Google Ads or Facebook Ads: Which one should I use?

Although both platforms often position themselves as competitors, this is not true in a practical sense. In fact, many companies take advantage of the strengths of advertising on Google Ads (formerly Adwords) and Facebook Ads. Using them within your strategy to achieve maximum visibility, increase leads and sales, and reach new customers. You could say it’s a matter of alignment and return on investment (ROI).

In this article we will see 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 of Google Ads and Facebook Ads.


Perhaps the main difference between the two platforms is the mentality of the users. And this is key, know the mindset of your buyer person if you are doing inbound marketing.

In 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. That is, they are already advanced on their shopping trip.

For their part, on Facebook, users are browsing their photos, news, answering comments or chatting with their contacts. They are not proactively looking for something, like on Google. This is crucial in the dynamics between the advertiser and the audience.

If you create campaigns on Google, it is important that your landing page or capture page matches in design and copy with the keywords you are using in the campaign. In 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’re in, the costs per click can vary greatly. Although we can conclude that generally the cost in Google Ads (formerly Adwords) is higher than in Facebook. Especially in niches and very competitive industries.

Getting started on Facebook today is more affordable than on AdWords is the truth. Something you should consider depending on your budget and resources in the beginning.

It also takes into account differences in conversions. Because in AdWords it can be more expensive to invest. It is possible that the conversion rate is much better.

Segmentation vs 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 the ads to be displayed in searches.

For its part, Facebook offers more variety of options:

  • Territory (you can even delimit it to a neighborhood of your city).
  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Demographics.
  • Education.
  • Interests of all kinds.
  • Mobile devices (type and brand of phone or tablet).

There are many more options and variables. Which has its advantages and disadvantages, depending on how you look at it. Personally, I think 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 in Google Ads you have the advantage of keywords and users who are closer to the purchase decision.

Branding vs specific interest.

On Facebook, most of the time ads and campaigns are aimed at people who don’t even know the product and/or service exists. So it helps to create brand recognition and positioning, we can say that is branding. It is undoubtedly a great way to position your brand and make more people in your market know everything you offer.

In Google AdWords, the focus is much more to attract people who have already made a journey in their purchase research, and have even decided. But they have not made the purchase of the product or service.

Branding on 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 do not necessarily have to be rivals or that one discards the other. On the contrary, they can work as a great complement to each other in a deeper digital marketing strategy. Watch out, it means budget.

Types of ads and objectives.

Facebook offers a lot of types of ads that we can create. With its platform you can advertise your website, specific capture pages, fan pages, increase engagement on your page or in your app, promote downloads of your app, reach people close to any business (local physical), capture leads within FB, increase video plays and other actions more.

Being such a wide and flexible platform, we can find several promotion options with types of ads that go according to what your business wants to achieve. Personally, I really like that it integrates with the inbound philosophy.

There’s variety in Google, too. Different ad formats have been introduced (such as universal application campaigns). Even so, the essential remains the same and the one that works best: bring web traffic to a website, preferably a landing page where there may be an offer with a clear call to action.

In this fifth point, what you must take into account is the difference between the multiple types of ads and the objectives that there are in both AdWords and Facebook. And how each of them adapts to the marketing strategy of your business.

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 seeking 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 entire Google 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. This makes 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.

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 billion web searches each year. As Google becomes increasingly sophisticated, in part due to its growing reliance on its patented artificial intelligence and automatic learning technology, RankBrain, this incredible volume of searches is likely to increase. Along with the potential for advertisers to reach new customers.

In a nutshell. No other search engine can offer the potential audience that Google can. This great 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.

One of the most important misconceptions among newcomers to PPC is that whoever has the largest advertising budget somehow automatically “wins” in 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 invest.

The more relevant an ad is to the user, the better the user’s experience will be and therefore the more likely they will continue to use 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 and high quality campaigns rarely have to bid as much as advertisers with poorer ads.

Certain keywords may cost more than others. Like those of the financial industry, which are traditional among the most expensive of any professional sector. But how much advertisers will have to bid will largely depend 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 the click rate, which is considered a reliable indication of the quality and overall appeal of an ad.

Relevance + User Experience = Quality Score

A wide range of ad formats.

When Google AdWords was first launched in 2000 (with a total of only 350 advertisers), the text-based ads that Google published along with 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.

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 tests such as user reviews, location orientation, 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 advertising experience and incorporate rich visual elements such as high-resolution images and interactive map information.

No matter what you sell or to whom. There is likely to be an advertising format or function that makes your products or services more appealing to your target market. Google is continually implementing new ad formats and features. This allows advertisers to reach new audiences and generate new business.

The strengths and advantages of Facebook Ads.

Compared to Google Ads, Facebook ads (as we know it today) are the newcomers. But in fact, Facebook has been perfecting and improving its advertising solution for several years. Today, Facebook Ads is a pioneer in the field of paid social networks and has become a central part of the digital marketing strategies of many companies.

Unmatched audience and granularity.

Like Google Ads, Facebook has a truly wide global audience. With more than 1.55 BILLION active users per month. More than one-fifth of the world’s total population. And that’s not counting inactive or infrequently used accounts. Facebook is unrivalled when it comes to audience size. However, instead of 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.

People share almost every imaginable detail of their lives on Facebook. From meetings, the marriage of their partners to the birth of children or the celebration of new professional moves. Facebook users share joys and milestones of life with their friends and networks every day. They also search for 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 “similar audiences. You can upload customer information from your own databases to Facebook. It then applies filtering based on its own data and information. Provided by third party data brokers to unite users whose information as an advertiser loads. This creates a “user-like” audience, allowing you to effectively double the potential reach of your ads. By targeting new customers who exhibit the same consumer interests and behavior as your current customers.

Many ask themselves this question: “Does Facebook advertising work? At this point, the answer should be clear: yes, and remarkably well. However, instead of seeing Facebook as the world’s largest potential billboard, advertisers should consider Facebook as a way to get closer to their ideal customers than they once thought possible. The key is social closeness, because again, here potential customers aren’t really doing a search.

A decidedly visual platform.

Unlike Google Ads and its PPC, comparatively drier and text-based. Facebook ads are powerfully visual. The best Facebook ads combine seamlessly with videos, images and other visual content in the users’ news feed. And this allows you to take advantage not only of the strongly persuasive qualities of visual ads, but to do so in a way that conveys aspirations. Messages that make high quality ads very attractive.

Just as Google is constantly experimenting with the formatting of its text-based PPC ads. Facebook is constantly evaluating how it can offer advertisers a superior marketing platform. And to users a rewarding and satisfying online experience. In the past, Facebook required ads to present text occupying no more than 20% of the total advertising area. A restriction that has been relaxed ever since. However, despite this considerable change in its advertising governance, Facebook remains a fully visual platform. A relevant selling point for many businesses.

Incredible return on investment.

Marketing professionals who use Facebook ads are impressed by the granularity of their targeting options. As well as the tools they have at their disposal to create attractive ads. However, one of the elements of Facebook ads that takes newbies by surprise is the potential return on investment offered by Facebook Ads. And to what extent you can stretch a limited advertising budget on the platform.

Although the budget for a Facebook advertising campaign will vary widely. Depending on a number of factors, such as the scope, messages and overall objectives of the campaign. Facebook Ads are remarkably inexpensive. Especially when you consider their potential impact and the granularity with which advertisers can target their ads.

This competitive price makes Facebook Ads a very attractive option for small and medium businesses with limited resources. Not just big brands with big 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.

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads are incredibly powerful advertising platforms that adapt to virtually any type of business. When evaluating the strengths and potential applications of each solution, it is also clear that the two platforms must be seen in a complementary way, so they are not rivals.

Some people insist on comparing Facebook ads with the Google Display Network, and although the two platforms share some similarities (as detailed in this full Facebook vs. Google Display Network infographics), the way the two platforms have evolved independently of each other helps to conclude that they should be used aligned rather than in opposition.

Harnessing the power of paid search and paid social 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 in Google Ads and Facebook ads is vital. Above all understand how best to use each platform to get maximum return on investment and further business growth.

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