Google Ads vs Facebook ads: How do they compare?

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads is a big question. If you’re thinking of investing in digital advertising for your business, you may be wondering where to start. Both offer great advertising platforms and, depending on your goals, your target audience and your business, one can often work better than the other for your brand. Or you may find that they can work together. Let’s take a look at both channels and their differences to help you decide which is best for your business. ‍

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads is a big question. If you’re thinking of investing in digital advertising for your business, you may be wondering where to start. 

Both offer great advertising platforms and, depending on your goals, your target audience and your business, one can often work better than the other for your brand. Or you may find that they can work together. 

Let’s take a look at both channels and their differences to help you decide which is best for your business. 

Why should you invest in online advertising?

Your customers are now online and so are a huge number of products too. The competition for brand recognition online has been growing over the last few years. 

For your customers to be able to find you online, you need to be found as part of their search when they’re looking for your products and services. The online customer journey has become more complicated than ever and advertising online can help your brand to stand out from the crowd and build a relationship with your customers. 

Online advertising can help you throughout the customer journey, and helps with the following: 

  • Driving buyer behaviour 
  • Creating multiple pathways to purchase 
  • Uses repetition to improve sales 
  • Builds brand awareness 
  • Increases the spread of information 
  • Provides reminders to people who have viewed your website but haven’t purchase yet 
  • Reconnects you with existing customers

Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads can be significant drivers for your business and many brands use them alongside each other to increase their reach and marketing results. 

Whilst both ad platforms share a lot of similarities, there are also key differences to consider to make sure you find the right fit for your business. 

What are Google Ads? 

Google is a search engine that is used 3.5 billion times per day by internet users who are searching for solutions to their problems or answers to their questions. Most of Google’s revenue comes from paid advertising in various forms. 

Previously known as Google Adwords, Google Ads (pay per click or PPC) has become one of the world’s biggest advertising platforms. You only pay when someone clicks on your ad. 

Google Ads works on an auction based system which takes place every time someone searches for a particular keyword or phrase. 

You choose the keywords you want to be shown for, add in your bid amount and optimise your ads to ensure your Quality Score is high. To make sure your ad shows at the top of the results page, you will need to optimise your bid and maintain a high quality score. 

When you invest in paid search, your ad is determined using target keywords instead of targeting specific audience interests and demographics, in the same way as Facebook Ads. 

Google’s advertising platforms include:

  • Display network - this allows you to display your ads on apps and websites that include relevant keywords. These ads include images, videos and more. 
  • Search network - the search network features text ads and your ads are displayed when people are searching for specific keywords such as car insurance. If you win the ad auction, your ads will be shown at the top of the search results. 
  • Video ads - this allows you to display your ads on video streaming sites such as YouTube and across the Google Display Network. 
  • Google Shopping - these ads are perfect if you sell products online. They allow you to be shown for high intent and relevant searches based on specific product searches. 
  • Retargeting - you can remarket to customers who have visited your site but who have not yet converted. You can follow them around with retargeting ads to close the sale. 

Benefits of using Google Ads 

Google Ads can provide a number of benefits for your business:

Large audience 

Google has a huge reach and, as it becomes more and more sophisticated, this volume is likely to increase allowing advertisers to reach even more new customers. 

Other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing are unable to offer the same audiences. The vast reach of the channel means its a great addition to any digital marketing strategy. Google has also evolved to ensure that it serves the most relevant search results for every query and searcher. 

A level playing field 

Google Ads focuses on the quality and relevance of your ads and not how much you spend. The more relevant your ad is to a searcher, the better the experience that searcher is likely to have, which means they’re more likely to use Google as their main search engine. 

To make sure that searchers always find the most relevant results, Google rewards relevance and quality, despite the amount you invest. You could invest hundreds of pounds but, if your ad is not relevant, it will not show. As a result, advertisers who have relevant and high quality ads do not have to bid as much as those with poorer ads. 

Some keywords can cost more than others but the bid is largely dependent on the quality and relevance of ads. 

Range of ad formats 

Although most Google Ads are still text based, you can use other features to make your ads stand out to potential customers. Ad extensions such as site links, reviews, location targeting, Shopping Ads and a range of other features are available to allow you to customise your ads, 

It doesn’t matter what you sell, or who your target audience is, there is likely to be an ad format or feature that will work for your business. Google is always adding new ad formats and features to allow you to reach new customers and drive new business. 

What are Facebook ads?

Facebook has around 2.91 billion monthly active users so Facebook Ads provide a great way to get in front of even more potential customers on social networks. Facebook Ads are the perfect way to reach customers who are at the top of the funnel. 

One of the main advantages of Facebook in comparison to Google Ads is Facebook holds information on our social behaviour. You might not be consciously aware of it but you reveal more information on Facebook about yourself than you might intend to. Facebook looks at the pages you like, the topics you engage with, your friends, your birthday and your current location and you can use all of this information to find and target potential customers. 

In the same way as Google Ads, you pay for Facebook Ads but they can only be shown on Facebook and are displayed in places such as:

  • Video feeds 
  • Facebook marketplace
  • Instagram’s newsfeed 
  • The right hand column of Facebook 
  • Messenger inbox 

Facebook Ads allow you to create and run ad campaigns on the Facebook Ads Manager tool and optimise your ads to reach your target audience based on their location, profile data and other demographics. You can also choose where you want to run your ads - on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and the audience networks and devices you want to target. 

These ads will help you to increase brand awareness and engagement, generate leads, drive traffic to your website, increase content reach and build awareness for events. 

Benefits of using Facebook Ads 

In the same way as Google Ads, Facebook Ads offer a number of benefits for your business. 

Audience granularity 

Facebook has a huge global audience and this audience shares details of their lives ont he channel too. As well as sharing personal information with their friends and networks, users also search for and consume content that aligns with their personal interests, beliefs, ideologies, and values which gives you the opportunity to tailor your ads to specific target audiences. 

You can also create lookalike audiences which allow you to upload your existing customer’s information which then allows you to target other users who are similar and have similar interests and behaviour to your customers. 

Visual platform 

In contrast to PPC ads, Facebook ads are a more visual format and blend in with the images and videos that already feature in user’s newsfeeds. In the same way that Google experiments with and changes its text based PPC ads, Facebook is always evaluating the ways in which it can offer a superior marketing platform to provide users with a rewarding and satisfying experience. 


Budget for your ad campaigns varies depending on your messaging and campaign objectives. However, they provide an affordable marketing channel, especially when you consider the impact of the ads and the granularity with which you can target your audience. 

If you’re a small business or have limited resources, Facebook is the perfect channel and is not just limited to those who have a huge budget. If you combine the cost with the potential returns of Facebook Ads, it’s one of the best value digital marketing channels currently available. 

How do Facebook Ads and Google Ads compare?

Let’s have a look at how the two advertising platforms compare with each other. 

Audience size 

Both channels have a huge reach. As we have already mentioned, Facebook has around 2.91 million monthly users and Google handles 3.5 billion searches per day. 

However, it’s not recommended that you choose a channel based on audience size. To understand which platform might work best for your business, think about whether your product or service is better suited for search or social channels and look at where your target audience spends most of their time. 

Buyer intent 

When it comes to buyer intent, Google Ads comes first. Search ads make sure your brand is in front of your prospective customers at the exact time they’re looking for your product or service. Facebook Ads are less likely to convert leads quickly. 

People who spend time on Facebook use the channel to socialise and relax so shopping is not a priority. Facebook is useful for building an audience and following for your business which allows you to build trust and make customers more likely to buy from you in the future. If you want immediate conversions, Google Ads is most likely to offer the best results. 

Ad formats 

When it comes to ad formats, Facebook offers more creativity. Google Ads is restricted to a small block of text that needs to catch your audience’s attention on the search engine. You can use ad extensions but you will still be limited to text only. 

Facebook provides a visual element and allows you to use image based ads. Varying ad formats help to avoid ad fatigue and keep customers interested and engaged. 

Targeting options 

Both platforms offer ways to target specific audiences, allowing you to target by location, gender, age and income level, among other options. For advanced targeting options, Facebook is the better option as it allows you to create different audiences based on behaviours and interests and be extremely specific with your ad targeting, 

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Blog written by

Dylan Bonsall
Digital Marketing Executive