are already actively searching for.
On the other hand, Facebook is mostly a better choice if you’re trying to advertise new or innovative products, want to target particular audiences, and grow your brand awareness.
To wrap it up, both Facebook and Google offer immense options that can contribute to your business growth if you put effort into setting up your ad campaigns properly.
And whether you decide to choose to use both PPC platforms or one over the other, it’s essential that you always track and measure your results to know what works best for your company.
Don’t forget to take a look at our Google Ads Guide if you decide to advertise your business on Google.