It’s a false dichotomy to think of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.
This is an idea that has spread as a result of the natural rivalry between technology companies such as Facebook and Google. Then it was thought that advertisers had to make a complex decision: which advertising platform to use: Facebook’s or Google’s? These questions are asked by those who want to scale their business but know little or nothing about digital marketing.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads
Although both platforms are often positioned as competitors, this is not true in practice. In fact, many companies leverage the strengths of advertising on Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Using them within their strategy to achieve maximum visibility, increase leads and sales, and reach new customers. We could say that it is a matter of alignment and return on investment (ROI).
We’ll look at what differentiates Google Ads and Facebook Ads, how the two advertising platforms work, and why you should consider using both as part of a broader digital marketing strategy.
The differences between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads
The user mindset
Perhaps the main difference between the two platforms is the mindset of the users. And this is key, knowing the mindset of your buyer persona if you are doing inbound marketing.
On Google, people are already looking for an answer. To their questions or a solution to their problem when they see the ad in the search results. In other words, they are already advanced in their buying journey.
On Facebook, on the other hand, users are browsing their photos, news feed, replying to comments or chatting with their contacts. They are not actively searching for something, as when on Google. This is crucial in the dynamic between the advertiser and the audience.
If you create campaigns on Google, it is important that your landing page matches in design and copy with the keywords you are using in the campaign. On Facebook, we must focus on creating audiences with interests, demographics and characteristics that match our ad.
This difference is key and it is very important to have it clear in the strategy.
Differences in costs
Depending on the industry you are in, the cost per click can vary a lot. Although we can conclude that generally the cost in Google Ads is higher than in Facebook. Especially in very competitive niches and industries.
Starting on Facebook today is more affordable. Something you should consider depending on your budget and resources at the beginning.
Consider also the differences in conversions. Because although Google Ads can be a more expensive investment the conversion rate is usually much better.
Segmentation or hyper-segmentation
The fundamental form of segmentation in Google is through keywords. It is also possible to select the times and territories where you want ads to be shown in searches.
Facebook, on the other hand, offers a wider variety of options:
- Territory (you can delimit it even to a neighborhood in your city).
- Interests of all kinds
- Mobile devices (type and brand of phone/tablet)
That’s a lot more options and variables. Which has its pros and cons, depending on how you look at it. This suits some businesses more than others.
The important thing is to consider these options when creating our campaigns. On Facebook, we can be much more specific and create different types of audiences. But on Google Ads, you have the advantage of keywords and users who are closer to the purchase decision.
Branding vs. a predetermined interest
On Facebook, most of the time ads and campaigns are targeted to people who don’t even know the product and/or service exists. So it helps to create brand recognition and positioning, we can say it is branding. It is certainly a great way to position your brand and make more people in your market aware of everything you offer.
With Google Ads, the focus is much more on attracting people who have already made a journey in their purchase research, they have even made up their mind. But they have not made a purchase of the product or service.
Branding in Google Ads is possible, but it is much more advisable to use Facebook for that purpose and focus more on direct response tasks with Google.
This opens up a world of options. It shows that these platforms don’t necessarily have to be rivals or that one rules out the other. On the contrary, they can work as a great complement to each other in a more in-depth digital marketing strategy. But remember, it does involve a budget.
Ad types and objectives
Facebook offers a large number of ad types that we can create. With its platform, you can advertise your website, capture specific pages, fan pages, increase engagement on your page or in your app, promote downloads of your app, reach people near any business (physical location), capture leads within FB, increase video views and other actions.
Being such a broad and flexible platform, we can find several promotion options with types of ads suited to what your business wants to achieve.
With Google, there is also variety. Different ad formats have been introduced (such as universal app campaigns). Even so, the classic method never dies: drive web traffic to a website, preferably a capture page or landing page where there can be an offer with a clear call to action.
On this point, what you need to take into account is the difference between the multiple ad types and objectives that exist in both Google Ads and Facebook. And how each of them fits into your business marketing strategy.
The strengths and advantages of Google Ads
As the most popular and widely used search engine in the world, Google is considered the de facto leader in online advertising. With more than 3.5 billion search queries every day, Google offers advertisers access to an unprecedented and unmatched potential audience of users actively searching for goods and services.
Google’s advertising offerings are divided into two main networks: the Search network and the Display network. The Search network encompasses the entirety of Google as a search engine (Google Ads), and advertisers can bid on millions of keywords and phrases to target potential customers.
The Google Display Network, which offers advertisers visual ads such as banners, covers approximately 98% of the entire Internet. Making it an excellent choice for advertisers who want to achieve marketing goals that are not necessarily as conversion-oriented as PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads and instead want to increase brand awareness.
A huge audience
One of the main advantages of using Google as an advertising platform is its immense reach. Google handles more than 40,000 search queries per second. A total of more than 1.2 trillion web searches each year. As Google becomes increasingly sophisticated, in part due to its growing reliance on its proprietary artificial intelligence and machine learning technology, RankBrain, this incredible search volume is likely to increase. Along with the potential for advertisers to reach new customers.
Bottom line. No other search engine can deliver the potential audience that Google can. This large potential source of potential customers makes Google an excellent choice in your digital marketing strategy, but when combined with Google’s increasingly accurate search results, it’s easy to see why Google Ads is the most popular and widely used PPC platform in the world.
A level playing field
One of the biggest misconceptions among those new to PPC is that whoever has the biggest ad budget somehow automatically “wins” on Google Ads. Fortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, as Google Ads focuses primarily on the quality and relevance of ads, not how much advertisers spend.
The more relevant an ad is to the user, the better the experience the user has and, therefore, the more likely they are to continue using Google as their search engine. For this reason, Google Ads rewards relevance and quality over other factors. This is why smart advertisers with relevant, optimized, high-quality campaigns rarely have to bid as much as advertisers with poorer ads.
Certain keywords may cost more than others. Like those in the financial industry, which are traditionally among the most expensive in any professional sector. But how much advertisers will have to bid will depend largely on the quality and relevance of their ads. Some metrics are more important to Google in its assessment of quality and relevance than others, such as click-through rate, which is considered an indication of the quality and relevance of the ad.
A wide range of ad formats
When Google AdWords first launched in 2000 (with a total of just 350 advertisers), the text-based ads Google ran alongside its search results were rudimentary, to say the least. But they contained many of the same elements that can be seen in today’s ads.
Google Ads formats
Although PPC ads in Google Ads are text-based, you can take advantage of an incredible amount of features to make your ads more compelling and appealing to potential customers.
Ad extensions, site links, social proof such as user reviews, location targeting, Shopping ads and other features are available to advertisers. Offering an unparalleled level of personalization and control for advertisers. Google has even introduced ad formats tailored to the specific needs of certain types of businesses, such as car manufacturers and hotels. They go far beyond the typical text-based ad experience and incorporate rich visual elements such as high-resolution images and interactive map information.
Regardless of what you’re selling or to whom. Chances are there is an ad format or feature that makes your products or services more appealing to your target market. Google continually rolls out new features and ad formats. This allows advertisers to reach new audiences and generate new business.
The strengths and advantages of Facebook Ads
Compared to Google Ads, Facebook Ads are the newcomers. But in fact, Facebook has been refining and improving its advertising solution for several years. Today, Facebook Ads is a pioneer in the paid social media arena and has become a central part of many companies’ digital marketing strategies.
Unmatched audience and granularity
Like Google Ads, Facebook has a truly broad global audience. With more than 1.55 billion monthly active users. More than a fifth of the total world population. And that’s not counting inactive or infrequently used accounts. Facebook is unrivaled when it comes to the size of its audience. However, rather than exposing advertisers and their messages to this vast audience, the real strength of Facebook’s immense audience lies in the potential granularity with which advertisers can target Facebook users.
The level of granularity of Facebook Ads
People share almost every imaginable detail of their lives on Facebook. From meetings to the marriage of their partners to the birth of children or the celebration of new career moves. Facebook users share joys and life milestones with their friends and networks every day. They also seek out and consume content that aligns with a wide range of personal interests, beliefs, ideologies and values. Presenting advertisers with a unique opportunity to tailor advertising messages to target audiences. In ways previously considered impossible, or even unimaginable.
One of the most powerful applications is the ability available to create what are known as “lookalike audiences”. You can upload customer information from your own databases to Facebook, which then applies filtering based on your own data and information. Provided by third-party data brokers to match users whose information you upload as an advertiser. This creates a “lookalike” audience of users, allowing you to effectively double the potential reach of your ads. By targeting new customers who exhibit the same interests and consumer behavior as your current customers.
Many ask this question, “Does Facebook advertising work?”. By now, the answer should be clear: yes, and remarkably well. However, instead of looking at Facebook as the world’s largest potential billboard, advertisers should look at Facebook as a way to get closer to their ideal customers than they once thought possible. The key thing is social proximity, because again, here potential customers aren’t really doing a search.
A decidedly visual platform
Unlike Google Ads and its comparatively drier, text-based PPC. Facebook ads are powerfully visual. The best Facebook ads blend seamlessly with videos, images and other visual content in users’ newsfeeds. And this allows you to leverage not only the strongly persuasive qualities of visual ads but to do so in a way that is aspirational. Messages that make high-quality ads highly engaging.
An example of a Facebook Ads ad
Just as Google is constantly experimenting with the format of its text-based PPC ads. Facebook is constantly evaluating how it can offer advertisers a superior marketing platform. And users a rewarding and satisfying online experience. In the past, Facebook required ads to feature text that took up no more than 20% of the total ad area. A restriction that has since been relaxed. However, despite this considerable change in its advertising governance, Facebook remains an entirely visual platform. A relevant selling point for many businesses.
Incredible return on investment
Marketers using Facebook Ads are impressed by the granularity of their targeting options. As well as by the tools at their disposal to create engaging ads. However, one of the elements of Facebook Ads that takes newbies by surprise is the potential ROI that Facebook Ads offers. And just how far you can stretch a limited ad budget on the platform.
Facebook Ads budget example
Although the budget for a Facebook ad campaign will vary widely. Depending on a number of factors, such as reach, messaging and overall campaign goals. Facebook Ads are remarkably inexpensive. Especially when you consider their potential impact and the granularity with which advertisers can target their ads.
This competitive pricing makes Facebook Ads a very attractive option for small and medium-sized businesses with limited resources. Not just big brands with large marketing budgets. Combined with the remarkable potential returns offered by the platform, Facebook Ads is one of the best value online advertising solutions available today.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: which one should I use?
Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads are incredibly powerful advertising platforms that suit virtually any type of business. When evaluating the strengths and potential applications of each solution, it is also clear that the two platforms should be viewed in a complementary way, so they are not rivals.
Some people insist on comparing Facebook ads to the Google Display Network, and while the two platforms share some similarities, the way the two platforms have evolved independently of each other helps to conclude that they should be used in alignment, not in opposition.
Harnessing the power of paid search and paid social media is a remarkably effective advertising strategy. However, you need a digital advertising strategy that aligns with the strengths of each platform respectively. While key marketing messages can be maintained. Being consistent across Google Ads and Facebook ads is vital. Above all understanding how best to use each platform for maximum ROI and increased business growth.
Having clear the differences, advantages and features of each platform, you can go more safely to invest in digital advertising. Before going for one platform or another, be very clear about what you want to achieve, who your buyer persona is and what the market is like. This way you will be able to invest wisely and, if necessary, use both platforms.