How to Decide Between Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads?

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As digital marketing experts, we consistently monitor and evolve our processes to best suit the growing needs of our clients and digital platforms. Understanding how to best allocate marketing dollars, especially when it comes to advertising is crucial in devising a strategy that works for you and your target customers. 

It’s only natural to contemplate which advertising platforms are worth giving the most time and attention to. Considering monthly Facebook users top 2.7 billion and Google continues to round up near 3.5 billion searches per day, there is no shortage of available users and eyes tuned in to the world of digital advertising. 

Paid Search vs. Paid Social 

Both Facebook and Google advertising platforms operate on a pay-per-click model that effectively aims to increase sales and brand awareness. The primary difference between these two platforms is the way the ads are displayed and received by the end-user. Facebook ads appear almost like a digital billboard that you can spot or scroll through organically on your feed. In this case, the ad appears as an unsolicited invitation to explore the sponsored product or service. This difference with Google ads is that they intuitively appear as tidbits of relevant advice or answers to questions and related searches. A google search for “best new bathroom vanities” will prompt an ad to appear featuring a sponsored bathroom vanity as a direct answer this example of a user seeking professional advice. 

What is Google Advertising? 

Google Ads is considered a paid search tactic, meaning you pay for the ads to appear on the search engine results page or SERPs. Paid listings marked “ad” or “sponsored” are always the first and most relevant results to appear based on a user’s past data and location. In this case, an ad appears based on variables like target keywords that narrow search intent. This means that buyers can actively find the products and services you offer directly based on their search intent. More than that, Google Ads allow you to target customers at different points along the customer journey. This level of customization means that ad copy and landing pages can be developed for customers at specific parts of their journey, significantly increasing the chances of a natural conversion. As a whole, advertising on Google is one of the most effective ways to engage new or existing customers who already search for something you sell on your website. 

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What is Facebook Advertising?

Given that Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, there is no shortage of advertising integrations to utilize. People share an immense amount of personal information on social media including interests, likes/dislikes, preferences, friends, and demographic information like age, sex, gender, and marital status. A culmination of this data means that Facebook can target the most optimal audiences. Because people often use Facebook to read and publish updates on friends and family, a sponsored ad needs to be introduced in the most organic and relevant way possible to be effective. As a whole, Facebook’s ability to collect and integrate precise demographic data and social behavior into its algorithm can make it well worth the investment. 

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Google vs. Facebook Ads

Some of the major differences between Google and Facebook advertising hinge on the following variables: 

Audience Size

While both platforms have no shortage of users, focusing on an optimal target audience lies at the root of advertising success. With 3.5 billion daily Google searches and 2.7 Billion active daily Facebook users, understanding how to connect with your target audience starts with examining some of the following questions:

  • Does my target audience favor one platform over the other? 
  • Are my products or services search-oriented?   
  • Are people aware of my product? What stage in the customer journey do we focus on? 

Once you begin to understand where and how customers are searching, deciding on a platform should become more apparent. 

Audience Targeting 

No matter the platform, you can target and retarget audiences using a variety of factors including location, age, gender, marital status, and income level. That said, the major differences are that Google Ads use broad keyword targeting while Facebook allows for ultra-precise audience targeting. If your business requires more advanced targeting, drawing on Facebook's ability to collect behavioral tendencies and create custom/lookalike audiences in the (re)targeting process is well worth the investment. 

Buying Intent 

Targeting customers at a transactional phase of their buying journey is when Google Ads shine through. Google ads appear for those who are keen on buying rather than browsing. This high-quality traffic often leads to an actual conversion when customers need your products the most. In short, Google advertising ensures your ads satisfy a buyers’ intent to purchase something, while Facebook ads work to build recognition and social community that can boost brand awareness. 

Cost & ROI

As a business owner, it’s only natural to worry about the effectiveness vs. cost of your advertising efforts. While costs and ROI often depend on your industry, location, and marketing objectives, let's take a look at whether Google Ads or Facebook Ads are cheaper. 

Since Google Ads speak directly to businesses and consumers who are ready to buy, the price to bid on a highly competitive keyword to reach a specific target audience may be slightly more expensive, ranging from $15 to $100. With Facebook, there is less of a pay-to-play model. While Facebook ads are generally less precise, they are more disruptive. Like shooting off a fire hose, advertising on Facebook means you push to a larger general population who haven't yet been convinced to purchase anything specific. Again, It’s easy to see why cost and ROI depend on your industry, location, and marketing objectives. 

Key Takeaways 

Both Facebook and Google advertising platforms are proven strategies that consistently bring high ROI. That said, hopefully, the following breakdown proves beneficial in deciding where and how to allocate your marketing dollars. As a rule of thumb, use Google Ads to sell products that users are already aware of and are actively searching for. On the other hand, Facebook Ads might be the best choice to advertise new or innovative products to larger audiences to grow your brand awareness. 

To better understand how Digitial Advertising and PPC  Ads can work for you, to develop a customizable marketing plan, or to receive an in-depth audit, get in touch today. At Drive Digital, our core focus is on our clients, transparency, and campaigns that drive results.