A Comprehensive Guide to Your Advertising Strategy: Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads

When it comes to online advertising, two titans rule the digital landscape; Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Both of these platforms have completely transformed the way firms sell their products and services by enabling unprecedented reach and astute targeting. However, many businesses face the conundrum of "Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads” But, which is better? The answer isn't as simple as you would think. This blog post will examine each platform's potential benefits and individual characteristics to assist you in determining which is the best fit for your company's specific requirements.

Editorial credit: PixieMe / Shutterstock.com

Understanding the Fundamentals

Google Ads is the most widely used pay-per-click (PPC) advertising system in the world. This platform, created by the search giant Google, allows businesses to create ads that will be displayed in Google's search results and on other Google domains. Google handles 3.5 billion searches each day, making it the number one platform for businesses seeking potential customers at the point of intent. This is the point where they are actively searching for products or services.

Facebook Ads is available on the world's largest social network, which has over 2.8 billion monthly active users. Because of its massive user base, Facebook is an excellent platform for reaching a very large or indeed a specialised audience. Facebook advertising is managed through a simple interface and advertising can be displayed in a variety of areas, including users' news feeds, the column on the right-hand-side of Facebook on a desktop, Instagram (which Facebook owns), and the Facebook Audience Network.

Developing the Targeting Strategy

Targeting is central to digital advertising. Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads provide extensive targeting choices, but there is a significant difference in their methodologies.

Google Ads is well suited to intent-based targeting. This is when consumers search for a product or service on Google with a definitive aim which is usually research or retail. Google Ads will then use this intent to match businesses with potential clients. There is also a wide range of targeting options offered by Google including keyword targeting, location targeting, demographic targeting (age, gender, parental status, and income), day and time targeting, device targeting, and audience targeting (based on interests, habits, and previous interactions with your business).

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, excels at demographic and interest-based targeting. The social media company collects an extensive amount of data from its users, allowing advertisers to specifically target chosen demographics, interests, habits, and connections. You can target people on Facebook based on their age, gender, location, language, education, workplace, relationship status, life events, interests (such as the pages they visit and the ads they click on), behaviours (such as the device they use to browse Facebook or their travel habits), and connections (such as people who like your page or app users).

Editorial credit: IB Photography / Shutterstock.com

Choosing Ad Formats

Another important factor to consider when deciding between Facebook Ads and Google Ads is the formats available on each network. Google Ads offers a number of ad formats to accommodate different needs and enterprises. Among the options are:

  • Search Network campaigns - Text-based advertising that appears in Google search results.
  • Display Network campaigns – Image-based adverts that run on Google Display Network websites.
  • Shopping campaigns – Product listing advertisements that appear in Google search results and the Shopping tab, which are ideal for e-commerce enterprises.
  • Video campaigns - Video advertisements that appear before or during YouTube videos.
  • App campaigns – Ads that promote your app on Google Search, the Play Store, YouTube, and other platforms.

Each ad style is created to best suit a specific goal. For example, search advertisements are ideal for reaching a high-intent audience, but display ads are ideal for increasing brand awareness.

In contrast, Facebook Ads emphasise visually appealing, engaging styles that capture users' attention and encourage engagement. Some examples are:

  • Image ads – Simple, clear ads that express a narrative with a single image.
  • Video ads - to showcase your product, service, or brand.
  • Carousel ads – advertisements that allow you to display up to 10 images or videos in a single ad, each with its own link.
  • Slideshow advertising – brief video advertisements that employ motion, sound, and text to tell your message.
  • Instant Experience advertising – full-screen, interactive advertising that loads instantly and functions on any device.
  • Collection advertising – advertising that allows users to discover, browse, and buy products or services from their mobile device in a visual, immersive environment.

Each of these ad formats can be customised to meet specific advertising goals such as brand exposure, reach, traffic, engagement, app instals, conversions, catalogue sales, or shop visitors.

Considerations for Ads Costs

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads use a bidding system, which means that the cost is heavily influenced by factors such as competition and targeting settings.

Google Ads' average cost-per-click (CPC) can be greater than Facebook's. This is because advertisers frequently target high-intent keywords that can lead to immediate sales. For example, "home insurance quote" is a highly specialised term that implies strong intent, thus many marketers are willing to pay a premium for these clicks.

Facebook Ads’ on the other hand, have a lower average CPC. Because Facebook’s principal use is to interact with friends and family rather than to make a sale. As a result, clicks may be less costly.

On both platforms, expenses can vary greatly from business to business and industry to industry. Testing advertising on both platforms and comparing the outcomes is the most efficient method of understanding expenses.

Editorial credit: PixieMe / Shutterstock.com

Analytics and Performance

When it comes to digital marketing, data is king and both Google Ads and Facebook Ads provide powerful analytics capabilities to track the efficacy of your campaigns.

Google Ads gives precise analytics on the performance of your ads, such as the number of impressions and clicks, click-through rate (CTR), average cost-per-click (CPC), and total cost. You can also track conversions such as online purchases or form submissions and determine the return on investment (ROI) of your ads thanks to its seamless interaction with Google Analytics.

In comparison, Facebook Ads have a lower average CPC. The objective is frequently lower because Facebook is mostly used to engage with friends and family rather than to make a transaction. As a result, clicks could be less expensive.

Both ad costs and analytics expenses may vary substantially on both platforms so the best way to understand costs is to test advertising on both platforms and compare the results.

Which Is Better: Facebook Ads or Google Ads?

There is no clear winner in the "Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads" debate. The optimal platform for your business will be determined by a number of factors, including your goals, target audience, and budget.

Google Ads may be a better fit for your company if:

You want to reach out to people who are actively looking for the items or services that you are selling. It also benefits companies whose major advertising objective is to generate immediate conversions. And finally, if your target audience is determined by your audience’s intent (what they're actively looking for) rather than by certain demographics or interests.

Facebook Ads could be a good fit for your company if:

The fundamental purpose of your advertising is brand awareness or social engagement.

Facebook is also effective if your goal is to reach a specifically targeted audience, meaning a demographic and interest-based targeting strategy would work best.

And if you decide you want to exploit the visual element of social media advertising to engage users and communicate the story of your company, then Facebook may be for you.

In fact, the debate isn't so much "Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads" but "How can I use both platforms to achieve my marketing objectives?" Each platform has its own capabilities, and combining them can result in a comprehensive, multi-faceted digital advertising campaign.

Understanding how to harness the unique features of both Google Ads and Facebook Ads can put you in a better position to reach your target audience. Whether you're a tiny local business or a multinational corporation, you can engage potential consumers, and produce positive business outcomes.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Finding the appropriate mix between these two powerful advertising channels requires testing, evaluating, and an openness to modifying your approach.

At our Digital Marketing Academy, we are dedicated to guiding you through the complexities of digital advertising. Stay tuned for further insights and please contact us if you have any concerns about Facebook Ads, Google Ads, or digital marketing in general or if you would like to advance your Digital Marketing career.

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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