Google AdWords vs Facebook Ads

When people mention online advertising, they are most likely referring to either Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, the two most popular online advertising spaces. If you’re new to online advertising, you might have heard that one is better over the other. The truth is, the two online advertising spaces actually serve different purposes. Defining your audience and your goals will help you decide whether to advertise on Google AdWords or Facebook ads, or both together.


The more you use Google and its related services, such as Google Home or Gmail, the more Google will learn about you. In the same way, the more you post and interact with friends on Facebook, the more Facebook will learn about you. This becomes valuable information that Google and Facebook provides to businesses, in order for businesses to narrow down and reach their target audience within the Google and Facebook advertising platforms.

As a business, the more you understand your audience and narrow down your audience to people who will actually become customers, the less you would waste in advertising to those who will never give you business.  Knowing basic information about who to target, such as gender, age, location, and device, is better than going at the general public completely blind. What’s better is if you can dive deeper in getting to those who would be interested in you within the general demographics, and getting to those who might not be interested right now, but may find you relevant eventually.

Having a properly defined audience is especially important if you have a very niche business which can’t be defined by basic demographics like gender or age group. For example, you would more likely be able to sell wedding services to someone who’s in a relationship or engaged, than to someone who already got married or is single. To help you choose the marketing audience who actually care about wedding services, you would want to spend your marketing efforts on those who are in a relationship or engaged and looking for wedding services.

There’s two main online advertising strategies: lead generation and brand awareness.
Marketing Funnel

The first strategy is lead generation. If you are looking to generate leads quickly, you would want to show your ad to people with an immediate intent to purchase. It is much easier to sell to someone who is looking for you to solve their problem, than to sell to someone who doesn’t have a problem that you can solve. The difference between the two situations is the intent to purchase. This means that if you are looking to convert sales quickly, the best way to do it is to target a smaller number of people with an intent to purchase.

If you’re a new business or want to build trust, then you may choose to promote using the brand awareness strategy. The more you build trust and become top of mind, the more likely your target audience will remember and choose you when they want what you have. With brand awareness, you can introduce your business to a lot more people, but these people won’t be giving you business anytime soon, since a lot of these people don’t have the intent to purchase at the time they see your ad.

Here’s an example of when you would use each strategy: When online home meal delivery service were first introduced, nobody know it existed and nobody knew what it was. So, they started with the brand awareness strategy to explain their concept to people who they thought might be interested in their service, since nobody would be doing a Google search of their services if they didn’t even know it existed. As their audience became more interested in home meal delivery services by learning more about it through the brand awareness ads, they would convert them into sales with the lead generation strategy.

Google AdWords

Because of this, Google has basic information about you, such as gender, age group, location, the devices you use, and even your general interests based on your behaviour while you are using Google products. When searching for an answer, Google is your friend. So, if you are looking to generate leads quickly, then there’s no better advertising space than Google AdWords since Google can directly connect you with people who have intent to purchase. By connecting you to sales more quickly, you will get a high return-on-investment (ROI) for your marketing dollars. Google advertisers generally generate $2 for every $1 spent, which is an amazing ROI.

However, Google isn’t the preferred social platform for most, so they might not know as much information as Facebook about who you’re marketing to. Because of this, you might get clicks into your ad from those who actually aren’t real leads.

Going back to the wedding services example, Google might show your ad to a competitor who’s searching for the keyword “Wedding services” for their own competition analysis, instead of an actual potential customer who’s getting married.

Facebook Ads

Because Facebook is a social platform, it probably know even more about you than Google, including information about your job history, your stage in life, and even what might be on your mind. With all of this information, Facebook provides lot of flexibilty for you to narrow down your audience so that you can reach the right people more accurately. Facebook also has vast reach since is the most used social platform, and has over 2 billion monthly active users. Compared to other advertising channels, Facebook has a very low cost per thousand impressions (CPM). Along with Facebook’s vast knowledge about its users, Facebook ads is a good choice for brand awareness.

On the other hand, since it is a social platform and not a search engine, you won’t be able to reach those who are actively searching for you with an intent to purchase and it not as effective for lead generation. It would be hard to convince someone to give you business when they don’t have an existing problem you can solve or is in the middle of doing something else.

In our wedding services example, although you might not get a sale from someone in a relationship or engaged as quickly on Facebook, you are more likely to reach the right pool of people who might eventually give you business.

The Verdict

Adwords vs Facebook Comparison Chart

When it comes to choose which between Google AdWords or Facebook Ads, the answer may be different for different businesses. Deciding on which marketing space is best for you business depends on your business’ target audience and your marketing goals.  Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are actually good at different things. Facebook ads is very cost effective for brand awareness, whereas Google AdWords is very cost effective for lead generation. As most businesses need to promote both brand awareness and lead generation in concert, the most effective online advertising will probably involve a combination of both.