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Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: How To Advertise in 2024?

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads? Let’s find the best fit for your 2024 advertising strategy. Boost sales & brand awareness!

Are you wondering whether Facebook Ads or Google Ads is the better choice for advertising your business? It’s a tough decision that a lot of businesses struggle with. In this guide, we’ll do a deep dive comparison of Facebook Ads vs Google Ads powerhouse advertising platforms so you can determine which one best fits your needs.

Quick Summary

Understanding Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Before we get into the nitty-gritty comparison, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what each platform offers:

What is Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads allows you to create visual advertisements that are displayed to Facebook’s massive user base across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Facebook Audience Network (third-party apps and mobile websites). 

The key strength of Facebook Ads is the ability to get hyper-specific with your targeting by tapping into Facebook’s vast database of user demographics, interests, behaviors, and more. This lets you laser-focus your ads on your exact desired audience.

Facebook Ads also emphasises extremely engaging, eye-catching ad formats like image and video ads, carousel ads that let people swipe through multiple images, and even immersive full-screen Instagram Stories ads. Check our short guide here about how to advertise on facebook

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords), enables you to show PPC ads at the top of Google’s search engine results pages when people search for terms related to your products or services.   

For example, if you own a restaurant, your ads could show up when people in your area search for things like “restaurants near me” or “best wellington beef near me

In addition to the classic search ads, Google Ads provides options to run display ads as banners on other websites, YouTube video ads, and visual product listing ads that showcase images and pricing on Google Shopping.

The primary strength of Google Ads is the sheer reach and scope of being able to get your ads in front of people during those key moments when they are actively searching for what you offer with high purchase intent.

Key Differences Between the Platforms

While Facebook Ads and Google Ads both allow you to get your business in front of a massive audience of potential customers, there are some critical distinctions: 

Audience Reach

One of the first major differences is the sheer size of the audience on each platform. As per the latest data:

  • Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, giving Google Ads an absolutely staggering potential reach.
  • Facebook has nearly 3 billion monthly active users across Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, providing immense reach in its own right.

So while Facebook’s audience is ginormous, Google’s reach is truly unmatched simply due to the dominance of Google Search across all industries and geographic markets.

Ad Formats 

The core ad formats between the two platforms are quite different:

  • Google Ads leans heavily on PPC search ads and image-based display ads and product listings.
  • Facebook Ads is oriented around highly visual and engaging formats including photo, video, carousel, story, and collection ads that are built to grab attention in multimedia social media feeds.

Targeting Options

This is another key distinction between the two platforms:

  • Google Ads mainly targets users based on the keywords and search terms they use, allowing you to focus ads on specific queries related to products/services.
  • Facebook Ads provides incredibly advanced targeting by tapping Facebook’s data sources to target audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviors, lookalike audiences, and much more.

For example, a landscaping company could target ladies aged 30-55 who are interested in gardening, live in certain zip codes, and exhibit behaviors like engaging with home & garden content.

So while Google provides precise keyword and contextual targeting, Facebook allows ultra-targeting in building custom audiences that match your ideal customer profile.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: How To Advertise in 2024?

Which Platform is Best For Your Goals?

One of the biggest factors in determining whether Facebook Ads or Google Ads is ideal for your primary advertising goals and objectives: 

Use Google Ads when your goal is:
  • Driving immediate online sales/conversions for your product or service
  • Capitalising on hot transactional intent/high-converting keywords 
  • Establishing presence for localised services (plumbers, HVAC etc.)

Google Ads allows you to position your ads directly in the line of sight when people are actively searching for what you offer with purchase intent. If you’re a local service provider, you should consider Google Local Services Ads 
where you just pay only for the leads you receive, not for the click nor impression. Sounds interesting, right. 

Use Facebook Ads when your goal is:
  • Building brand awareness and connecting with warm audiences
  • Encouraging engagement, sharing, and community interaction
  • Products/Services with less immediate purchase intent 

Facebook’s precise targeting and visual ad formats make it perfect for getting your brand in front of the right audience, developing interest and desire over time through repeated exposure and retargeting.

Comparing Costs and ROI

Budget is going to be a major consideration when choosing between Facebook Ads and Google Ads, so let’s look at the costs and ROI you can expect:


Generally speaking:

  • Google Ads has a higher average pay-per-click (PPC) compared to Facebook Ads, especially for high-intent, competitive keywords. You pay more per click, but those clicks are from prospects with higher purchase intent.
  • Facebook Ads tends to have lower CPCs since their ad targeting is oriented more around building interest and awareness versus purchase behavior. The cheaper clicks come from slightly warmer prospects.
Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Google Ads frequently yields a higher immediate ROI since the ads are served to people who are actively looking to purchase the product or service being advertised. The conversions happen fast.
  • Facebook Ads often takes longer to deliver high ROI as the goal is nurturing interest and desire through audience interaction and retargeting over time. However, the potential lifetime value can be immense.

Of course, the actual costs and returns can vary greatly depending on innumerable factors like industry, product/service, audience, managing ppc campaigns, creative quality, and so forth.

Unique Benefits of Each Platform

There are some unique advantages that each platform brings to the table:  

Key Benefits of Google Ads
  • Extensive reach and variety of ad formats (search, display, video, shopping etc.)
  • Ability to capture commercial search intent, purchase-ready searchers 
  • Advanced audience targeting through in-market audiences, affinity audiences, etc.
  • Free listings for 24/7 presence on Google Maps, Shopping, and Search (if you optimise properly)
  • Wealth of data and insights from Googles tools like Keyword Planner, Market Finder, etc.
Key Benefits of Facebook Ads
  • Super granular targeting capabilities for building custom audiences 
  • Highly visual and engaging ads built for thumb-stopping in social feeds
  • Advanced tracking and retargeting options for nurturing prospects
  • Massive audience reach across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, etc.
  • Seamless options for advertising on mobile devices and apps

Many companies actually utilise both ad platforms as part of a sales-funnel marketing strategy.

While both platforms offer paid advertising, there are valuable free PPC tools to explore. Google Ads Keyword Planner helps with keyword research, and Facebook Audience Insights unlocks demographic information about potential customers.

Sales Funnel Approach: Using Both Together

For many businesses, the ideal solution is running coordinated campaigns on both Facebook Ads and Google Ads to cover the entire customer journey from awareness to conversion. 

Here’s how a smart Sales funnel digital advertising strategy could work:

  • Use Facebook Ads for top-of-funnel brand awareness. The advanced targeting helps you get in front of the exact warm audiences who match your ideal customer profile to build initial interest and desire.
  • Run remarketing/retargeting campaigns on Facebook to reconnect with warm audiences that engaged with your brand on Facebook/Instagram and move them through the funnel.
  • At the bottom of the funnel, use Google Ads to capture high-intent commercial keywords when prospects start actively searching for your products/services to close the sale.
  • Additionally, you can add display ads, video ads, and Google Shopping campaigns to the mix to stay top-of-mind at all phases of the journey.

By using this full-funnel approach, you take advantage of the strengths of each platform – Facebook for prospecting and nurturing, Google Ads for capturing active buyer demand.

Technical Considerations and Optimisation

Of course, simply running ads on these platforms won’t guarantee success. You need to dive into the technical optimisations and best practices for maximising results: 

Key Techniques for Google Ads:
  • Competitive keyword research to find high-value keywords
  • Writing compelling, optimised ad copy to drive clicks
  • Leveraging sitelink, callout, and other ad extensions
  • Continuous bid optimisations and refining negative keywords
  • Optimising for Quality Score to improve ad rank and costs
Key Techniques for Facebook Ads:  
  • Audience research to laser-focus targeting parameters
  • Creating visually compelling, attention-grabbing creative/copy
  • Testing variations by duplicating high-performing campaigns  
  • Leveraging advanced Facebook Pixels for granular tracking/optimisation
  • Using behaviors and engagement signals to refine retargeting
Choosing the Right Platform: It Depends!

At the end of the day, there is no definitive “best” advertising platform between Facebook Ads and Google Ads. The ideal choice for your business depends on several key factors: 

Your Primary Advertising Goals

If your main goal is driving immediate online sales or capturing transactional intent purchase demand, Google Ads may be the better initial option. If you’re focused more on building brand awareness, interest and nurturing warm prospects over time, Facebook Ads could be the way to go.

Your Target Audience 

Consider where your ideal customers spend their time online. Are they more active on Google as researchers/shoppers? Or are they engaged in communities and consuming content on Facebook/Instagram? Their behavior should dictate your platform choice.

Your Product/Service

Products or services with longer decision cycles, more consideration involved, or a social/visual element tend to perform better on Facebook Ads initially. More transactional, urgent, or localised services can be a great fit for Google Ads.

Your Budget and Resources

Facebook Ads may require more upfront budget compared to Google Ads since you’re building long-term awareness. Google Ads cost more per click but can deliver faster ROI. Budget and internal resources are important factors.

Many businesses ultimately find that using a strategic combination of both Facebook Ads and Google Ads as part of a full-funnel digital marketing strategy produces the best overall results.

While SEO won't directly impact your Facebook Ads, it can influence your Google Ads strategy. For instance, optimising your website content with relevant keywords can improve your organic search ranking, potentially leading more qualified users to your landing page after clicking your Google Ad. Check our basic SEO guide to learn how to optimise your website for organic search alongside your Google Ads campaign.

How can we help you? Get the Strategy Right

There are pros and cons to each advertising platform – Facebook Ads and Google Ads. Ultimately, the “best” choice comes down to your specific business goals, target audience, budget and overall marketing strategy. 

However, both platforms offer immense potential and an opportunity to get your business in front of billions of customers worldwide. The key is taking the time to truly understand how each platform works, researching your audience’s habits/behaviors, and creating strategic campaigns that deliver value.

Need assistance determining the ideal advertising approach for your business? Our team of paid media experts would be happy to provide a free consultation and recommendations based on your unique situation. Contact us out today to get started!

FAQs on Facebook Ads vs Google Ads

Still have some questions swirling around about these two massive ad platforms? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions: 

Which platform has more users?

In terms of total user base, Google Ads has a potential advertising reach of over 3.5 billion searches per day on Google.com and partner sites. However, Facebook has a hugely impressive 2.9 billion monthly active users across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Is Facebook Ads or Google Ads cheaper?

Google Ads generally has a higher average cost-per-click (CPC) compared to Facebook Ads. However, those higher-cost clicks are from high search intent customers actively searching on Google. Facebook’s CPCs are lower on average since the clicks are from warmer prospects.

What types of businesses are better for Facebook Ads? 

Facebook Ads tend to perform best for products/services where there is less immediate purchase intent, a need to build brand awareness, or the products have a lifestyle/visual/social component. Ecommerce stores, fashion/beauty brands, B2C services all tend to excel on Facebook.

What types of businesses are better for Google Ads?

Google Ads are ideal for businesses offering more transactional, urgent or localised products and services where demand exists and people are actively searching. Service providers, ecommerce stores, software companies and B2B firms are all great candidates.

Can I run campaigns on both platforms? 

Absolutely! In fact, we recommend most businesses take a full-funnel approach by using Facebook Ads for upper-funnel branding/awareness and Google Ads for capturing lower-funnel search demand and conversions. The platforms actually complement each other extremely well when used together strategically.

For organic traffic growth, consider implementing ecommerce SEO best practices alongside your ad campaigns. This can involve optimising product descriptions with relevant keywords, ensuring high-quality product images, and building a strong internal linking structure. By refining your on-site SEO, you'll increase your website's visibility in search results, potentially attracting customers who haven't seen your Facebook or Google Ads

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