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Facebook Ads Versus Google Ads: The Business Owner’s Guide

Should I advertise on Google or Facebook?

It’s a question that business owners often ask themselves when they first begin exploring the world of digital marketing.

There’s a fundamental mistake in this question though, and that is in thinking that both platforms are in opposition to one another. In fact, both companies actually advertise on each other’s platforms!

It might be hard to believe, but a quick look at Google’s ad library on Facebook shows exactly what ads they’re running at this very moment. Don’t believe us? Click here to see for yourself.

A screenshot of an ad from Google promoting their Chromebook on Facebook

To make it easy to understand though, we’ll explore both advertising platforms and see how they differ from one another.

Google Ads

If there’s one thing you should know about Google Ads, it’s search intent!

What does this mean? Well, when people see your ads on Google it’s because they are actively searching for the same or similar product/service as your own. People are on a mission to find what they’re looking for one, and as you can probably imagine from your own experience, the first thing you do is “Google it”.

A Google Ads expert knows this and will design ads that best align with this search intent.

Google experiences roughly 99,000 searches every second. This means there are more than 5 billion searches a day! Amazing right? In fact, you can visualise the searches per second by clicking here. However, while this clearly shows the huge advertising potential of Google, it’s equally important not to get lost by targeting the wrong keywords.

Don’t assume that just using a generic keyword like “dentist” with a $100 budget for the month is going to drive growth in your business. The key to a successful Google Ads campaign is to identify what keywords people are searching for in order to find a solution that they’ll pay for.

You need to discover the pain points your customers are experiencing at the time of their search, as well as set an appropriate geographical area and use a mixture of “phrase match” or “modifiers” to help match the searches you think people are using… “Landscaper Brisbane Southside” or “garden fence installation” or “how do I get my lawn looking good again?”.

The closer your ads and landing pages match the intent of those searches, the better your campaign’s performance will be.

Facebook Ads

On the other side of the coin there is the social media giant that is Facebook.

With 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is unrivalled in the sheer size of its user base.

The real power of Facebook Ads though, lies in the level of granularity available in targeting Facebook users, more than just the number of users as a whole

People on Facebook share so many details of their lives with one another. They also look for and consume content based on their personal interests, beliefs and values. This offers business owners a unique opportunity, the ability to show tailored messages to specific audiences in a way that would have once been near impossible. Due to the amount of data Facebook has on its users, business owners can now get closer to their ideal customers than ever before.

Facebook also offers a visual experience that’s more visceral. While Google Search Ads are relatively dry and text-based, Facebook Ads are powerfully visual. The best types of ads on Facebook blend in effortlessly with the organic photos and videos in a user’s News Feed. This allows business owners to take advantage of the persuasive qualities of visual ads, but in a way that expresses the type of aspirational messaging that makes high-quality ads so compelling.

So, the question on everybody’s mind still remains… Which one should I use?

The Answer is Both

While it’s easier to think in terms of one or the other, a much better question is how can we use both platforms to compliment one another in our overall digital marketing strategy?

Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both incredibly effective and can work for nearly all types of businesses. Really, they should really be viewed as complementary to one another and not adversarial.

For instance, a holistic digital marketing campaign might involve driving traffic to a landing page using Google Search Ads, and then remarketing to those website visitors on Facebook. This offers huge potential to not only upsell to recent customers, but to also encourage people who left your site prematurely to return to it and complete the conversion objective

At the end of the day, paid search and paid social are two parts of a complete digital advertising strategy. Your messaging can and should stay consistent on both platforms and knowing the best practices when using each platform is what will drive your ROI and the growth of your business.