Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: The Ultimate Face-off

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads

People are spending more time online now than ever before. In fact, the average person will spend over 5 years of their life on social media. Combine that with the time spent on Google and websites online, it's evident that customers are incredibly connected. For a business, this means there is a huge opportunity to capture your audience's attention online.


But how do you do that exactly? With more and more new businesses competing for customer attention every day, how do you make sure new customers are finding your business first? The answer: online advertising!


Online ads allow businesses to quickly build brand awareness, create website traffic from interested buyers, generate new leads, and increase the number of sales on a monthly basis. Beyond that, with online advertising and its retargeting features, businesses can now create unique customer journeys and craft messages based on where a customer is in the purchasing cycle. Because of this, more and more businesses are investing in online advertising as their primary source of customer acquisition. These online marketing platforms allow businesses to have maintained control over how they target users (who, what, when, where, and how) than ever. They also provide a level of flexibility and control which allows businesses to find potential customers faster while increasing their return on investment.


When it comes to marketing your business online, two big names come to everyone's mind now; Facebook and Google. These two giant tech companies dominate the marketing landscape and provide endless opportunities for marketers and businesses to reach their ideal customers. Both platforms are top contenders for the king of pay-per-click (PPC) crown and compete to be the best lead generation platform for businesses. However, it is not always clear which one your business should invest their time, money, and effort into. The answer is... it depends!


Which one works best for your business will depend on your marketing objectives, ad budget, and type of business. Each platform has its pros and cons, but both remain the most powerful tools available for large, medium, and small business owners to help their company grow in 2019. In this article, we are going to give you our best advice to consider when deciding between Facebook Ads vs Google Ads for your business.


Google Ads


Google was founded in 1988 and has quickly become the worlds most dominant search engine. In fact, there are over 63,000 Google searches per second on any given day (over 5.6 billion searches per day). With just over 7 billion people on earth, that would mean over 80% of the worlds population searches at least one thing on Google per day! That mind-blowing statistic is proof that no matter what your business, your customers are using Google to find answers. Over the past three decades, Google has developed its advertising platform (Originally called Google Adwords, now Google Ads) to contain incredibly detailed targeting options and a multitude of different ad formats that work for businesses with almost any sized ad budget.


So what exactly is a Google ad? Google offers a variety of different types of advertising including:


1- Search Ads (On Google search network): Text-based ads that appear on the top and bottom of the Google search results page.


Search Ads


2- Display Ads (On Google display network): Visual ads appearing on over 2 million websites on the internet in the form of a banner


Display Ads


3- Youtube Ads: Skippable videos that play at the beginning and throughout the video you are trying to watch.


Youtube ads


4- Shopping ads: Ads shown on Google when searching for a product to purchase.


shopping ads


5- Gmail Campaigns: Ads found in users Gmail inbox.


Gmail campaigns


Each ad placement has its differences in terms of benefits, performance, and cost per click (CPC). On average, Google says a customer will earn $2 for every $1 spent on their platform. Keep in mind though, this number can go up or down dramatically based on the campaign optimization and targeting. Nonetheless, Google is an amazing way to drive traffic and build brand awareness.


So what are the major pros of using Google to advertise your business?


1- Customer intent is high: When a customer goes to Google, they are typically searching for an answer. Whether that's an answer to a question like "How much does a furnace cost?" or "Where is the nearest plumber to me?", either way, often they are looking for a solution to their problem. That means all you have to do is ensure they find your businesses solution!


2- Detailed targeting: You can target based on age, gender, demographics, device, keywords and more. However, their most unique feature is the in-market audience. With this, Google will show your ad to people it has identified to be in the market for your product or service based on their search history and online behaviours.


3- Higher Conversions: Typically a customer will be closer to the end of their buying cycle when they go on Google, therefore the conversion rate tends to be higher than other platforms like Facebook.


The major con to Google is that it is expensive...


Depending on the keywords, audience, and the other targeting feature you use, it can cost anywhere from $0.50 per click to $25 per click (I have seen it go as high as $50 per click in certain industries with high-priced products). This means, for a small business, a small budget may not go very far and you may not get a huge number of impressions or clicks.


Facebook Ads


We are all familiar with Mark Zuckerberg by now and his global social media platform called Facebook. Founded in 2004, it has quickly become the most popular social platform for users all over the globe. It now has over 2.5 billion monthly users and is one of the most sophisticated advertising platforms in the world. With people spending over 2 hours a day on average on social media platforms, large and small businesses are quickly realizing the importance of social media ads for growing their business globally and locally.


So what is a Facebook ad? Typically you see them while you are on the Facebook or Instagram app (Facebook owns Instagram) while you are scrolling through posts. Like Google, Facebook offers a variety of advertising placement options for its users including:


1- Newsfeed ads: On mobile and desktop. They appear right in between posts from your friends and pages you follow.


Newsfeed ads


2- Video Ads: These appear in the newsfeed, as skippable ads before a video you watch, and in other video players within Facebook.


Video ads


3- Story Ads: Videos or images that appear in the stories section of Facebook and Instagram.


4- Marketplace: Located in the marketplace while you shop for used and new products.




5- Messenger: Ads that appear between your messages with friends and family on the messenger platform.




There are a number of others but these are the most popular and effective. Facebook also has very detailed targeting options that allow you to hone in on customers such as their location, job title, relationship status, your interests (based on online behaviours), family status, life events, and more.


The biggest advantage of Facebook is its ability to target based on your objective...


Facebook Objectives


For some businesses, brand awareness is key and they are looking to get lots of impressions, others want traffic to their website, and for the rest, conversions are most important. No matter what your goal is, with Facebook you can optimize your ads performance to match.


If we compare apples to apples and the CPC of Facebook ads vs Google ads, Facebook ads typically cost between $0.10 and $2.00 per click. This is significantly lower than Google. Why is that? Well...


Buyer intent on Facebook is much lower than Google.


If you consider how users interact with Facebook, they typically are logging on to watch funny videos, to communicate with friends, and to see the latest news/trends. This means your audience is less qualified when compared to Google. This is where creativity and a powerful marketing message is required. Businesses need to invest in ads that peak users interest and stop them from scrolling past.


The major pros of Facebook advertising are...


1- Low Cost: They only cost a fraction of what Google does which means its more available for businesses with smaller advertising budgets and your monthly ad spend will get you significantly more impressions.


2- Exposure: You can get more impressions and brand awareness because users spend more time on Social Media than any other platform.


3- Retargeting: You can also retarget your website visitors to help drive sales and increase conversions from your other marketing campaigns.


4- Custom Audiences: Target users similar to your existing customers or people who have visited your website who may also be interested in your offering.


The major cons of Facebook Ads...


1- Low Buyer intent: You could spend your whole budget and get very few purchases if your messaging and ad creative is not appealing.


The Final Face-off: Facebook Ads vs Google Ads


Now that you are armed with some knowledge on Facebook Ads vs Google Ads, which one should you choose? Both are great options and provide your business with ample opportunity for growth.


If you are looking to get more sales, to generate leads, or to book appointments with your business, both platforms are excellent choices. Google has a slight advantage however due to the intent of the customer.


If your goal is to increase brand awareness, Facebook and social media is the clear king.


In a perfect world, you would utilize both together to create a highly effective marketing campaign. Both will help drive more traffic and interest to your business, and both allow you to retarget customers to increase conversion rates.


Now that you understand which platform is best for you, we highly recommend you spend some time getting familiar with how to build a successful marketing campaign on each platform, how to maximize your return on investment, and how to operate each platform.


You can also reach out to the team at The Social Otter for assistance with running your online marketing campaigns. We take the headache away and ensure you minimize your wasted ad spend.

Create your all-in-one digital marketing report including all your data from Google Ads & Facebook Ads with DashThis.


Try DashThis for free!
Garron Rinkel

First obtaining a BBA – Marketing in 2015, Garron has worked professionally in the digital marketing space ever since. His focus is on helping businesses effectively find new customers by elevating their brands messaging and creating influential advertising campaigns. He currently is a partner with Digital Mascot, a marketing firm that has clients from around the globe, while operating his own freelance web design and advertising business within Canada. 

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