Google Ads vs Facebook Ads!
Since the dawn of digital marketing, it has been said that… without sacrifice, there will be no victory.
Only one is better. Only one can be chosen. Only. One. Survives.
Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, and Facebook Ads are the two biggest advertising platforms today.
So, when it is time to spend your advertising dollars, it is common to wonder which is the better platform between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.
And not just better in general…
- Which is better for your specific business?
- Which is better for your specific budget?
- Which is better for you to start with?
And because we manage over 50 million dollars in annual ad spend…
…across both platforms for our small business clients and are Facebook and Google partners, we get asked these questions a lot.
So today, once and for all, we are going to declare a victor and explain to you whether Google Ads or Facebook Ads is the right platform for YOU and YOUR BUSINESS.
If you are new to either platform, it can be a daunting task to even navigate the platforms and become an expert at both.
But if you are an expert already, you likely want to advertise everywhere but don’t have an unlimited budget and don’t want to spread your advertising dollars too thin.
The good news is that whether you are an expert or just getting started, this post will help you make an extremely easy decision in this debate.
To help us out, we first compared Google Ads and Facebook ads in the following 5 categories:
Then, based on what we find, at the end of the post, we crown the best platform for your business. So you definitely want to read until the end.
Are you ready for Godzilla vs King Kong?!?!
Let’s dive in, starting with our first category.
- So with the new inclusion of Instagram, Facebook ads is the clear winner when it comes to audience size and cost.
- On the other hand, Google ads is the winner in the category of buying intent.
- Facebook ads and Google ads tied for categories of ad types and ease of scaling.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which is the better platform for your business?
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Round 1: Audience Size
The question we want to answer here is if Facebook or Google has a bigger audience for you to advertise to!
We mean, we know they are both giants but which one is the bigger giant?
Starting with Google, over 5.8 billion searches happen on Google every day, with the average person conducting between three and four searches each day.
That’s the equivalent of more than 60% of the world’s population searching on Google once a day.
Not only that but Google controls 92.42% of the search engine market share worldwide so if there is a search engine you want to be on, it is Google.
Ok, how does Facebook compare in terms of size? Let’s take a look!
Facebook recently reported over 1.73 billion daily active users who on average spend 58 minutes per day on Facebook.
That’s almost an entire lunch break spent on Facebook each day.
So with what we know, the winner of our first category, audience size, is….. A TIE!
Quick math tells us that even though Google has 5.8 billion searches a day, if we divide that by the number of average searches, 3-4, we get an average daily active user base on Google of between 1.45 billion and 1.93 billion.
This means that both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have roughly the same amount of daily users.
BUT, there’s a plot twist!
It’s only a tie when you leave out that Facebook owns Instagram and you can with a click of a button advertise to both platforms using the same content.
You see Instagram has over 500 million daily users, averaging 53 minutes per day, and is the second-largest social media platform only behind Facebook.
Now, that is a dynamic duo!
So with the new inclusion of Instagram, Facebook is the clear winner of category 1 – Audience Size.
Let’s move on to the second category.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Round 2: Buying Intent
The question we want to answer in this category is if users on Google and Facebook are ready to buy what you are advertising.
Let’s start by looking at Google.
When someone searches on Google, they are likely looking for an answer to their question or a solution to their problem.
The major key here being that users on Google are actively looking or “in market” for a solution.
Right now. Today. They are ready to buy!
So how does Facebook compare?
With Facebook being one of the best social media platforms, users instinctively go there to engage with other users or businesses and their content.
Historically, users on Facebook do not log in to Facebook to seek solutions, though the recent surge of pages that cater to specific pain points such as weight loss with tips and tricks are becoming increasingly popular.
Therefore on Facebook, ads are more of a pattern interrupt while users are scrolling through their newsfeeds and watching stories.
Facebook users may not need or be actively searching for what you are advertising to them at the moment.
Think about most things that you wanted to purchase online. Or think about the time when you needed a plumber or an electrician.
There is a very small chance, if any, that you went to Facebook to find one.
So for category 2 – Buying Intent, Google is the victor as users search for what they need in the moment giving your business a great opportunity to fill the gap between them needing a solution and finding a solution.
Things are heating up in our head-to-head competition here with Facebook winning the first round and Google winning the second.
Let’s move on to category 3.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Round 3: Cost
In previous posts, like our post about what is CPM (Cost Per Mille), we went over the cost to reach your audience on Facebook and Google.
In today’s post, we want to focus on the cost to get a user on Facebook and Google to take action on your ads by looking at the average cost-per-click on each platform.
The question we want to answer in this category is if Facebook or Google is cheaper to advertise on.
As always, let’s start with Google.
With Google Ads, the average cost-per-click across all industries is $2.69. That means it costs advertisers $2.69 on average every time someone clicks on their ad.
Keep in mind that this is just an average across all industries, and some industries such as Consumer Services and Legal see a higher average closer to $6 per click.
Here is a full industry list of average cost-per-click per industry on Google:
|INDUSTRY||AVERAGE CPC (SEARCH)|
|Dating & Personals||$2.78|
|Finance & Insurance||$3.44|
|Health & Medical||$2.62|
|Travel & Hospitality||$1.53|
So how does Facebook cost-per-click compare?
Facebook advertising costs vary per industry like Google’s, though the average CPC across all industries on Facebook is $1.72.
This is about 36% cheaper than Google’s average CPC.
With Facebook, you also don’t see such a large fluctuation in cost per industry on the high-end like with Google, but you do see it on the low-end which is a good thing.
Even though the average CPC across all industries on Facebook is $1.72, there are a few industries that see very cheap cost-per-clicks such as the:
- retail industry at $0.63
- travel and hospitality industry at $0.7
- apparel industry at $0.4
Here’s a full breakdown of average CPCs on Facebook:
|Consumer Services||$3 .08|
|Employment & Job Training||$2.72|
|Finance & Insurance||$3.77|
|Travel & Hospitality||$0.63|
We think we have a clear winner here in terms of Category 3 – Cost… Facebook takes the win here by a landslide.
Let’s move on to category 4.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Round 4: Ad Types
The question we want to answer here between Google vs Facebook is which platform allows for better creative like ad copy, photos, and video.
When advertising on Google’s search network, you don’t get that much room to be creative.
Here’s an example of a Google ad here:
Google gives you the following character limits with Search Ads:
|AD FIELD||MAX LENGTH|
|Headline 1||30 characters|
|Headline 2||30 characters|
|Headline 3||30 characters|
|Description 1||90 characters|
|Description 2||90 characters|
|Path (2)||15 characters|
With Google search ads, you are also limited to just text as the use of videos or pictures within search ads is not currently available.
But Google does allow you to use ad extensions which allow you to add more text on your ads such as links, call-outs, and more.
Google also allows you to run display ads to apps and their display network. Display ads can be designed much like Facebook ads but are only photo based and cannot include headlines and supporting text that are not on the photo.
In addition, Google also owns YouTube, the second largest search engine, but we will not include YouTube in this study due to it being a completely different beast, worthy of its own post.
Let’s see how Facebook compares!
On Facebook, you have multiple ad formats to choose from:
- Lead forms
- Event Responses
In addition, Facebook grants you the following character limits on most ad formats:
- Primary text: 125 characters
- Headline: 25 characters
- Description: 30 characters
This gives you a huge selection of ad types to choose from to gain the attention of your target audience.
So which platform wins category 4 – Ad Types?
This might be unexpected but we will have to rule this category a tie.
You see, even though Google Search Ads limits you to only text ads, that is perfectly fine for their platform as their platform is strictly text based – the ads fit right in.
In fact, the lack of options might be a positive by making search ads easier to learn and optimize for.
Which for Facebook ads, the sheer volume of ad types allow you to be extremely creative but may also be a bit much to learn and test.
Before we move into our last category, let’s check the score:
- Facebook has won in 2 categories, Audience Size and Cost.
- Google has won in 1 category, Buyers Intent.
- And both platforms are tied for Ad Types.
- Which makes the score 2-1-1 in Facebook’s favor.
Do you think Google can make a comeback and clinch the last category, Ease of scaling, to tie the game and avoid an upset?
Ok, we are down to our last category.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Round 5: Ease of Scaling
Before we compare, let’s define what scaling actually means. The definition of scaling is to put more money behind your ads in order to drive more results.
Advertisers typically “scale” when they start to see profitability and want to increase their revenue while remaining profitable.
Thus the question we want to answer is whether Google ads or Facebook ads is easier to scale once you’ve found profitability .
Keeping with tradition, we will start with Google Ads first.
Every time you make a significant change in your Google Ads, it resets the learning phase.
The learning phase is the period of time where Google adjusts to your new change and learns the best way to optimize your campaign. Typically during this phase, your campaign’s performance is less stable and likely worse than before.
The easiest way to reset your learning phase is to increase your budget, add keywords, or change your bid strategy.
Therefore, it is recommended to not dramatically increase your budget on Google by more than 10-15% per day.
Let’s see how Facebook compares!
On Facebook, making major changes to your ads such as budget changes also resets your learning phase.
And just like Google, a reset to your learning phase can hinder performance.
Therefore, it is also recommended on Facebook to not make very large increases in your campaign’s budget and to scale between 10-20 % at a time.
With that said, category 5 – Ease of Scaling ends in a tie!
Here’s a breakdown of the final scorecard:
- Facebook won in categories 1 and 3: Audience Size and Cost
- Google won in category 2: Buying Intent
- Facebook and Google tied for categories 4 & 5: Ad Types and Ease of Scaling.
Bringing our final score 2-1-2 with Facebook barely skating by as the winner.
Google Ads Vs Facebook Ads: Which Platform Is the Best?
The true answer is that there isn’t a definitive answer.
Both have pros and cons but can be very similar in helping you grow your business as proven by our final scorecard.
5 Questions to Help You Choose
BUT to help you decide, which one is best for you and your business, ask yourself the following 5 questions:
1. What is my goal: brand Awareness or sales?
a. If you want to build brand awareness, Facebook ads is the best choice.
b. If sales, both Facebook ads and Google ads may prove profitable for you.
2. Do potential customers search on Google for my product or service?
a. If yes, Google ads may lead you to a quicker sale because users are ready to buy.
b. If not, Facebook ads are your best choice.
3. Is my target audience B2B or B2C?
a. Generally, both B2B and B2C companies can use Google ads and see success.
b. Generally, B2B companies see higher success on Google ads than Facebook, as B2C companies see higher success on Facebook ads.
4. What stage of a buyer’s journey am I targeting?
a. Facebook ads tend to be better to reach Top of the funnel audiences.
b. Google ads tend to be better to reach bottom of the funnel audiences.
5. Do I have the ability to create or outsource graphic design and video content for my ads?
a. If yes, Facebook ads can work for you. Great graphics and video content are non-negotiable on Facebook ads.
b. If not, Google ads will likely be better for you.
So, there you have it! A complete breakdown of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.
If you want to try using both of these advertising platforms but want to get surefire results, we got your back. Contact us today for a free consultation!