Digital Marketing

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Which one works best for your business?

Clueless and confused to decide whether to run ads on Facebook or Google?

In this article, we will make a comprehensive comparison of these two digital marketing strategies with in-depth insights.

Google and Facebook. 

They’re not only the top Internet companies in the world but also the biggest digital advertising channels that make billions from their advertising revenue.

In 2019, Google’s advertising revenue was $134.81 billion and the revenue for 2020 is expected to decline slightly due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A large portion of Google’s revenue comes from its advertising platform.

98.5% of Facebook’s revenue is generated from advertising. In 2019, Facebook made close to $69.7 billion. 

From the stats, you should have known that Google’s ad revenue is much higher than Facebook’s. Google ads revenue is almost double the ads revenue of Facebook. 

Let’s put their ad revenues aside and look at other criteria of these ad platforms.

Both digital channels have billions of users and have crucial data sets that help businesses to get their ads in front of their potential customers.

Advertising simultaneously on both platforms is great, but for businesses just starting with digital advertising, it will be difficult to allocate a budget for both platforms. With a small advertising budget, they need to choose the one that can generate the best results.

But, it’s hard to answer which advertising platform is the best for a business. Rather than providing answers base on assumptions let’s dive deep into both platforms and find out what’s best on each platform.

What Are Facebook Ads?

Facebook is a social media channel for individuals and businesses. According to Facebook, 1.6 billion people worldwide are connected to a small business on Facebook. 

The number of businesses using Facebook advertising has increased over the years. When you’re advertising on Facebook, you need to create ads using Facebook Ads manager tools. The tools will help you choose the right audience for your products or services. You can choose your audience based on demographics, location, behavior, and interest.

Moreover, you can also choose where you want your ads to run, either on Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network (mostly apps), and Messenger. And the best part you can track and evaluate your ad performance and make necessary changes for the ads to perform better. 

In general, Facebook is the best advertising platform to increase brand awareness and engagement. You also can use Facebook Ads to generate leads and drive quality traffic to your site but it depends on your business nature and audience. Sometimes your target audience might not be available on Facebook.

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads used to be called Google AdWords until 2018. This search advertising platform works on a bidding system. You will bid for keywords related to your business and pay every time your potential customers click on your ads on Google. 

When creating ads on Google Ads, you need to choose the right keywords, optimize your ad copy, and bid for the right amount for a click. You need to maintain a high Quality Score (metrics that analyze the bidding strategy and the quality of ad copies).

For example, our search result for “accounting services”

As we had mentioned earlier, you pay for every click on your ad (that’s why it’s called pay-per-click PPC advertising) or for every 1k impressions (usually for Google Display and Video Ads).

Google Ads is the best-paid search engine marketing strategy that can help your business drive qualified traffic to your website or mobile apps. It works best when you identify the right keywords that influence the prospects’ purchase decision.

Comparison between Facebook Ads and Google Ads

If you want to look at a simple comparison between these two amazing ad platforms, we’ve compiled insights that will help you make a quick decision on which platform to use. If you want to check out a specific section, just click on your preferred points below:

Audience Size of for Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Both Google and Facebook have huge audience size. As both platforms work differently, Google gets approximately 5.8 billion searches every single day, whereas Facebook has almost 1.73 billion daily active users.

Most of the time your potential customers are active on both platforms. So you can’t simply determine the right advertising platform just looking at the audience size.

You need to ask the following questions:

  • Which platform my target audience are actively using?
  • Is my products and services search or social-oriented?

If you’re launching a new innovative product, it doesn’t matter even if Google has billions of searches per month. It won’t help you as no one will be searching for your product unless you know the keywords that are closely related to your new product and what it can help your audience solve.

But a new product launch works best with Facebook. Even if people never heard of your brand or product, you can use Facebook ads to get the word out. Facebook is more suitable to build brand awareness and encourage people to recognize your brand. 

So, audience size only matters once you determine which platform your target audience is actively using and the nature of your business whether they are search or social oriented. 

If your business is search-oriented, then your business should provide information or offer products that satisfies your potential customers’ search query. 

Cost & ROI For Facebook Ads and Google Ads

The cost involved in advertising on the digital platform is crucial for small and medium businesses as they don’t have big marketing budgets. They just want to get as many results as possible with their limited budget. According to Wordstream, the average CPC on Google Ads is $2.69, but the cost varies depending on the industry and competition.

In paid search, the average pay per click cost for an eCommerce site is as low as $1.16 while the businesses in the legal industry are spending almost $6.75 per click on average.

You can take a look at the complete list of average CPC for every industry. You can use it as a benchmark in optimizing your ads. But the only drawback is that it’s for the global market. We are unable to find Google Ads cost for the local market.

Google Ads Benchmark for Your Industry

In comparison to Google Ads, Facebook Ads are slightly cheaper. A business in the clothing industry only needs to pay $0.45 per click on Facebook. The finance industry is one of the expensive businesses to advertise on Facebook as the average CPC is $3.77. Still cheaper than Google Ads!

For both digital advertising platforms, the average CPC varies not only by industry but also their placement. According to Adespresso, an ad that shows up on Instagram feed 2X more costly than Facebook placements.

Although the CPC of Google Ads is more expensive compared to Facebook Ads, you need to understand that people that clicking on Google Ads have different intent and most of the times they have purchase intent and most likely become a paying customer. Facebook is the best platform for brand awareness and Google is the best platform to reach potential customers that are at the purchase stage.

For example, your audience comes across your ad on Facebook. The person recognizes your brand and searches on Google to find out more about your brand. So, your Facebook ads have encouraged your target audience to find your business as they are aware of your brand and want to know more. Once they get to know more about your business, they will most likely purchase your products or services. 

So, it’s a long buyer journey. 

 CPC is the cost involved with the click, while CPA is another important metric you should consider with paid advertising. CPA (Cost Per Action) determine the ROI of your paid ad campaigns.

According to Wordstream, the average CPA for Facebook is $18.68 and the average CPA for Google Ads is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display. These are just average based on the global market and the cost will be relatively lower for local markets depending on the competition. If you have a huge number of competitors actively spending on paid ads, then you should determine whether it’s worth to spend on these platforms or move to alternatives.

Buyer Intent for Facebook Ads and Google Ads

When we look at buyer intent, Google Ads have complete dominance over Facebook Ads. Let’s say, someone looking for any information about a product or service, do they search for it on Google or head over to Facebook with an expectation to see an ad related to what they want? (we are not talking about remarketing ads here)

Let’s look at an example.

If a person’s sink starts to leak, they immediately search for a plumber. They will be searching for a plumber on Google. If the plumber is using Google Ads, his business will appear in front of the potential customer. 

If the plumber was advertising his services on Facebook, the potential customer might not remember his business. Even if they remember they won’t be searching for the plumber on Facebook. Google is their ideal solution provider during a crisis. 

This shows that Google Ads to be the best platform when we look at buyer intent.

When we look at conversion, Facebook Ads are less effective compared to Google Ads. We agree that you’ll be able to generate leads from Facebook ads, but it will take time for you to convert the leads to paying customers. Facebook is a social platform that users want to relax and scroll news feed to find something that can entertain them.

To be successful on Facebook, you need to create a community with either Facebook Page or Facebook groups to get your audience engaged with your brand. These people are most likely to buy your products and services when they need them.

If your goal is to build brand awareness and keep your audience engaged with your brand, then Facebook is the ideal platform. But, if you’re focused on converting your audience into customers with a short buyer journey, Google Ads is your answer.

Targeting Options on Google Ads and Facebook Ads

When we talk about granular targeting, Facebook is the winner here. Although both Google ads and Facebook Ads provide various targeting options like demographics and locations, Facebook has advanced targeting options. 

And Google Ads targets keywords related to your business.

Apart from the targeting options listed above, Facebook has a targeting feature that allows you to target an audience based on a humongous list of interests and behaviors. This is based on the data Facebook has been collecting from its users. 

Want to target business owners? Want to target business owners interested in digital marketing? Look at the screenshot below. (You can actually narrow down even further)

Compared to Google, with Facebook, you can target a very specific audience. If you have a niche audience, Facebook ads might work well for your business. 

Another advantage of Facebook is that they offer a useful feature that allows you to create a lookalike audience, where you can advertise to people similar to your existing audience. It’s a powerful tool for advertisers to completely attract their target audience.

Ad Formats of Facebook Ads and Google Ads

How many ad formats available on both platforms? Before looking at the type of ad formats, you should determine the objective of your paid ads campaign.

If you’re talking about brand awareness, then Facebook is the ideal platform to appear in front of your target audience and build a loyal follower base.

If you want more sales and conversion, Google Ads have various ad formats that can help you drive your potential customer to your landing pages. 

When you use Google Ads, you have various types of ads to run and the common one is the search ads that show up at the top of search result pages. You can use various extensions and sitelinks for search ads to provide more information about your products and services.

Facebook ads are visual paid ads. As visual-based marketing is significantly increasing with the growth in video advertising, Facebook is one of the best platforms you want to try out various visually appealing ads. If you’re running online stores, Facebook is an amazing platform for you to add and exhibit your product images to attract the attention of your potential customers.

Which paid advertising platform should you choose?

So, which paid advertising platform is better for your business? Should I go for Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

You need to ask a few questions before deciding on the platform that can generate the best results for your investment.

First, identify your campaign goals. Are you looking for quick sales and conversion? Then, Google Ads is an ideal choice for you. If you’re looking to improve your brand awareness or reach a narrow audience, Facebook ads will be a better choice.

Next, create a buyer persona. Look at the industry of your clients. If they are B2B and B2C business, Google Ads campaigns works perfectly fine. Facebook Ads works better with B2C businesses that sell less expensive products and services as you can easily go for impulsive purchases by continuously appearing in front of your audience. You can still use Facebook Ads for B2B business especially with custom lookalike audiences and remarketing ads. 

When we look at the sales funnel, Google Ads work best for prospects that are at the bottom of the funnel while Facebook Ads works well in attracting top-of-the-funnel prospects.

Lastly, you need to consider your advertising budget and resources. Let’s say you’re in a competitive industry, do you have the budget and skill set to invest in Google Ads? Or do you have creative talents or will you able to outsource outstanding images and videos that can exhibit your brand’s value and perception with Facebook Ads?

Questions like this will help you come up with the right strategies and choose the most appropriate digital advertising channel.

Tracking and Monitoring Your Paid Advertising Results

It doesn’t matter which paid advertising platform you choose, getting a positive ROI from your campaign is critical for your business. The best way to track your paid advertising results is with Google Data Studio or other analytical tools. 

You should track the following metrics:

  • Cost per click (CPC)
  • Conversion Rate 
  • Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
  • Impressions
  • Clicks
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR)
  • Quality Score (For Google Ads)
  • Total Conversion Value
  • Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

Measuring the performance of your paid advertising campaigns can be difficult if you’re advertising on multiple platforms, using Google Studio, you can automatically pull the information of each metrics. You will have complete analytics data in real-time.

Final Thoughts

Many digital marketers and digital marketing agencies suggest testing both Facebook Ads and Google Ads to see which platform works better for your business.

However, small and medium businesses and startups often have a limited budget to try out both platforms and decide the best one for them. So, you need to keep this in mind:

  • Facebook is all about branding awareness and building an engaging online community
  • Google Ads is about identifying the right keywords relevant to your business and drive people with purchase intent to your website or landing page.

With years of experience dealing with digital advertising campaigns, we would suggest that Google Ads often works better than Facebook Ads. Even if your potential customers come across your ad on Facebook, they will still head to Google to research about your company and products. 

At the end of the day, you know your business better. Take a close look at your target audience, your resources, and your budget before choosing the platform that can help you generate the best results. 

Which digital platform are you currently using? Did you manage to get the best results?

Share with us by commenting below.

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