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Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads (An Ultimate Comparison)

There is a popular misconception among advertisers concerning Google AdWords and Facebook Ads. The belief is that these two platforms are in direct competition with each other. This notion fueled further by a perceived pre-existing rivalry between the two Tech giants, has created a false dichotomy in the mind of users. Businesses now have a difficult decision to make between Facebook Ad and Google AdWords? The real question should be, why not both?

The Differences Between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads.

In order to have an accurate picture of these two Ad platforms, a knowledge of their fundamental difference is necessary.  What makes Google AdWords different from Facebook Ads? You are about to find out.

Google AdWords; How Paid Search Really works.

The term “paid search” really refers to Pay Per Click advertising platform, in which Google AdWords is the most widely used.  In fact, it is so large that people often forget the existence of other PPC advertising platforms such as Yahoo Bing Network (Yes, that’s a thing). So, how does it work?

Paid search functions through the bidding of keywords (specific words and phrases added in queries entered into search engines) and use of text-based advertisements. Basically, Advertisers who won the bid on a particular keyword have their Ads displayed together with search results for the queries containing such keyword. Are you confused, don’t be. Let me explain with an illustration.

Imagine that XYZ Pharmaceuticals won the bid on the keyword “mesothelioma”. This means that every time you include the keyword “mesothelioma in your query (e.g. What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?), the chances of seeing an XYZ Pharmaceutical Ad is quite high. Consequently, every time a user clicks on that particular ad, the Pharmaceutical company is charged a specific amount of money. That’s basically what you need to know about paid search, for now. Let’s talk about Facebook Ads’ “paid social”, shall we?

Facebook Ads: A Primary Example of Paid Social.

Paid social, as the name implies, is simply the practice of advertising on social networking sites. Facebook, having the highest number of monthly active users (almost two billion MAUs), has become a potential source of increased visibility and sales for business owners.

Let me be clear at this point, the only mutual feature shared by Facebook and AdWords is the use of the internet for advertisement of businesses and products. Otherwise, they are completely different. Unlike AdWords, Facebook helps its users find new business based on their online interests and behavior.

Now that you know the basics, let’s delve deeper. Let’s try to understand the merits of using each of these ad platforms, and how to effectively use them as a digital marketing tool.

Why You Should Use Google AdWords.

google adwords

It is common knowledge that Google is the most popular search engine in the world, handling more than 3.5 billion search queries per day. As a result of this huge potential audience, the ads platform is considered the default leader in online advertising. It’s no wonder that AdWords is used synonymously with “paid search”.

Here is the thing, Google’s advertising platform can be broken down into two basic networks. We have the;


  • The Search Network: This refers to the whole of Google as a search engine. It’s at this network that business owners target potential customers by bidding for millions of keywords.
  • The Display Network: This is particularly useful for brand awareness, and other non-conversion driven objectives.  It includes visual ads (e.g. banners) and covers about 98% of the World Wide Web.

So, if you have been following closely so far, then you’ll realize that the first advantage of using Google as an advertising platform is kind of obvious.

Google Has an Immense Reach.

There is no single search engine in the world whose potential audience is as vast (with potential source spread across the planet) as Google. That’s a potential customer of 1.2 trillion per year, combined with an increasingly accurate result, enhanced by artificial intelligence, and machine learning technology. Using Google AdWords should be a no-brainer.

Bids Are Won Based On Quality and Relevance of Ads

I know what comes to mind when you hear the word “bid”. You automatically assume that it favors the companies with large advertising pockets. This cannot be farther from the truth.

AdWords’ primary interest is the relevance of an ad. Basically, if an ad is relevant to an individual, such individual would have a great user experience. Consequently, he or she would continue using Google as his or her default search engine.

Yes, the price of each keyword vary, some are more expensive than others. However, advertisers win bids because they have relevant, optimized, and high-quality ads, not because they offered the highest amount of money.

AdWords Offer a Wide Range of Ad Formats

Unlike back in the year 2000 when Google first launched AdWords, various features are now available to advertisers in the creation of ads that would look more alluring to potential customers. The essential advantage of these features is the degree of control and customization they offer advertisers. Example of such features are;

  • Ad extension
  • Sitelinks
  • Social proofing
  • Location targets
  • Shopping ads, etc.

You even get the option of using an ad format that’s tailored for your business.  For example, if you own a hotel, your ad can combine the traditional text with rich visual components, e.g. interactive map and high-resolution images.

At the end of the day, there is always an ad format that fits your need. Regardless of what you are selling, or to whom you are selling, there is a unique format for you.

Facebook Ads; Strengths and Advantages.

The first thing you need to understand about Facebook Ads is, it’s a newbie compared with Google AdWords. That said, the constant refinement of the ad platform by Facebook has made it a key part in the digital marketing strategies of most business owners. Here are some of the reasons you should use Facebook Ads.

Like Google AdWords, Facebook Has Immense Reach

With more than one- fifth of the world population being its monthly active users, there is no Social Networking Site that has quite as much audience as Facebook. We are not even counting the inactive accounts. Rather than bombard its users with ads they are not interested in, Facebook took an interesting approach.

It uses the things that people share, (i.e. personal interest, values, beliefs, and ideologies.) to create tailored ads for the target audience. This gives advertisers the opportunity to upload customer’s info from their own databases into Facebook, to find new customers with similar info.

This process is known as “look alike audiences”, is a great way for advertisers to increase their reach by targeting new audience with similar interest and consumer behavior as existing customers.

Exceptionally Visual Ads

Facebook ads are quite visual, yet blend effortlessly with users’ News Feed. This allows advertisers to take advantage of the persuasive qualities associated with compelling visual ads.

Like Google, Facebook is constantly evaluating how it can offer a better experience to both its advertisers and users. However, it has managed to maintain the selling point of its ad platform, the visual element.

Incredible Return on Investment

Apart from the impressive global reach and alluring visual ads offered by Facebook ads, the one other thing that amazes new advertiser is the potential return on investment.

Facebook is quite affordable for an ad platform with such a large potential impact. It gives advertisers the opportunity to stretch a limited budget, thereby increasing their return on investment. No wonder it’s considered the ideal choice for small businesses and companies with limited resources.

Google AdWords Vs Facebook Ads; Which Should You Pick?

Now, you are wondering which to pick between the two advertising platforms. On one hand, they are both capable of catering to any type of business, and on the other hand, they both function in different ways. The real question is, who says you have to choose?

You can harness the combined power of both paid search and paid social to enjoy the advantage of the individual platforms. You can develop a dual advertising strategy that’ll maximize your ROI, and help your business grow.

Facebook and Google AdWords should be used in concert, not in opposition.


Fatt Kay

A Computer Addict, Seasonal Web Developer, Born-To-Be Content Writer, Computer Scientist By Force, Social Media Jagaban and an all-in-all Internet Gangstar.

One Comment

  1. Nice comparison, i like how well you compared the two platforms, and i think the two will always complement each-other, and at the end of the day, it also depends on what you are advertising.

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