Facebook Ads VS Google Ads
Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which is the Best Choice for Your Business?
Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) and Facebook Ads are the two gorillas of PPC advertising.
Both can be significant drivers for your business and many companies use both in congruence to maximize their reach. But if time and money is limited, where do you start to get the most bang for your buck?
The two ad platforms have a lot of common ground, but there a few significant differences that will determine which is the best fit for you business.
If you are new to pay-per-click advertising, it can be intimidating to get started. Both platforms pitch themselves as easy-to-use, but they offer robust targeting options and advanced features. In addition, it takes significant time and energy to truly become an expert on either platform.
Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: What’s the Difference?
First of all, what exactly are Google Ads and Facebook Ads? You’ve certainly seen them before when you jump on Facebook or search in Google! But how do they actually work?
Both are advertising platforms that operate on a pay-per-click basis. When you create an ad on either platform, you enter an auction in which you place a bid for how much you want to pay for ad space. Then you’ll be charged a certain amount of money (more on that later) every time someone clicks one of your ads. Sounds simple, right?
Paid Search vs. Paid Social
This article will focus primarily on the differences between paid search vs. paid social.
Traditionally, Google Ads (AdWords) is paid search. Paid search means that you’re paying to have your listing featured on a search engine result page (SERP).
With paid search, your ad is placed based on target keywords, instead of targeting a specific audience interest. With that noted, you can (and should) adjust the settings of paid search campaign to target users based on location and other targetting options.
However, Google Ads offers more than paid search, you can advertise on:
• Google Search
• Youtube ads
• Google Display Network
• Google Shopping
• Google Maps
• Google Play
In contrast to paid search, Facebook Ads offers paid social advertising. In the wake of Facebook algorithm changes, it has become increasingly difficult for brands to get in front of potential customers without paying some money.
This is where paid social comes into play. With Facebook Ads, you are paying to get in front of new customers on social networks, instead of reaching them organically.
As you probably know, Facebook isn’t limited to just your Facebook newsfeed. A few of the Facebook ad placements you can advertise on include:
• Facebook News Feed
• Instagram Feed
• Facebook Marketplace
• Facebook Video Feeds
• Facebook Right Column
• Audience Network
• Facebook Messenger
Comparison #1: Audience Size
Both Google and Facebook have enormous reach—Google handles an estimated more than 5.8 billion searches every single day, while Facebook has an estimated 1.73 billion daily active users. Now you know what people that are glued to their phones are doing.
On Facebook, mobile advertising revenue makes up approximately 90%+ of advertising revenue.
With that said, advertising on mobile is something you should jump on!
In all likelihood, your target audience is on both of these platforms, so you can’t determine the right fit for your business on audience size alone.
Instead, ask yourself these questions:
• Is my target audience active on these networks?
• Is my product search-oriented or social?
Even if Google has 5.8 billion searches a day, it won’t help you if no one is actually searching for your specific product.
Are you releasing a new, innovative product? Have people heard of what you offer? In the answer is “no” then Facebook is often a better option to get the word out.
Difference #2: Cost & ROI
Cost is another important consideration. The average CPC on Google Ads is $2.69, but this varies wildly by industry!
In paid search, ecommerce businesses can expect to pay about $1.16 per click, while businesses in the home services industry could spend a whopping $56.75 on average per click.
Facebook ads tend to be slightly cheaper per click than Google Ads. A business in the apparel industry might pay as little as $0.45 per click on Facebook. Finance and insurance is the most expensive type of business to advertise on Facebook too, but the average CPC is still only $3.77.
The average CPC varies not only by industry, but by placement too. A study by Adespresso showed that Instagram feed ads were about double the cost of Facebook placements!
Although average CPC is typically more expensive on Google Ads, keep in mind that the people clicking your ads may be later in the buying cycle. Facebook is great for building awareness, although Google Ads can often be better at reaching users at the time of their purchase decision.
CPC is only half of the equation. Another benchmark to consider is CPA (Cost Per Action) to determine if you’ll have a strong ROI on your campaigns.
Just like CPC, CPAs will vary by campaign. It’s largely dependent on how well-targeted your ads are and if you are able to convert at a high rate. Don’t let what may seem to be a high average CPA scare you off from PPC.
Comparison #3: Buyer Intent
When it comes to buyer intent, Google Ads almost always beat out Facebook Ads. Consider what kind of business you have—do people tend to search for their product or service when they are ready to make a purchase?
For example, if a person’s air conditioner breaks, they immediately start searching for a HVAC repair business. Search ads would place your business in front of a potential customer at the exact time that they need your service.
On the other hand, that person isn’t going to remember that HVAC business they saw on Facebook three months ago. In this scenario, Google Ads would be a clear winner.
Facebook ads are also generally less effective at getting leads to convert quickly. People generally go to Facebook to relax and socialize, not to shop. However, this platform is still incredibly useful for building your audience. If you can create a sense of community on social media, people will be much more likely to buy when they need your service or product.
If the objective of your campaign is to build brand awareness, rather than immediate conversions, then Facebook may be the best choice.
Comparison #4: Targeting Options
Both Google and Facebook Ads give you options for targeting (and retargeting) specific audiences. On both platforms, you can target by age, gender, location, and income level, among other things.
However, Facebook is the hands-down winner for advanced targeting options.
In addition to the targeting options mentioned above, Facebook allows you to create audiences based on a large list of interests and behaviors, thanks to the wealth of information they collect from their 2.6 billion monthly active users.
Want to target parents? Done deal. Want to target parents with children ages 5-7? Easily done. Want to target vegetarian parents with children ages 5-7 and a household income between $75k-99k? We could figure it out.
Facebook also offers a useful tool called lookalike audiences that lets you advertise to people who are similar to your existing audience. Facebook uses their existing data to match your customers to similar users, which can be a very powerful option for advertisers.
Comparison #5: Ad Formats
What about ad formats? This goes back to the question: what’s the objective of your campaign?
You’ve certainly got more creativity on Facebook, which makes it a much better platform for building brand awareness and customer loyalty.
If you use Google Ads, you have a small block of text to catch potential customers’ eyes on the SERPs. You can use ad extensions for additional text and information, but overall your format is going to be limited to text in search ads.
On Facebook, however, you can add visual impact to your message by using image-based ads. Facebook also continues to roll out varying ad formats to avoid “ad fatigue”. You can choose to use videos, images, carousel ads, and more to capture your audience’s attention. If you are an eCommerce business, the visual component of Facebook should be a big consideration when choosing the platform right for you.
So Facebook or Google?
So, which is better for your business – Google Ads or Facebook Ads? To decide, ask yourself a few key questions.
First, consider the campaign goals. Is focused on making more sales as quickly as possible? If so, Google Ads may be the better choice. If they’re looking to expand brand recognition or reach a wider audience, on the other hand, Facebook Ads may be the better choice.
Next, take your client’s industry into consideration. Both B2B and B2C businesses use Google Ads successfully. Facebook Ads often work better for B2C businesses, especially those selling less expensive items, since people are more likely to impulsively buy these products after being exposed to them a few times. However, even for B2B there are going to be opportunities on Facebook Ads—especially for remarketing and lookalike audiences.
Your client’s audience also effects which platform you should choose. Do people search for your client’s business or service with intent to buy? If so, Google will probably bring the best results. But if your client is trying to build their audience for a new product, Facebook will typically work better.
Consider which stage of the buyer’s journey you’re trying to target with PPC ads—AdWords is great for bottom-of-the-funnel prospects, while Facebook is usually best for attracting new top-of-the-funnel prospects. We’ll do another blog about funnels in the future, it’s a bit complex.
Finally, consider your advertising budget and your level of technical skill. Do you have the money to invest in Google Ads, even if you’re in a competitive industry? Do you have the ability to create (or outsource) strong image or video-based ads for Facebook? Discussing questions like this can help you sketch out a strategy that’s realistic and actionable.
Tracking Your PPC Results
No matter which PPC platform you choose, tracking your ROI is essential. Here is what you’ll have to look out for. After reviewing these metrics, it’ll help you understand where your dollars are best spent.
• Cost per conversion
• Conversion rate
• CTR (click-through-rate)