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Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: Which Platform Should You Use?

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When it comes to digital advertising, there are two clear leaders: Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Both platforms have billions of users and vast amounts of data to help companies target their ads to potential customers and build brand awareness. 

However, it can be challenging to choose between Facebook Ads and Google Ads without knowing all the features and benefits of these platforms. In this article, I will walk you through the importance of online advertising and show you how to use both services effectively. 

I’ll also detail how Facebook Ads and Google Ads differ and which advertising service is better to use in specific cases. Once you understand the pros and cons of each, you’ll be capable of making the best decision for your business. 

 Let’s get started!

The Importance Of Online Advertising

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Before we get into the differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads, it’s essential to understand why online advertising is crucial for businesses. With the rise of online shopping, advertising your products and services on the internet is the best way to reach new customers. In fact, 69% of Americans have shopped online. 

Therefore, digital advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers and increase sales. Services like Facebook Ads and Google Ads allow companies to target their advertisements to users who are likely interested in their products. As a result, online advertising increases web traffic and profits.  

Below are some additional benefits of using digital advertising platforms.

Influence Buyer Behavior

Digital marketing influences buyer behavior through retargeting and repetition. Retargeting is a facet of advertising that allows businesses to show ads to people who have already interacted with their brand. For example, if someone has visited your website but didn’t make a purchase, you can show them ads for your product on Facebook or Google. 

Additionally, most people need to see an ad a few times before buying a product, so online advertising allows businesses to show ads to potential customers multiple times. The more exposure they have to your product, the more likely they will be to make a purchase.

Targeting Features

Digital advertising platforms like Facebook Ads and Google Ads have targeting options that make it easier for you to reach your target audience. You can adjust who will see your ads based on location, age, gender, personal interests, and other demographics. 

Since Facebook and Google have billions of users, narrowing down your reach using targeting features will help ensure that your advertisements are being shown to people who are more likely to purchase your products. Targeting the correct audience will save you money on advertising and increase your chances of making sales.

Multiple Purchase Pathways

A digital advertising platform should provide multiple pathways for customers to purchase your product. They can buy products on your website or click on ads to be redirected to one of your partners or affiliates. Providing flexible payment options for your customers will make the checkout process easier for them and increase your sales.

More Brand Awareness

One of the main goals of digital advertising is to increase brand awareness. With billions of users, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are perfect platforms for achieving this goal—you’ll have access to an entire new audience and be able to reach customers you may not have had without these tools. 

Now that you understand the importance of using online advertising, let’s get into one of the most popular platforms: Facebook Ads.

What Are Facebook Ads?

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Facebook Ads is a digital advertising platform that businesses can use to promote their products or services on the social media sites Facebook and Instagram, both of which have billions of users. Facebook boasts 2.9 billion monthly users, while Instagram has over 1 billion, which means tons of potential new customers for your business! 

Users of Facebook and Instagram will see your advertisements on their main feed as they scroll through these sites. Therefore, Facebook Ads falls under the category of paid social advertising (as opposed to paid search advertising platforms like Google Ads, which I’ll cover more in-depth later). 

So how do Facebook Ads work? Facebook ads are pay-per-click (PPC), which means you’ll be charged every time a user clicks on your advertisement. The average cost-per-click is $0.97, but this price is well worth the exposure since Facebook uses detailed targeting. Facebook PPC ads are very effective because they allow you to target ads to particular groups of people based on their location, interests, and demographics.

How To Set Up Facebook Ads

To run a Facebook advertising campaign, you’ll need to have a business account and business page already. From your business account, you can quickly build an advertisement. All you have to do is follow these simple steps:

Access the Ad Center

  • Scroll down to the Ad Center on the left-hand side of your profile.
  • Click on the Create Ad button, which you can see an example of in the image below.
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Choose An Ad Type

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There are two options for this step: automated ads and custom ads. Automated ads are the more efficient options since Facebook will have you take a questionnaire about your business’s goals, including what kind of product or service you provide and your target audience. After answering these questions, Facebook will provide your demographic settings and a suggested budget. 

If you want more flexibility in adjusting your settings, you can also make a custom advertisement. The process is still pretty quick, but you’ll have to manually input more information about your business, target audience, and advertising goals. Therefore, I recommend the automated ad feature to save time since it’s still a highly flexible option!

Create Your Ad

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Once you’ve completed the automated ads questions or set up your custom advertisement, it’s time to write your description and upload media. You can see an example of the setup below—the process is very intuitive, and you can create an ad in minutes once you have your description and pictures (or videos) ready to upload!

You can also see a preview of your advertisement as you work, located on the right side of the screen. You can play around with the title, description, and media until you create your ideal ad.

Target Your Audience

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The next step in the process is to create your target audience. One of the most significant benefits of Facebook Ads is the ability to target specific groups, as you can see in the image above. 

You’ll be able to adjust your audience based on location, age, gender, interests, and more! Facebook also provides an audience definition based on how you tweak these settings, so you’ll know how many users you’re expected to reach with your ad.

Adjust Your Budget

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The final step of creating your advertisement will be to adjust your budget. You can input your currency and use the toggle feature to choose your ideal daily budget.

The more money you spend, the more potential customers you’ll reach—you’ll be able to see a projection of estimated viewers when you adjust your budget. The good news is that these advertisements can fit into any overall budget since you can start as low as $1 a day! To push your ads live, all you have to do is input your payment information and wait for Facebook to approve them.

Benefits Of Facebook Ads

As you can see, Facebook Ads are intuitive to use and easy to set up using the built-in Facebook Ads Manager. You’ll be able to create beautiful, informative ads in minutes and target users who might be interested in your product. With an audience of billions, you’ll be sure to reach more customers than ever before. 

Plus, Facebook advertisements can fit into any budget. As I mentioned, you’ll be able to select how much you want to spend per day. While the more money you pay, the more traction you’ll get, you can easily adjust your budget at any time as your business grows, making this option affordable and flexible. 

Still not convinced if Facebook Ads are right for you? Make sure to check out my article that goes more in-depth on the benefits of Facebook Ads.
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Image credit: Felicityjane.com

Google Ads (previously known as Google Adwords) is another popular platform for online advertising and, like Facebook Ads, operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. However, Google Ads are different from Facebook Ads because they show up in Google search engine results instead of social media feeds, so they are considered a paid search platform. 

Sponsored Google ads are placed on the top and bottom of the Google search engine results page (SERP) for relevant keywords and search terms, as you can see in the image below.

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So how can you get your advertisements on these pages? With Google Ads, businesses create ad campaigns and then bid on keywords. When someone searches for one of those keywords on Google, they will see the business’s ad at the top of the search results. If they click on your advertisement, you will then be charged.

You’ll have to determine what keywords are most relevant to your business and what people are most likely to search for when looking for the product or service you offer. You’ll then have to bid on these keywords– I’ll show you how to navigate this process in the next section.

How To Set Up Google Ads

You can combine your emails with other forms of communication such as social media and pay-per-click advertising campaigns. Your audience won't see them as separate entities, and they'll be more likely to take the actions you ask of them. They'll have a better sense of your brand as a whole, and they're less likely to feel overwhelmed with the messages you send them.

Sign Up

The first step is to sign up for a Google Ads account. To qualify, you’ll need an email address and a business website. You’ll have the choice between two options: smart mode and expert mode. 

The default option is smart mode, but if you have more experience with digital advertising, you can switch to expert mode, which offers the entire range of features and campaign types but requires more management.

Create Your First Campaign

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll be ready to create your first campaign. Like Facebook Ads, Google Ads will ask you a few questions about your advertising goals. You’ll also input your business name and a link to your website.

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Once you set your advertising goal, there are four main components to creating your ad:

  • Creating a budget.
  • Targeting your audience.
  • Making a bid.
  • Writing your ad.

I’ll go through each in detail so that you’ll know how to navigate and approach the various sections. Luckily, you won’t be charged for the service until your ad is approved, so you can play around with this feature a bit before committing to the service.

Decide On A Budget

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Image credit: Megamediasolutions.com

It's wise to start small when deciding how much money to allocate to ads. You can always edit your budget later, but you’ll have to decide upfront how much you’re willing to spend on your campaign daily. 

To get started, click on the your budget section and select what currency you want to use. Make sure that you choose the correct currency on this step–you won’t be able to change it later! Then, you’ll input how much you can spend per day and save your changes.

Set Up Targeting

The next step is to select your target audience. There are two main ways to do this with Google Ads: location and keywords.

You can open the locations section and narrow down your search to adjust location. You can either choose specific countries or select radius targeting if you want to be even more specific. With radius targeting, you enter the address you wish to use and how many miles from your chosen location you would like your advertisements to be shown.

Choose Relevant Keywords

Keywords are another critical factor for targeting, and you’ll have to carefully choose them if you want your Google Ads campaigns to be successful. You’ll need to be as specific as possible and think about what phrase combinations your customers might search for when looking for products or services like yours. 

Google recommends picking between 5 and 20 keywords. To do so, open the keyword section to see a list of Google’s selections. You can remove any irrelevant keywords or add your own.

Make A Bid 

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Image credit: Megamediasolutions.com

You have to set your maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bids when bidding. The more you bid and the more relevant your keywords, the better chance of your ad showing higher up on a SERP result. You can let Google Ads automatically manage your bids or manually bid if you have more experience.

Create Your Ad

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Image credit: Adespresso.com

When writing your ad, include your keywords and have a website that you’re ready to link to. You should note any vital information about your website, including what you sell, your company’s mission, deals or promotions, and a call to action to drive users to your page.

Set Up Payment And Start Advertising

To finish signing up, you’ll have to submit payment information. Don’t worry about any upfront costs—you won’t be charged until a user clicks on your ad.

You can choose automatic payments, for which Google will bill you every 30 days or when you reach your set budget. Once you’ve inputted your billing information, all you have to do is review your ad to make sure all the information is correct. Then you’ll click finish and create campaign and be ready to go live with your advertisement!

Benefits Of Google Ads

Since Google is the world’s largest search engine, Google Ads is a fantastic resource for raising brand awareness and making more sales. With Google Ads, you can advertise with engine search ads or on other websites that Google is partnered with.

While Google Ads may take longer to set up than Facebook Ads, since you’ll have to account for bidding, the platform is still an efficient way to advertise to customers actively searching for products and services like yours. The emphasis on keywords and targeting options will help you find new customers quickly. 

If you need more information on Google Ads, watch my video on how to make money with Google Ads.

Differences Between Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

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As you may have gathered, Facebook Ads and Google Ads share similarities, like operating on a cost-per-click system and providing targeting options. However, they also have significant differences to address when deciding between the two platforms. 

In the next section, I’ll break down the various components of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, from audience size to cost, so that you can make the right choice for your business.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Audience Size

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads can reach billions of users, but there are some key differences to consider in terms of audience size. 

While Facebook Ads are limited to people connected to Facebook or any of its associated platforms, Google Ads can reach anyone searching for a keyword on Google. Facebook has around 1.93 billion daily active users, while Google processes over 5.6 billion searches per day. Therefore, if you’re looking to reach a larger audience with your ads, Google Ads is the way to go. 

However, it’s important to remember that not everyone who searches for a keyword on Google will see your ad. Google will only show your ad if your chosen keyword is in the search query and you’ve placed a high enough bid to be in one of the top spots. While Facebook has a smaller audience, you might have better luck reaching your target market at a lower cost.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Buyer Intent

Another benefit of Google Ads is that they tend to have a higher buyer intent than Facebook Ads. This discrepancy is because people searching on Google are typically looking for a solution to their problem. In contrast, people on Facebook are usually just browsing through their feed and not necessarily looking to buy something. 

Not only does Google have a bigger audience, but because they place ads in front of potential customers who are actively searching for a product or service, there seem to be more opportunities for ads to convert to sales. 

However, people typically spend more time on social media sites like Facebook than they do on Google, so you may have a better chance of attracting buyers who weren’t actively searching for your product with Facebook Ads by building a relationship with them first.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Targeting Options

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer targeting options for specific audiences. You can target leads by location, gender, and age, among other categories, on both platforms. 

However, Facebook does have more advanced targeting options. Facebook allows you to create audiences based on different behaviors and interests, which will enable you to be incredibly precise in your targeting. One way that Facebook allows you to target people is through Lookalike Audiences. A Lookalike Audience is a group of people similar to your current customers. This tool lets you target people who are likely to be interested in your product or service more efficiently.

While both platforms provide targeting, Facebook may be the better choice if you want to advertise to potential customers based on their interests and characteristics since Google has basic audience targeting.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Costs

Facebook Ads and Google Ads are based on pay-per-click, but the rates vary. Google Ads cost an average of $2.69 per click, while the standard for Facebook Ads is $1.72. It’s also essential to consider conversion rates, which are based on user behavior after viewing an advertisement. For Google, the conversion rate is 3.75%, while for Facebook, the average rate is 7.75%. 

Considering the cost-per-action (CPA) is also essential. Your CPA is how much it costs to reach your goal, whether it's a click on your advertisement or a sale. The average CPA for Google Ads (across all industries) is $48.96, while for Facebook Ads, it is $18.68.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Ad Locations

Facebook Ads and Google Ads will place your advertisements in various locations. Below is an overview of where these platforms will show your ads.

Facebook Ads:

  • Facebook News Feed
  • Instagram Feed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Facebook Messenger Inbox
  • Facebook Streaming Videos
  • Facebook Search Results

Google Ads:

  • Google Search Network
  • Google Display Network
  • Google Play
  • Google Maps
  • Google Shopping

As you can see, both of these platforms offer multiple locations where you can place your ads, which will result in higher exposure for your business and more sales!

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Ease of Use

Facebook Ads is more straightforward than Google Ads regarding ease of use. When setting up advertisements, there is more automation, and the layout is more intuitive. Since you don’t have to deal with the bidding process, there is also one less extra step.

Google Ads is accessible for beginners, although it is not so easy to master the first time round. However, with a bit of practice and research, most people should be able to use Google Ads effectively. For very beginners, though, I would recommend Facebook Ads to start. 

Whatever platform you get started with, ensure that your budget is set to an amount that you’re comfortable spending.

How To Use Google Ads And Facebook Ads Together

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Image credit: Zapier.com

The best way to use Google Ads and Facebook Ads is to combine them into one advertising campaign. Using both platforms can reach a larger audience and target potential customers more effectively. 

One way to do this is to create ads on both platforms that lead to the same landing page. You can track how many people come to your website from each ad and see which one is more effective. 

Another way to use Google Ads and Facebook Ads is to create different ads for each platform. For example, you could create a text ad on Google and a video ad on Facebook. This way, you can test different types of ads and see which ones work best.

Overall, using both Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the best way to reach a larger audience and target potential customers more effectively.

FAQ: Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

Are Facebook Ads or Google Ads Better?

The answer to this question depends on your business and its goals. If you’re looking to reach a larger audience, Google Ads is the better option. If you’re looking for more precision in your targeting, Facebook Ads may be the better fit. 

The main difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the audience. Google Ads has a larger audience because it’s a search engine, while Facebook Ads relies on people already using the social media platform.

Google Ads are, on average, more expensive and difficult to set up, and Facebook Ads have more precise targeting options. So if cost and targeting are your main concerns, going with Facebook Ads could be your best bet.

Overall, both platforms have their benefits, and it’s best to use both to reach the largest audience possible.

Are Facebook Ads Cheaper Than Google Ads?

Yes, depending on the industry, Facebook Ads are significantly cheaper than Google Ads. Google Ads cost an average of $2.69 per click, while the average for Facebook Ads is $1.72.

Final Thoughts

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Image credit: Herdmarketing.co

When it comes to choosing between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, it depends on your business and your long-term goals. If you’re looking to reach the largest audience with your ads using keywords, Google Ads is the way to go. However, if you’re looking to target a specific group of people with your ads, Facebook Ads might be a better option. Facebook Ads are more user-friendly and cheaper, but Google Ads are accessible to more people, many of whom are actively searching to make a purchase.

If you can afford it, the best option is to use Google Ads and Facebook Ads in conjunction. By taking advantage of the benefits of both platforms, you will reach a much larger audience across a wide array of sites. While using both may be costly, it is well worth the money if you can target customers on both a search engines and a social media site.

Regardless of which platform you decide to move forward with, I hope this guide showed you the benefits of both and how to use them efficiently. Digital marketing is the future of advertising, so whatever your choice, you won’t regret implementing Facebook Ads or Google Ads (or both!) in your business.

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About the author 

Mike Vestil

Mike Vestil is an author, investor, and speaker known for building a business from zero to $1.5 million in 12 months while traveling the world.

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