Facebook Ads and Google Ads are the two top pay-per-click advertising platforms. Google Ads target specific keywords and appear as the top results in Google searches, whereas Facebook Ads display in social feeds and are targeted using demographic and behavioral information. Each platform is used to do anything from build brand awareness to drive sales.
Poor quality ad campaigns on either advertising platform can lead to wasted money. If you’re new to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, it’s worth hiring a highly ranked PPC management company such as Hibu to get the most out of your ad spend. Get started with a free consultation today.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads at a Glance
|Facebook Ads||Google Ads|
|Price (Avg. CPC)||$1.72||$2.69|
|User Intent||Passive—Ad viewers aren't actively looking for a specific product or brand; they are targeted based on interests and demographic information||Active—Ad viewers are actively search for a product or brand and are likely ready to buy|
|Targeting Options||Comprehensive—User demographics, interests, life events, and buying behaviors||Limited—User demographics|
|Ad Placement Options||Facebook (Feed, Right Column, Stories, Marketplace, and In-stream Video), Facebook Messenger, Instagram (Feed and Stories), and Audience Network||Google and Google Search Partners (e.g., Amazon, The NY Times, and The Washington Post)|
|Ad Types||Image, Video, Slideshow, Carousel, Collection, and Instant Experience||Text, Call-only, and Shopping Ads|
|Avg. Click-through Rate||0.90%|
|Avg. Conversion Rate||9.21%||3.75%|
|Ease of Use|
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: How They Work
While Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms, they each work a bit differently. Facebook Ads are considered paid social; ads are displayed in users’ social media feed. Google Ads, however, are paid search ads that are displayed in Google’s search results.
How Facebook Ads Work
Facebook, a social media and networking platform with 2.3 billion users worldwide, offers businesses the ability to advertise with pay-per-click (PPC) ads. These ads are created using the robust Facebook Ad Manager platform, and are then are displayed to a targeted audience defined by user demographics, interests, behavior, and Facebook engagement patterns. As part of the ad creation process, businesses select an ad budget, ad placement, and ad run time.
Facebook’s audience targeting is what really sets it apart from Google Ads. Since Facebook users aren’t on social media actively looking for a product or service, the platform encourages conversions by giving advertisers comprehensive targeting options—including factors like age, gender, income, and interests—that align closely with ad content. This is what makes Facebook marketing and Facebook advertising effective, despite the audience lacking the same level of intent as Google Ads.
Actual ad creation within Facebook is relatively easy. As mentioned, ads are built using the user-friendly Facebook Ads Manager. To build ads, click the “Create” button on your account dashboard, then choose your ad format, select your audience, edit ad settings, and create ad copy and images. Get step-by-step instructions on how to create a Facebook ad.
When carefully crafted and expertly targeted, Facebook ads can capture latent user interest that both increases brand awareness and generates sales. It’s important to note, however, that it may take more time to convert Facebook leads to customers as they are not actively seeking your product or service.
How Google Ads Work
Google is primarily known as a search engine that gives businesses the ability to advertise on its network with pay-per-click ads. Google Ads appear at the top of search results pages in the same format as organic search results; they appear based on the keywords searched by the user and how those keywords align with ad content. To create a Google Ad, advertisers must sign up for a Google Ads account, and then add text-only ad copy and keyword targeting information.
Audience intent is what sets Google Ads apart from Facebook Ads. On Google, users are actively searching for a specific product or service, or the answer to a specific question. If you can provide the exact information they’re looking for, they are more likely to purchase your product or service or engage with your brand. Unlike Facebook Ads, Google Ads are largely triggered by keywords and search terms.
Ads are built in the Google Ad Manager interface, which is generally regarded as not very easy to use. Still, advertisers can quickly build a text-based ad by creating Campaigns, Ad Sets, and individual Ads with a headline and description. Get step-by-step details on how to advertise on Google.
Businesses that boast uncomplicated products or services with clear use cases benefit most from Google Ads; it is easy to capture keywords in search and encourage users to click and buy using simple, actionable language. More nuanced campaigns—such as those for brand awareness, multistep engagement, or complicated products—will likely not fare as well on Google.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: When to Use Each
Facebook Ads and Google Ads are good for different business objectives. It’s generally best to use Facebook Ads to build brand awareness of products or services that people will likely want, but do not necessarily need, such as a new high-tech espresso machine. Google Ads, however, are best for increasing sales of products or services that people need and actively search for, such as an electrician.
When to Use Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are best for businesses seeking to increase awareness of their products or brands—especially among audiences that may not have heard of them before. With extensive audience targeting options, Facebook allows advertisers to quickly and concisely introduce themselves to their target audience via text, image, and compelling video ads.
When to Use Google Ads
Google Ads are best for businesses with a product or service that users know they need and are actively searching for. These ads primarily target users in the buying phase, so ad copy that is concise, unambiguous, and highlights the clear advantages of a product/service will be the most successful.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Pricing & Features
On average, Facebook Ads cost almost a dollar less than Google Ads. The platform also offers comprehensive audience targeting options. This makes it a great choice for advertisers with limited budgets needing to build brand awareness. Google, however, is more effective at capturing leads who are ready to buy, as determined by their specific searches. While Google Ads may cost more, the return on investment (ROI) is likely more immediate and higher than Facebook Ads.
Facebook Ads Pricing & Features
Facebook Ads is generally considered a low-cost, pay-per-click platform with an average cost-per-click, or CPC, of $1.72. Its standout features include the user-friendly ad design interface, comprehensive targeting options, and a large number of ad types with several placement options.
Facebook Advertising Costs
Facebook Ads has an average CPC of $1.72. It has a required minimum daily ad spend equal to two clicks per day. So, if a business has a CPC of $1—based on factors like audience targeting and time of day an ad runs—then its minimum daily ad spend is $2. Facebook Ads are generally considered an affordable PPC platform, with average CPCs below Google Ads.
A lack of audience intent is a weakness of Facebook Ads. The platform’s users are not actively searching for your product or service like they are with Google Ads. Instead, users are generally on Facebook to connect with other users or browse entertaining content.
While most advertisers would consider the passive audience intent as a detriment to advertising ROI, they may find Facebook to be a great platform for introducing their brand or products to new audiences. Once the audience is aware of them, they can create effective email and social media marketing campaigns that introduce their products and services.
Facebook Ads overcomes its lack of audience intent by offering advertisers the ability to hone in on very specific audiences using a wealth of targeting parameters. This allows advertisers to closely align ad audiences with their brand’s target audience, thereby increasing the likelihood of engaging their ideal customer and landing a sale.
Facebook’s comprehensive targeting options include demographic information, interests, browsing behavior, location, political affiliations, life events, and dozens of other parameters, giving advertisers the power to pinpoint the exact people they want to see their ads. Google Ads does offer some basic demographic-based targeting, but primarily leans on keyword searches to display ads to the right audience.
Average Conversion Rate
The conversion rate indicates how often your ad successfully achieves the action you want users to take, whether it’s signing up for a newsletter or completing a purchase. The average conversion rate on Facebook ads is a high 9.21%, meaning that for every 100 clicks on an ad, just over nine users click on an ad and complete the desired conversion on the connected landing page.
Ad Placement Options
Ad placement is where ads are displayed on the Facebook platform. Facebook Ads offers a wide array of ad placement options; they can be placed in user feeds, in the right column, in stories, in the marketplace, and in streaming videos, as well as on Facebook Messenger, Instagram feeds and stories, and through the Facebook Audience Network.
Facebook currently has six different ad types, or ad formats, that advertisers can choose from. These include image, video, slideshow, carousel, collection, and instant experience (formerly canvas) ads. Unlike Google Ads, which are text-based ads that match organic search results, Facebook ads are designed to look and feel like organic social media content, giving advertisers the opportunity to get more creative and use visuals to encourage audience engagement.
Google Ads Pricing & Features
Google Ads has an overall average cost per click, or CPC, of $2.69. Google Ads does not have a minimum ad spend, though the average small business sets a daily budget of around $30 to $75 per day. Google Ads gives advertisers the ability to create their own ads that appear in the same format as organic search results based on keyword searches and basic audience targeting options.
Google Advertising Costs
Google Ads’ average CPC is $2.69. This varies greatly as CPCs can be as low as pennies and as high as $30. Advertisers decide how much they want to spend per day, as there is no minimum required ad spend. However, the higher the budget, the more clicks an ad can receive.
Google uniquely offers a Keyword Planner Tool that allows advertisers to research the cost per click of keywords. This is a helpful way to gauge both interest in keywords and possible ad spend.
Active audience intent is a key benefit of Google search ads. Whenever a user searches a keyword, related ads appear at the top of search results. This allows advertisers to capture users’ attention, often when they’re intending to buy a product or service. This increases the likelihood of a sale and, as a result, increases the return on advertising investment.
However, for users to search Google for your relevant keywords, they need to know that your type of product or service exists. If they don’t, it’s likely better to use the refined audience targeting options of Facebook to build brand awareness and capture new customers.
Google Ads are displayed primarily based on the alignment of keyword searches and keywords used in ads. However, there are basic targeting parameters available, including age, gender, location, and device type.
For much more advanced advertisers, Google Ads offers audience targeting options such as Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) and custom affinity audiences. These targeting options are typically used by marketing teams and PPC management companies, as they are generally beyond the scope of the average small business. Due to their complexity, they were not a primary consideration in this article.
Average Conversion Rate
The average conversion rate for Google Ads is 3.75%, according to research by WordStream. While this will vary from advertiser to advertiser, it is a lower average than Facebook Ads, which has an average conversion rate of 9.21%. However, it’s worth nothing that Google Ads has a much higher ad click-through rate than Facebooks Ads.
Ad Placement Options
Google Ads currently offers two main ad placement options: Google search results and display within the Google Display Network, which includes well-known company sites like Amazon, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and over 2 million others. For the most part, advertisers choose to display ads only within Google search as it gives them the most control over where their ads are displayed.
Google Ads currently has three main ad types, or ad formats. These include text-only ads, call-only ads, and shopping ads. Text-only ads appear on search results pages in a nearly identical format as organic search results. Call-only ads are similar to text-only ads, with the difference that when the ad is clicked, it automatically calls the advertiser’s phone number. This is ideal for businesses using calls to action such as “book an appointment now.”
Google shopping ads are the only ads in this group that use images, making them similar to many Facebook ad types. However, while Facebook ads are better used for product and brand awareness, Google shopping ads are designed to encourage direct purchases. It’s worth noting, however, that many online stores prefer Facebook ads for creating shipping advertisements; unlike Google, the platform allows advertisers to use multiple images or videos in a single ad.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Ease of Use
Facebook Ads and Google Ads each have different levels of usability. While Facebook is a more visual interface, Google Ads is a more data-focused interface. Most find it easy to use Facebook’s basic features, but struggle to learn its more advanced functionality. Google, on the other hand, is harder to learn at the beginning, but once a user acclimates, the entire platform is simple to manage.
Facebook Ads Ease of Use
Facebook Ads Manager has an intuitive and user-friendly interface that makes it easy to set up ads. However, Facebook has a lot more ad types, ad placements, and advanced audience targeting options than Google Ad Manager, so it can quickly become overwhelming. Also, Facebook is constantly adding and changing features, making it potentially difficult to keep up with.
The Facebook Ads Manager interface is organized by lists of ad campaigns, along with basic information pertaining to those campaigns, such as whether or not they are currently active, how much ad spend each campaign has used, its budget, and more. For more detailed information, click on the individual campaign. This will display campaign metrics such as CPC, the campaign click-through, conversion rates, and more.
Google Ads Ease of Use
The Google Ads interface appears more difficult to use at first as it is a text and data-heavy platform. Once users become familiar with Google Ads, however, it becomes easier to use than Facebook Ads; this is largely because it does not offer as many ad types, ad placements, or audience targeting options as Facebook Ads.
Google Ads Manager is similar to Facebook Ads Manager in that it is broken out by campaigns. Once you click the individual campaign, you will see additional data on those campaigns, including metrics like the click-through rate and ad quality scores. Unlike Facebook, Google provides individual keyword performance data.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Customer Service
Google Ads offers higher quality customer service than Facebook. While Facebook Ads heavily depends on its advertisers finding answers via its help center, Google Ads gives its advertisers phone support.
Facebook Ads Customer Service
Facebook offers advertisers customer support through a comprehensive help center, live chat, and email. However, online documentation strongly encourages users to reference the help center before they reach out directly. While this can be helpful, it also can be troublesome for those who need immediate assistance or those who have a unique problem they need resolved quickly.
Google Ads Customer Service
Google Ads offers advertisers customer support though a help center, as well as by phone at 844-245-2553, Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST. Offering support via phone gives users immediate assistance and provides a much faster way to resolve issues than via email or support tickets.
It’s worth noting that while Google’s phone support is generally considered very helpful, service can vary. Google has different customer service centers, and users frequently find that service is less helpful when they are directed to a foreign support center instead of a U.S.-based support center.
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: Customer Reviews
Facebook Ads and Google Ads both have a 4.2 out of 5-star rating from out of over 2,000 reviewers from G2 Crowd. Facebook Ads is considered by many to be an easy platform, whereas Google Ads is often regarded as a must-have for small business marketing.
Facebook Ads Customer Reviews
Facebook Ads is a highly regarded social PPC platform with a 4.2 out of 5-star rating on G2 Crowd. Positive reviewers frequently comment that they like how the advertising interface is user-friendly and that it allows them to also advertise on Instagram. On the other hand, negative reviews note that the platform can be clunky, expensive, and difficult to use when advertisers take advantage of its more complex features.
Google Ads Customer Reviews
Google Ads is the leading search PPC platform with a high 4.2 out of 5-star rating on G2 Crowd. Google advertisers frequently note that they like how much ad performance data the platform gives them. They also comment on how easy it is to create a campaign, although the platform does come with a steep learning curve for beginners.
How We Evaluated Facebook Ads & Google Ads
It can be difficult to know which advertising is right for your business, but trying each one can be time-consuming and costly. To help you determine which is the best for your business, we evaluated and compared each platform based on cost, audience intent, targeting options, ad types, ad placement options, and ease of use.
The criteria we used to evaluate Facebook Ads and Google Ads include:
- Cost: While costs vary greatly based on a number of factors, we considered the average cost-per-click for each platform, as well as factors that affect cost, including minimum ad spend, ad types, and ad quality.
- Audience intent: In our review of both ad platforms, we looked at why users would be clicking on an ad and how that affects ROI for advertisers.
- Audience targeting: Ad targeting is how you define your audience based on criteria like demographics, interests, and platform engagement. We considered targeting options for both Facebook and Google Ads to determine the benefits of each.
- Ad placement options: Ad placement is where ads will display within social networks or search results pages. Having control over this is key, so we considered it heavily in our review.
- Ad types: Facebook and Google both have different ad types, or formats, that allow users to input combinations of text, images, and video. We looked at the different ad offerings of both platforms to determine use cases for each.
- Ease of use: We considered how easy it is to create and manage ads on both Facebook and Google.
- Customer service: Online advertising is not always easy, and advertising platforms are frequently difficult to manage. That’s why we dug into customer support options for both platforms.
- User reviews: User reviews rounded out our article; these shed line on the pros and cons of each platform based on advertisers’ actual experience.
Based on the above criteria, we recommend Google Ads for businesses with the goal of increasing the sales of their products or services. Facebook Ads is recommended for businesses looking to increase brand awareness and for introducing new products and services to a fresh audience.
For example, an airport transfer service company seeking passengers would likely see significant ROI if they launched a Google Ad advertising transportation options for travelers, whereas a new high-tech travel bag company might be more successful advertising their product on Facebook to a young professional audience making more than $100,000 a year.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which costs more: Google Ads or Facebook Ads?
Is Google Ads better than Facebook Ads?
Google Ads is better than Facebook Ads for certain business types and marketing goals. For example, businesses in the service industry or those with need-based products typically find Google Ads to be a better option than Facebook Ads. Learn more in our PPC ultimate guide.
Are Google Ads effective?
Google Ads provide businesses with an effective way of reaching customers through search. The effectiveness of ads will vary as it depends greatly on the campaign strategy, ad content, and targeting. Learn how to create and launch effective Google Ads.
Are Google Ads worth it?
Google Ads are worth it for many businesses as it is generally considered an affordable and effective form of advertising. This is because advertisers only pay when a user interacts with their ad. This makes Google Ads worth it, even for those with higher than average CPCs.
Bottom Line: Facebook Ads vs Google Ads
Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both pay-per-click advertising platforms where advertisers pay per each click their ad receives. While similar, Facebook Ads is a paid social ad platform and Google Ads is a paid ad search platform. Each offers businesses an opportunity to increase brand awareness and grow sales, but the final ROI depends on your company’s targeting, ad spend, and creative ad elements.
Many businesses struggle to create ad campaigns that achieve their goals, leading to wasted time and ad spend. If you’re concerned about lost ad budget, consider outsourcing to a PPC management company, such as Hibu. Their expert team will manage your PPC campaigns while working to achieve a higher ROI. Get professional PPC management today.