The Digital Marketing Arena:

Facebook Ads vs. Google Adwords


Oftentimes, businesses struggle to decide where most of their advertising focus should be, and which platforms will prove most successful. Central to the debate over advertising platforms is Facebook Ads vs. Google Adwords.


If you’re new to digital marketing, it can seem like these two platforms compete with each other; however, rather than choosing to focus on one or the other, you will find the

most success if you understand how and why each platform has its own unique advantages for advertising. By strategically catering to their differences, you can effectively gain the most benefit offered by each one. In doing this, more people will know about your business, thus increasing the potential for new customers.


In this post, I will outline the differences between each platform, how to effectively use each one, and why it is important to use both as a part of your advertising campaign.



Difference between Google Adwords and Facebook Ads


In order to understand why it is important to use both platforms for advertising your business, it is essential to understand the main difference between them, and the terminology associated with each type of advertising.


Paid Search vs. Paid Social


Google Adwords is what’s known as “paid search.” Paid search works by focusing on specific keywords, which are certain words and phrases that people use for their searches. Advertisers bid on these keywords so their ads will be more likely to appear on the search results page.

Also, when an ad is clicked on, the advertiser will have to pay a certain amount of money. This is what is known as “pay-per-click” advertising, or PPC. The amount is determined depending on the keyword. Each keyword has a “cost-per-click”, or CPC, which is decided through the maximum amount an advertiser is willing to bid for that keyword.


Basically, advertisers using Adwords are paying to make their ads more relevant based on specific keywords used in someone’s search.


While using Google Adwords is known as “paid search,” using Facebook, or any social media site, for advertising is known as “paid social,” simply because it’s done through social media.


Overall, the main difference—while using paid search techniques is a good way to find new customers, paid social strategies will allow for potential customers to find your business on their own.   


Now that you understand the basic terminology associated with the different advertising platforms, let’s now go more in depth of why it’s so important to not choose one over the other, but instead use both as individual tools for your advertising campaign.


Google Adwords


With Google being the most widely used search engine anywhere in the world, accounting for 3.5 billion searches per day, the size of it alone makes the use of its advertising features the best way to increase the visibility of your business. No other advertising platform pales in comparison to the prospective audience that you are able to reach through Google’s Adwords.


Text vs. Visual


With Google’s advertising features, you have a choice of how you would prefer to create your advertisements.


You can use the “search” option that I already briefly described, which is when advertisers are bidding on specific keywords in the hopes that their website will be more relevant based on a user’s search. This option is better for actually converting leads into actual customers.


However, Google also offers a visual way to advertise through their “display” option. This involves visual advertisements all across the Internet. This option most likely won’t provide the best results when it comes to PPC advertising, but it is a great way to simply make your brand or business more visible online.


Cost and the Bidding War


It is oftentimes argued by people that you need a massive advertising budget in order to have any success with Google Adwords. Even though it is true that as far as PPC advertising goes, Google is much more expensive than using Facebook, it is also true that Google is better at converting people into actual customers, compared to simply creating interest or awareness of your business, which is the main thing Facebook is useful for.


As far as the bidding war for specific keywords goes, Google doesn’t just prioritize which businesses have the most amount of money available to bid, they focus on which ads are of higher quality, and which ads will be more relevant to the user’s experience. Google takes time to learn about its users, so that it can effectively provide the most relevant ads to a user’s interests.


Even though this is true, cost is important, since most businesses would like a good return on investment (ROI). An important note is that some business sectors will find keywords to be especially expensive for their specific field. So if cost is a big deciding factor for where you will focus your advertising campaign, still attempt to use Google Adwords, since it’s more effective, but you might want to focus more on Facebook Ads, as it will most likely be cheaper.   


Overall, if you focus on creating high-quality ads that are relevant to specific keywords and searches, then you will have a better chance at winning the bids for those keywords, regardless of your advertising budget.


Facebook Ads


Much like Google being the most used search engine, Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with around 2 billion users. With social media encompassing more and more of the time people spend online, understanding how to most effectively advertise on their platforms will be incredibly productive for your advertising campaign. The most essential social media platform to focus on is without a doubt Facebook.


Target Audience


One thing that makes Facebook Ads so useful, is the ability to target a very specific audience of potential customers. Since social media is where people share every detail about their lives, from their jobs, hobbies, and activities, to their beliefs, interests, and opinions, Facebook Ads is extremely good at optimizing the target audience for your ads.


With Facebook Ads, you even have the ability to use the demographics of your current customer base to help Facebook understand what kinds of people will most likely want to see your ads.


Therefore, if your business caters to a very specific type of person, Facebook will be especially useful for your advertising campaign.


Visual Ads


One reason many advertisers prefer Facebook over Google, is because it provides the opportunity to create much more visually appealing ads, compared to the majority of Google’s ads being text-based. Thus, if you are someone who would rather create visual ads, or you believe your business would benefit more from using visuals instead of text, then Facebook Ads will be more useful than Google Adwords.


Better ROI


Although I already discussed cost and ROI a little, I want to reemphasize this point, since budget is such a big deciding factor for how businesses conduct their advertising campaign. You will find Facebook Ads to be much better when it comes to ROI, not only because it is much cheaper to advertise with Facebook compared to Google, but because it’s cheaper, any time it is successful at converting someone into a real customer, the return on your investment will be that much greater than with Google.


So who’s the winner…?


Both! Like I said at the beginning of this post, Google Adwords and Facebook Ads should not be seen as having to compete with one another, specifically because each one serves a separate purpose for advertising. Even though advertisers will use one more than the other, depending on their advertising needs and goals, they still should be used together nonetheless, rather than one instead of the other. If you can maintain a clear marketing strategy, while also catering to each of the platforms strengths, your advertising campaign will prove to be extremely productive for creating awareness of your business, and for converting leads into actual customers.