Google Ads Vs Facebook Ads: which one is right for your business?


A Look into digital advertising platforms for small to mid-sized businesses

Since the birth of the internet, advertising has truly changed. Instead of placing your ads on billboards or running them between television programs, our main go-to place to advertise is online. And why exactly is this? Well, advertising online gives us the opportunity to increase our formerly local or national audience to, well, wherever we want really. It also helps us target audiences specifically by various demographics and keep our costs down by only paying for how many people interact with our ads.

Yes, advertising has well and truly changed! But with so many ad platforms to choose from, how do you know which one is right for your business and your marketing goals? Today, we are going to compare the two main contenders, Google Ads and Facebook Ads, and hopefully provide you with some insight into which one is right for you.

A Look into digital advertising platforms for small to mid-sized businesses

STEP 1 – Define your marketing goals, budget and limitations.

Before you pick an ad platform, you have to decide upon your strategy. This should be the first step in any marketing venture. Without this, you are just swinging a bat blindfolded, hoping to make that homerun. We here at Web Geeks are a big fan of something we call S.M.A.R.T. goals. Smart goals are much, as the name implies, goals that have solid methodology behind them.

S=Specific: In marketing there is no use having a rough trail to follow you really have to get right down to the nitty-gritty and decide exactly what it is you are looking to achieve from a marketing campaign. Are you trying to make people more aware of your brand? Do you want more website visitors? or do you simply want to sell more of your products or services?

M=Measurable: Now you have your goal in mind for the campaign think about how you can measure its success. There is no use running a campaign with specific goals if, at the end of it, you don’t know if it was successful or not. Do you want to see 500 more sales? Do you want 200 hits on your landing page? Or do you want x amount of people to download an eBook? Then make sure you are tracking these well by using Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel or your chosen marketing software.

A=Achievable: As with all goals, if you set unreachable ones, you will never succeed, and your morale will decrease at the same time. Set a goal that is achievable, not just desirable.

R=Relevant: Make sure the goals fit your overall marketing strategy; don’t follow an entirely new direction that doesn’t make any sense to your business.

T=Time-bound: The final piece of the puzzle gives your campaign a set start and end date; this not only helps you track its success but also helps you budget better for its duration.

Once you have all of this, then it’s time to move on to Step 2.

Define your marketing goals, budget and limitations

Step 2 – Choose an ad platform

Now, this bit will be slightly easier, as we are going to give you a rundown of both Google ads and Facebook ads to help you along a bit and go over the details that make the two platforms unique:


Google ads

Google ads have a very large reach in the digital world. Everybody and his brother uses Google to search the information superhighway for the things they need the most. Of course, other search engines, such as Bing, do exist, but when it comes down to it, Google is most certainly the most popular of them all.

What does this mean for you?

This means your ads can be seen on search engine results pages, as well as YouTube, Gmail and all of their ad partner websites that work in conjunction with Google to deliver your ads to your chosen demographic. That is an awful lot of real estate! Google ads indeed have an expansive reach which cannot be ignored. Google Ads comes in at an extra advantage; however, users who are using its search platform are generally already looking to purchase the products and services they are looking for.




Facebook ads

Facebook ads are, as the name suggests, ads on Facebook. However, Facebook also has an audience network similar to that of Google, with apps and websites signed up to publish its ads.

What does this mean for you?

The majority of Facebook ads are published on its social network or within the meta ecosystem. These users are not directly looking to purchase something; they are instead scrolling through Facebook. This means they are better suited to goals such as brand awareness rather than direct conversions.


Ad Formats

Google ads

Search Ads

Google ads come in various formats. The ones that we probably see the most are search ads. These are the “sponsored ads” that appear at the top of a search result. They give you the link to a website along with a short description of whatever promotion they are currently running. They are all carefully crafted with keywords and enticing offers to draw you in. You could be searching for a particular pizza place, and another will pop up above it, trying to tempt you away. Search ads are a very powerful tool.

Display ads

Display ads are the more detailed ads we find as banners and blocks on our search results or on partner websites with an image element. These ads are great for displaying lots of information at a time and incorporating a desirable call-to-action to draw you away from wherever you are to their website or landing page. Display ads come in all shapes and sizes suited for various devices and screen sizes.

Video ads

These ads allow for much more content to be delivered to your chosen audience. We can tell a story, guide our audience to a purchase, and make it fun at the same time. These ads can appear on the Google display network. However, they are also eligible to appear on YouTube, even if they are not specifically a YouTube campaign.

Shopping ads

These ads are specific to Google’s shopping results. They usually feature a single product along with its price and other relevant details. These help users who are intent on buying a specific type of product locate the product more easily.

Discovery ads

Discovery ads appear inside the Gmail, YouTube, and Google apps. They are visual ads that use an image or series of images inside a carousel to show different products.

Ad Formats

What does this mean for you?

In essence, if you think of it, you can use it as an ad campaign on Google. Google’s large variety of formats and types of ads is a great way to see conversions, with a specialty in selling. If you have a product or service to sell, you can do it with Google in a variety of ways. You can even reach your audience directly in their promotions folder on Gmail, looking for conversions, look no further.

Facebook ads

Image ads

These are much like display ads on Google. They are the run-of-the-mill Facebook ads you see while scrolling through your feed. They don’t offer as much variation in sizes as Google ads, but they do the job. They provide a place to add an image with text and a call to action to get your brand or product noticed.

Video ads

Much like Google video ads, Facebook stories tell a story. However, they can show up in different places on the social network. They can be used in Facebook stories, allowing them to be right at the top of your Facebook feed on the desktop and mobile app, in your feed, or in-stream.

Carousel ads

Carousel ads are great for relaying lots of information to your audience. They can be used as a product showcase, a way to establish your authority with your abundant knowledge, or simply to tell your brand story.

Slideshow ads

Just like a video ad, these ads play a sequence of parts. You can use images, video clips, or even text to tell your story without having to spend so much time making a video ad. This type of ad is great for anyone with a message to get across but not the time or resources to create videos.

Collection ads

Facebook’s answer to discovery ads these are good for displaying many different products to your audience.

Instant experience ads

Instant ads are a whole different ball game. They provide the user with an immersive mobile experience. These are full-screen interactive ads with various elements of product catalogues, photo galleries, and tilt-to-pan images. The possibilities are almost endless. These ads are designed to allow the user to not only see an ad but become a part of it by engaging with it. These types of ads are something truly special indeed.

What does this mean for you?

What does this mean for you?

Although Facebook’s reach may not be as good as Google’s, Facebook fights back with various ad formats, giving you more choices regarding ad placement and type. The addition of Instant experience ads is particularly advantageous, as it offers a whole new type of experience for your audience. If you have the budget, these can help you provide a memorable experience for your audience.


Google ads

Google ads have a variety of different targeting options available. From the simple things, such as keyword and placement targeting, you can choose where your ads will appear. However, Google also allows you to show your ads based on location, be it cities, countries, or custom-defined areas. Google also has the addition of device targeting, allowing you to target users on various types of devices along with time of day targeting, which shows ads at the times of day that your audience is most likely to be searching for its needs.

On The other side of the coin, google has audience-based targeting. You can use the platform to target users by the normal things such as age and gender but also by their parental status and household income. You can narrow this down even further by targeting users interested in a specific topic, those searching for services or products similar to the ones you are providing or even by their recent search history. Finally, you can also target users that have interacted with your brand before.




Facebook ads

Facebook shares a lot of the same targeting options as Google. However, the audience information gained by Facebook is more information users have shared when they fill out their profile information instead of search history, so you can narrow it down a little more with categories such as education, relationship status, job title etc., etc., etc. If you can find it in the profile information, you can generally use it to customize your target audience.

Facebook will also allow you to target behaviour and device or app usage. Which pages the user has liked, even as far as which topics they have engaged with. You can choose lookalike audiences, which are similar to customers you have already. Facebook ads will allow you to create up to 500 custom audiences for your ad account, so your customization options are only really limited by your creativity.


What does this mean for you?

With both platforms having a wide array of audience targeting options, it really comes down to a few questions:

Do you want to target people actively searching for a product or service to achieve a higher conversion rate, or do you want to try increasing your brand awareness with new and fresh audiences?

If it’s the former, perhaps try Google; for the latter, maybe go with Facebook.

Where does your audience spend most of their time?

If you believe that your audience spends most of their time on Facebook, it may be wise to take advantage of not only being in their sight but being in their sight repeatedly.

Other Factors for Consideration

Cost and Cost Structure

Both platforms offer a C.P.C. (cost per click) model, which you pay for each time a user clicks on your ad. However, these costs can be higher on Google than on Facebook. This does not mean you should always opt for Facebook ads over Google ads. You always have to factor in the options we have discussed above, your marketing goals, and the audience you are trying to reach. Sometimes, a shorter ad campaign can bring more results than a longer one if on the right platform.

The two platforms also offer C.P.M. (cost per impression) in this model you pay for how many people see your ad not how many people have clicked on it. So 1000 people may see your ad, no one may click on it or 1000 people may see your ad and 800 may click on it, it all works out to the same price. They also offer a C.P.A. (cost per action or acquisition) model which allows you to pay per conversion, whatever you choose that conversion to be.

The cost for both Google ads and Facebook ads are also adjusted due to competition. For example, keywords that are more popular will cost more, as well as certain popular demographics. So, there really is no good way to tell how much your campaign will cost without trying it out for yourself. We recommend that you use A/B testing for the best results.

Consumer or Business?

Are you in the realm of B2B (business-to-business) marketing or B2C (business-to-consumer) marketing? If you are targeting businesses, you may have better luck running a campaign on Google ads as they will be actively searching for the products or services they need on Google. Conversely, consumers, while doing the same in times of need, are using social media, so it may be worth trying to get noticed on Facebook.


Industries offering a service tend to perform better on Google ads as people are actively searching in their time of need, such as for medical, legal, and financial services. Whereas industries selling products to their customers, such as the fashion industry, health and beauty and entertainment, may get more luck on Facebook.

Where does your audience spend most of their time?

So, Which is it? Google ads or Facebook ads?

Unfortunately, we are unable to give you a solid answer to which service would help you attract more customers. This all depends on the considerations we have discussed. However, we suggest you try both platforms to see which works better for you and your marketing goals. You may even want to try a combination of both platforms to achieve your goals, as many companies do.

Key Takeaways

Before you embark on any ad venture, define your marketing goals, budget, and limitations. Then, choose your preferred ad format for your chosen campaign.

Always implement A/B testing to make sure you have a better idea of what strategy works with which audience.

Both Facebook and Google ads have good reach. However, with Google ads, you are putting your ads in front of users directly searching for products and services, so they are better for direct conversions. Facebook allows you to be in front of audiences while scrolling, so they are better suited to brand awareness.

Cost can vary with both platforms depending on audience, keywords or cost structure.

B2B marketing has an edge on Google ads, whereas B2C marketing may perform better on Facebook.

Both platforms offer extensive targeting options, so try both and see which one works best for you.