Since the dawn of digital marketing, it’s been said that without loss there will be no gain. Google ads formerly known as Google AdWords and Facebook ads are the two biggest advertising platforms in the world today.
When it’s time to spend your advertising dollars, it is common to wonder which is the better platform between Google ads and Facebook ads. And not just better, in general:
- Which is better for your specific business needs.
- Which is better for your specific budget
- Which is better for you to start with.
Because we manage over 500k dollars in annual ad spend across both platforms. For our small business clients, we get asked these questions a lot.
In this article, once and for all, we’re gonna show you and explain to you whether Google Ads or Facebook Ads is the right platform for you and your business.
If you’re new to either platform it can be a daunting task to even navigate them and become an expert at both.
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 budget too thin. The good news is that whether you’re an expert or just getting started, this article will help you make an extremely easy decision.
Forex Giants is a digital agency helping small businesses grow with a competitive edge through digital marketing.
Before we begin, go get you a cup of tea or coffee, this might take a while for you read it all. After reading the whole article you will have a competitive edge in your digital marketing efforts.
Alright, let’s get started!
To help us out, I first compared Google Ads and Facebook Ads in the following five categories:
- Audience size
- Audience intent
- Ad costs placement
- Targeting options
- And ease scaling
Then, based on what we find, at the end of the article, you will be able to choose the best platform for your business. So, you definitely want to read it until the end. Are you ready for Godzilla vs King Kong?
If so, let’s dive in!
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Starting with our first category: Audience Size
The question we want to answer here is that Facebook or Google has a bigger audience for you to advertise to.
We know they’re both giants but, which one is the bigger giant?
Starting with Google Ads, over 5.8 billion searches happen every single day. With the average person conducting between three to four searches every single day. To put it in perspective, that’s the equivalent of sixty per cent of the world searching on google once per day and not only that, Google controls 92.42% of the search engine market worldwide.
If there’s a search engine you want to be on its Google.
We can help you get on the first places of Google search results.
So, how does Facebook compared in terms of size?
Let’s take look facebook recently reported over 1.7 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 have now, the winner of our first category: Audience Size, is a tie!
Why? Let me explain:
Quick math tells us that even though Google has 5.8 billion searches a day if we divide that number by the number of average searches per day, three to four, we get an average daily active user base on google of between 1.4 billion, and 1.9 billion searches every single day.
Meaning that both, Google Ads and Facebook ads, have roughly the same amount of daily users. It’s only a tie when you leave out the fact that Facebook owns Instagram, and with the click of a button, you can advertise to both platforms using the same exact 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’s what you call a dynamic duo. With the inclusion of Instagram, Facebook is the clear winner of category one, audience size.
Now let’s look at our second category buying intent or audience intent.
Now let’s look at our second category: Audience Intent or Buying Intent
The question we want to answer in this category is that users on Google and Facebook are actually ready to buy what you’re advertising. Let’s start by looking at Google.
When someone searches on Google, they’re likely looking for an answer to their question or solution to their problem. This is called search intent.
The major key here is that users on google are actively looking or in the market for a solution, like right now, today.
They’re ready to buy, so how does Facebook compare to that?
With Facebook being a social network platform, users instinctively go there to engage with other users or businesses, and their content historically users on Facebook do not log into Facebook to seek solutions. Though the recent surge of pages that cater to specific key points such as weight loss with tips and tricks are becoming increasingly popular.
Therefore, on Facebook, as a more of a pattern interrupt while users are scrolling through their news feed and watching stories. Therefore, users may not need or be actively searching for what you are advertising to them at that moment.
Think about most things that you want to purchase online. Or think about a time when you needed a plumber or an electrician. There’s a very small chance, if any, that you went to Facebook to find one. And if you did, it was likely only to ask your friends and your peers for a recommendation.
So, for category 2, buying intent, Google is the winner. As users search for what they need at the moment. Giving your business a great opportunity to fill the gap between them needing a solution and then finding a solution.
Things are heating up now, in our head-to-head Analysis, here was Facebook winning the first round and Google winning the second round.
Let’s move on to category three: Ad Cost
In previous articles like our article on Digital Marketing for e-shops, we went over what kind of keyword and audience profiling can you use in your digital marketing strategy.
They’re likely looking for an answer at that moment. Think about most things in today’s article. I want to focus on the cost to get a user on Facebook and Google to take any 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 it Facebook or Google 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. Meaning, it costs advertisers 2.69 USD on average, every time someone clicks their ad.
Keep in mind that it’s just an average across all industries. Some industries such as consumer, services, and legal, your higher average per click is closer to six USD per click.
Here’s a full list of the average cost per clicks per industry on google:
|Google Ads Pricing|
|Industry||Average CPC (Search Network)||Average CPC (Display Network)|
|Dating and Personals||$2.78||$1.49|
|Finance and Insurance||$3.44||$0.86|
|Health and Medical||$2.62||$0.63|
|Travel and Hospitality||$1.53||$0.44|
So, how does facebook’s cost per click compare?
Facebook’s advertising costs vary per industries. Just like Google though, the average CPC across all industries on Facebook is 1.72 USD. This is about 36 cheaper than the average CPC/cost per click on Google. With Facebook, you also don’t see such a large fluctuation in cost per industry.
On the high end, like you do with Google, but you do see it on the low end which is a good thing for advertisers. Even though the average CPC across all industries on Facebook is a dollar and seventy-two cents. There are a few industries that see a very cheap cost per clicks. Such as the retail industry at 63 cents, the travelling hospitality industry at 70 cents, in the apparel industry at a whopping 40 cent cost per click, on average.
When someone searches on Google they’re likely looking for an answer at that moment. Think about most things.
Let’s focus on the cost to get a user on Facebook and Google to take any action on your ads by looking at the average. Here’s a full breakdown of average CPCs on Facebook:
|Employment and Job Training||$2.72|
|Finance and Insurance||$3.77|
|Travel and Hospitality||$0.63|
Okay, I think we have a clear winner here. In terms of category 3, Ad Cost Facebook takes the win here by a landslide.
All right, let’s move on to category 4: Ad Types.
The question we want to answer here, between Google versus Facebook is: Which platform allows better creatives like ad copy, photos and video?
When advertising on Google Search Network, you don’t get that much room to be creative. For example, take a look at this google ad:
Google gives you the following character limits with search ads:
- Max length for your headlines 30 characters
- Max length for your descriptions 90 characters
- Maximum for your path 15 characters each
And with google ads, you’re also limited to just text. The use of videos or pictures within search ads is currently not 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 texts that are not on the photo. In addition, Google also owns YouTube, the second-largest search engine.
But we won’t include youtube in this study, due to it being a completely different beast worthy of his own article.
Okay, with all that being said, let’s see how Facebook compares:
On Facebook you have multiple ad formats to choose from, like:
- Lead forms
- Event Responses
There are clearly much more!
In addition, Facebook grants you the following character limits:
- On most ad formats primary text 125 characters
- Headline 25 characters
- Description of 30 characters
When you think about it, 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?
This might be unexpected, but I’m gonna have to rule this category a TIE!
You see, even though Google Search Network Ads limits you to only text ads, that is perfectly fine for their platform. Their platform is strictly text-based the ads fit right in.
In fact, the lack of options might be 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 to test.
Before we move into our last category, let’s check the score:
Facebook has won in two categories:
- Audience Size and Ad Cost
- Google has won in one category:
Buyers Intent and both platforms are tied for Ad Types. Which makes the score 2-1-1 in Facebook’s favorite so far.
Do you think google can make a comeback and clinch the last category Ease of Scaling to tie the game and avoid upset?
Let me know in the comments below!
First, what is my goal, brand awareness or sales?
- If brand awareness, Facebook ads is the best choice.
- If sales or better conversion rates, both Facebook ads and Google ads may prove profitable for you.
Two, do potential customers search on google for my products or services?
- If yes, Google ads may lead you to a quicker sale. Because users are ready to buy.
- If not, Facebook ads are your best choice.
Three, is my target audience B2B or B2C?
Generally, both B2B and B2C companies can use google ads and see success.
Generally, B2B companies see a higher success on Google Ads than Facebook Ads as B2C companies see a higher success on Facebook ads.
Four, what stage of a buyer’s journey, am I targeting?
Facebook Ads tend to be better to reach the top of the funnel audiences and google ads tends to be better to reach the bottom of the funnel audiences.
Lastly, ask yourself: Do I have the ability to create or outsource graphic design and video content for my ads?
If yes, Facebook Ads can work for you. Great graphics and video content are non-negotiable on Facebook ads.
If not, Google Ads will likely be better for you as you can stick to simple text.
We’re down to our last category 5: Ease of Scaling
Now, before we compare, let’s define what scaling actually means:
What is Ads Budget Scaling?
The definition of scaling is to put more money behind your ads to drive more results. Advertisers typically scale when they start to see profitability and want to increase their revenue while maintaining profitability.
Thus, the question we want to answer here:
Is whether Google Ads or Facebook ads easier to scale once you’ve found profitability?
Keeping with tradition, we will start with Google Ads first.
Every single time you make a significant change in your Google Ads, it resets that learning phase. Basically the period of time where google adjusts your new change and learn the best way to optimize your campaign.
Typically, during the learning phase, your campaign’s performance is less stable and likely worse than before. And by far the easiest way to reset your learning phase is:
- Increase your budget
- Add keywords
- Change your bid strategy
Therefore it is recommended not to dramatically increase your budget on google by more than 10% to 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 your performance.
Therefore, it is also recommended on Facebook to not make very large increases in your campaign budget and to scale between 10% to 20% at a time.
With that said, on round five, Ease of Scaling ends in a TIE!
Here’s a breakdown of the final scorecard:
Facebook won in:
Category 1 and 3: Audience Size and Ad Cost
Google won in:
Category 2: Buying Intent
Facebook and Google tied for categories four and five: Ad Types and Ease of Scaling
Bringing our final score to one-two with Facebook barely skating by as the winner.
So, in this epic review, 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. But to help you decide which one is best for you and your business, ask yourself the following five questions:
- How Much Does Google Ads Cost? | 2020 Google Ads Pricing
- Average cost-per-click (Avg. CPC): Definition
- How Much Does Facebook Advertising Cost?
- Understanding Facebook Ads Cost – 2018 (& 2019) Benchmarks!
There you have it, a complete breakdown of Google Ads versus Facebook Ads. If you found value in any of this information, go ahead and share this article for me and if you don’t want to miss a value pack of articles, like this one, that will help you grow your business online, subscribe to our newsletter today.
I’m Jesus Guzman, SEO and Digital marketing expert in Forex Giants.
Until the next article!