Facebook Ads v Google Ads: How to choose the right solution

Facebook Ads v Google Ads: How to choose the right solution


Digital marketing specialist and freelance blogger Tomas McKannie outlines the differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads and how to decide which option is the best for your next campaign.


Back in 2018, over 60% of businesses were spending more on textual pay-per-click ads, while only 49% of them were spending more on social ads, compared to 72% from the previous year.

In the third quarter of 2020, Facebook reported the ad revenue at $21.2 billion, while Google’s ad revenue reached almost $46 billion.

Does that mean that Google Ads have been more popular in comparison to Facebook ads? Does that also mean that you should choose Google Ads instead of Facebook ads for your next digital advertising campaign?

The answers depend on several factors.

The solution that’s right for you depends on your industry, business type, target audience and digital marketing strategy.

It also depends on the purpose of your campaign — whether it’s increasing brand awareness, the number of leads or sales volume.

Let’s go through the differences and key points for each of these advertising options to help you decide which solution might be the best for you.

  1. The Difference between Facebook Ads and Google Ads
  2. PPC vs Social Ads: General Insights
  3. Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: The statistics
  4. Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: How to decide
  5. Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: The verdict

The Difference Between Facebook Ads And Google Ads

Both Facebook and Google offer various advertising solutions through their ever-expanding networks.

Let's take a look at the main differences between the two:

  • Platforms: With Google, you can choose between advertising on Google Search, Google Display Network, Google Shopping, etc. and you can opt for responsive ads with multiple options, dynamic ads and more. With Facebook, you can get your ads spread out on the Facebook newsfeed, Instagram newsfeed, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Messenger feed and more.
  • Budgeting: Google Ads is a platform for pay-per-click (PPC) advertising solutions, which means that you only pay when someone clicks on your ad and you get to decide the maximum cost-per-click (CPC) amount for each of your ads. Facebook, on the other hand, offers paid social ads where you can decide on a daily or lifetime budget for each campaign, as well as the time period during which you want your ads to run.
  • Targeting: Google Ads allows you to place your business, products or services in front of millions of people at the exact moment when they are searching on Google for a business like yours. Plus, with Google Display campaigns, you can customize your offers to target a specific audience by their interest, location and other parameters. Facebook offers more robust options for creating a custom target audience. Plus, for every Facebook ad, you can include a so-called lookalike audience. This means that you can expand your reach to people whose interests resemble your ideal customer’s interests.


PPC vs. Social Ads: General Insights

To put the Facebook and Google advertising options into perspective, let’s take a look at some of the general insights about PPC campaigns and social media marketing.

This might help you learn more about the benchmarks and help you decide about the right solution for your business.

PPC and social advertising general statistics include:

  • Global ad spending is expected to show an annual growth rate of 6.4%, resulting in a market volume of $202 billion by 2025
  • 78% of marketers rely on Google and social media advertising to get their messages out; among them, 29% use Google Ads and 22% use Facebook ads
  • Google and Facebook hold the largest share of total digital ad spending in the United States; Google holds 37.2% and Facebook holds 22.1% of the share
  • In 2019, 62% of marketers were planning to increase their PPC budgets in the next 12 months; 18% of them say that the budget is going to be much bigger
  • 45% of small businesses invest in PPC advertising and 56% of small businesses invest in social media marketing
  • 17% of marketers use PPC ads for lead generation
  • 58% of Millennials purchased something due to an online or social media ad
  • 75% of people say paid ads make it easier to find the information they are searching for
  • 26% of people click on a search ad because it mentions a brand they’re familiar with
Facebook advertisements
[Source: Facebook]


Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: The Statistics

Now, let's look at the relevant numbers and statistics from Facebook and Google.

Relevant Facebook stats include:

  • 2.74 billion active monthly users and 1.82 billion active daily users on Facebook
  • $21.2 billion advertising revenue in Q3 2020, which indicates a 22% year-over-year change
  • The average cost per click is $1.72
  • The average cost per action (CPA) is $18.68
  • The typical cost-per-thousand impressions (cost per mille, CPM) is around $10
  • The biggest ad vertical on Facebook is eCommerce
  • The average Facebook ad reach is 28.1% while the average organic reach for a Facebook post is 5.17%
  • In 2019, Facebook generated $69.66 billion in ad revenues

Relevant Google stats include:

  • 87,059 Google searches are performed in one second worldwide
  • There are around 6.4 billion searches per day
  • 96% of brands are spending money on Google Ads
  • 77% of marketers will increase their spend on Google advertising over the next 12 months
  • The average click-through-rate (CTR) in for an ad in the first position in Google search results is 7.94% while the average CTR is 3.17% on the search network and 0.46% on the display network
  • The average CPC in Google Ads is $2.69 on the search network and $0.63 on the display network
  • 49% of people said they click on text ads, 31% on Shopping ads and 16% on video ads
  • On average, small businesses spend between $9,000 and $10,000 per month on Google advertising
  • In 2019, Google generated $134.81 billion in ad revenues

Note that some of the changes in Facebook and Google advertising have been happening due to increased demand for digital marketing services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Facebook noted in its Q3 2020 report:

“We believe the pandemic has contributed to an acceleration in the shift of commerce from offline to online, and we experienced increasing demand for advertising as a result of this acceleration.”

Facebook Report for Q3 2020

On the other hand, during the pandemic, some industries have experienced a decline of up to 7% in Google search ads impressions.

Google advertisements
[Source: Google]


Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: How To Decide

As we already mentioned, the decision between search and social marketing is going to depend on your business, audience and marketing strategy.

Factors that can vastly influence your choice also include:

  • The purpose of your campaign
  • The goal that you want to accomplish
  • The type of conversion(s) you want to measure

For example, if you own a brick-and-mortar shoe store and your conversion marketing strategy is to attract more local customers to your store, you can use Google Ads to show your ad whenever someone from your town searches for shoes on Google.

Or, if you just opened that store and you want more people to know about your brand, you might create a Facebook ad campaign to drive brand awareness and increase social following.

In a nutshell, to make a decision between Google and Facebook ads, keep these facts in mind:

  • Google Ads helps you find new customers more promptly; Facebook ads help you increase brand awareness and social following
  • Facebook ads are a better solution for driving more traffic to your website, blog posts and downloadable materials; Google Ads are a better solution for driving more traffic to your brick-and-mortar store or an eCommerce website and having more qualified leads contact you directly
  • Google Search ads might be the best solution for attracting people with a high purchase intent at the exact moment of their search; Facebook ads might be the best solution to attract more people who are interested in your offer but not yet ready to buy
  • Facebook ads are better for top-of-the-funnel conversions; Google Ads might be better for middle- and bottom-of-the-funnel conversions

If you are on a budget and you are looking for the most cost-effective solution, keep in mind that Facebook ads might be slightly cheaper because you can run your campaigns for as little as $1 a day and still reach thousands of potential customers.

If you choose Google Ads, remember that cost per click strongly depends on the industry, topic and the popularity of keywords you want to advertise for.

However, the global CPC of search advertising seems to be decreasing lately. According to Statista, the CPC in Q2 2020 was at $0.49, compared to $0.69 in Q2 2019.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: The Verdict

If you are still wondering whether Facebook ads or Google Ads are the better solution for your business and your online advertising endeavors, keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all kind of solution here.

The answer will always depend on several factors such as your industry, target audience and campaign goals.

In some cases, both Google and Facebook can offer you robust platforms to advertise your brand, products or services. In others, one of these online advertising solutions will prevail over another.

We hope that the insights and guides we provided in this article can help you make a better-informed decision on how to expand your brand awareness, drive more qualified leads and close more deals for your business.

Tomas McKannie is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. He is focused on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.

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Resource type: Guide/tools | Published: 2021