Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads [Marketing comparison + Infographic]

Last year, there were e-commerce transactions worth $2.3 trillion. In the next 3 years, this figure is expected to cross $4 trillion. More and more prospects and customers are migrating to e-commerce. That is why business owners and marketers need to redesign their advertising and promotion template. If you are looking to promote your business using the internet, then Facebook and Google are the two names you cannot afford to ignore. Facebook is a social media platform whose monthly active users till the second quarter of 2018 was 2.23 billion! Google is the world’s leading search engine with more than 75% of worldwide searcheshappening on it.

Note: If you want to see our awesome infographic, scroll down to the bottom of this post 📈👌🏼😎

search engine - market analysis and comparison

Facebook advertising and Google AdWords are the two most popular modes of promotion or advertising. Whether you’re promoting eBay auction listings as a partner affiliate or running an e-commerce business — Facebook and Google come out on top in terms of platform popularity for ads. No company trying to promote itself can do so without a cogent digital marketing strategy. And Facebook ads and Google AdWords are very important pillars of any digital marketing strategy. Let us look at them in a little more detail.

Facebook Advertisingfacebook ads and marketing

Facebook advertisements appear on your Facebook profile page. They usually appear as part of the newsfeed. Advertisers use Facebook for a number of purposes. It could be for brand awareness or it could be for increasing sales. A Facebook ad could be posted simply to encourage users to download an app or visit a website. An advertiser on Facebook can select the age, location and other demographic details of the target audience.

An advertiser could choose to use photographs, videos, slideshows or carousels. Once the ad is placed, Facebook also allows you to measure the effectiveness. The reason Facebook ads have become so popular is that most people keep their Facebook profile opened almost throughout the day. So it is easy to catch their attention with a strategically placed ad. Check out my previous post on the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook ads and marketingto dig in deep about this subject.

google ads / google adwords

Google, as a search engine, has become so popular that the word ‘Google’ is often used as a synonym for searching on the web. Google Ads (former name ‘AdWords’) is the advertising system of Google. It follows a system of bidding.

The bidding is done on specific keywords. When an advertiser bids on a certain keyword, he or she has to pay for the clicks on their ads containing that keyword. The minimum bid for a particular keyword is 5 cents. The thinking behind paying is that those keywords will increase traffic. Subsequently, the increased traffic would lead to increased conversions. That would lead to higher revenue and profits for the advertiser.

Similarities between Facebook Advertisements and Google AdWords

There are several similarities between the two for an advertiser:

  • Like I said above, both enjoy enormous popularity and reach.
  • Both use geographic and demographic indicators to match the correct ad to the correct person.
  • The advertiser in both cases pays per click, not a fixed amount.
  • Because it is an open auction, therefore there is lots of competition and prices are dynamic.
  • The more popular the keywords selected, the higher the cost of advertising.
  • But the more popular the keywords, the greater are the chances of returns.

Differences between Facebook Advertisements and Google AdWords

While broadly similar, they also have distinct differences. One big difference is what the user is doing when he or she is targeted. In Facebook, the advertisement is shown to the user at the time of regular browsing. But in Google AdWords, the ad is shown in response to a specific query or search from the user. So, a Facebook ad might be more of a trial and error exercise. The ad is shown on the basis of the user demographics and their browsing patterns.

Let us take the example of a user planning to buy a football. Let’s say the user types in a search for where to buy a good quality football from. Google AdWords can show the advertisement for a sports goods shop which had bid for the keyword ‘football’. But for a Facebook user, Facebook might not know that the user is planning to buy a football. The ad for the particular sports goods shop might be shown to the user because of certain reasons.

This could be that he visits football groups or pages. Or his profile picture might feature a football team or football ground. So it is more of intelligently estimating his likes and interests.

The Best Combination of Facebook ads and Google AdWords

There are many businesses which are using a smart combination of both these advertising methods. One way is to keep Google AdWords as a support to a Facebook campaign. If you run a good campaign on Facebook, you are bound to generate interest.

Your brand’s Facebook page can surely satisfy some of the curiosity. But sooner or later, a Facebook user would open a Google window to search for your product or service. A Google Ads strategically chosen there can ensure that your ad comes up on the search results page.

Instead of getting people to search on Google for your brand name or company name on Google, you can use keywords smartly. These keywords can be made part of your Facebook headline. In case someone is not able to remember your brand name, that keyword would be used for the Google search. Say you help clients in getting easy loans, and your company is called Pyxerton. That name might be difficult to remember. But if you headline your Facebook ad with ‘Get Loans Approved in Three Days’, it might be easy for customers to search.

The opposite way can also be effectively used. Say you have placed an ad using Google AdWords. All the people who clicked on it might not have the same demographics. You can then set up separate demographic classifications on Facebook to retarget those users.

Another way of utilizing your Google clicks is to create lookalike segmentation on Facebook. This helps you increase the target reach of your Facebook ads by utilizing data of your Google views.

Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads – Which Is Better?

So now we come to the question of which is better for your pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Let us look at some aspects on which we can directly compare Facebook ads and Google AdWords.

  • First, a Facebook advertisement is a very visual way of reaching out. People would see pictures, videos or slideshows which are more visually appealing. On the other hand, a Google AdWords led ad would be a rectangular box with text and links, so might not be as attractive or appealing.
  • Let us say you have a company which offers immigration services for Canada. You can have a Facebook ad targeting people staying in Europe, who are within 35 years of age, and who can speak any or all of English, French, and German. But in Google AdWords, a person from India who searches for ‘Immigration to Canada’ might also be shown your ad. Sometimes this can be an advantage, but at other times it is a waste or even a disadvantage.
  • As far as cost is concerned, the comparison between the two would depend on what your targeted keywords are. For not-so-common keywords, your cost for Google AdWords could be as low as 5 cents per keyword. But since Facebook ads start from $5, you might end up having to bid more than that for a ‘crowded’ keyword.
  • If the purpose is more broad-based, then Facebook ads are a good starting point. They can help improve awareness of the brand or even inform about new launches. While a Google popup is usually directed more at conversions and immediate sale. But both would cost you money. So your choice of which is better would also depend on what you want to get from your advertising budget. If you are looking for immediate conversation and sale, then Google AdWords might be more useful. But Facebook ads are more useful in broadening your base.
  • Although Facebook Ads and Google AdWords are very popular, there are several alternatives available. If you do not want to use either of them, you can opt for any of these alternatives. Let us take a quick look at some other options you have.

Some alternatives to Facebook Ads and Google Ads

  1. Infolinks:
    When you have a blog which has been published for some time, it is time to think of monetizing it. In this attempt, Infolinks is a very useful ally. This is a very useful advertisement network. As soon as you sign up, they would begin displaying ads on your blog. You get an option to choose from 6 different types of ads. These include infold, inscreen, intext, and others. The good thing about Infolinks is that the ads they display are linked in real time to what the user is searching for.
  2. Amazon:
    We don’t need to tell you anything about this e-commerce giant which you don’t know. If you are selling using Amazon or own a blog like Vacuumist.com, then it makes sense to place your ads on Amazon, because that is where the prospective buyers flock to. The sponsorship amount you pay can be made up several times by the sales you can get.
  3. Pinterest:
    Depending on what is the demographic segment you are targeting, and the products that you are selling, this could be a great vehicle for your advertising efforts. Pinterest is a social media platform based entirely on images and has been found to be a major driver of buying decisions of its members.
  4. LinkedIn:
    We tend to think of LinkedIn as simply a portal for career opportunities. But because it plays host to a large number of professionals and entrepreneurs with considerable spending power, that is why the B2B opportunity of LinkedIn is a very good place to advertise your goods and services. You need to have a business profile on LinkedIn, and your advertisements would show up on the right most columns of a person’s LinkedIn feed.
  5. Bing Ads:
    When we think of a search engine, there is usually only one name that springs to our mind. But Microsoft’s Bing is a popular search engine in its own right. Even after the huge success of the main search engine, Bing still commands more than 30% of the market. The advantage of using Bind Ads is that it has its own dedicated set of users which can be targeted.
  6. Yahoo! Gemini:
    There was a time when Yahoo! was the only name that people thought of whether they wanted an email id or they wanted to search the internet for something. It is true that today there are many other popular mail service providers and search engines. But Yahoo! has retained a small but dedicated band of users. Using Yahoo! Gemini for your ads can expose this set of users to your products and services. This can give you in-app promotional initiatives, awareness activities for your brand, and also revenue generation activities.

Closing Thoughts

We saw how Facebook Ads and Google AdWords work. We also discussed how they both have their unique uses for the advertisers. We saw how they are often used in conjunction for best results. And we also tried to understand which is better. The fact of the matter is that both have their unique advantages. But the advantage of either can be correctly gauged only on the basis of the reason for advertising in the first place. You could say Facebook ads are a slowly brewed cup of coffee which increases in the richness of taste as time goes by. But Google AdWords could be considered a cup of Instant Coffee which can be prepared immediately.

The best way is to distribute your advertisement budget among both in the right ratio. That way you would be able to cross-subsidize the benefits of both. Facebook would generate interest and drive people to search for you on Google. Google search results analytics could, in turn, allow you to target your Facebook ads better. To my knowledge and experience, the best strategy would be a judicious mix of both these very useful tools. You can keep modifying the proportion of the ad budget you use for either of them, depending on the stage of your product lifecycle.


Facebook Ads Vs. Google Ads Marketing Comparison - Infographic by Pryma Digital Marketing


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