How to Spend Effectively with Google Ads vs Facebook Ads in 2024


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Most businesses lament that they don’t have an unlimited ad budget, so they need to make the most of the strategies they have at their fingertips. For many marketers, the debate boils down to paid search or paid social media advertising. Should you use Google Ads vs Facebook ads to get your brand out there and start making more sales? 

While both can be helpful, you may want to focus on one technique first to figure out where most traffic is coming from. Consider what your goals are before deciding which advertising platform is the right fit. 

Ready to find out where you should invest your budget? 

Let’s take a closer look!

Google Ads vs Facebook ads is a hot debate for most marketers. Here’s the real differences between running a Google ad campaign and a Facebook ad campaign:

Google Ads are a form of paid search that requires knowledge of relevant keywords and search intent. It also helps you to close more sales for a great short-term return on investment but can be more expensive. Google has an unlimited supply of potential customers. 

Facebook ads are a form of paid social media advertising that requires you to know who your target audience is inside and out. It’s great for a long-term strategy of building brand awareness and is a little less expensive in the short term. Most Americans spend at least a half-hour a day on the platform. 

What are Google Ads?

Formerly known as Google Adwords, Google Ads are a way to prioritize your webpage in the SERPs on the largest search engine in the world. Any Google search ads that you come across operate under a structure known as pay-per-click. In other words, you only pay when someone clicks on your Google ad. 

The trick to successful Google advertising is knowing what people are looking for when it comes to a business like yours. Knowing your keywords and search terms is essential, and making good use of Google Keyword Planner can help. I love using this free tool to get ideas for a new ad campaign. 

The only thing you’ll sacrifice to use it is a bit of your time, and your search ads will be better for it. 

The exact price you will pay for your Google search ad will depend on several factors: 

What are Facebook Ads?

When you run an ad with the Google Display Network, you are tapping into the power and popularity of the search engine. Facebook ads and social media marketing are a little different in terms of the goals possible with advertising. Instead of targeting keywords and search queries, Facebook ads are more focused on your target audience. 

How does it work? 

Your ad campaign is going to be based on who you want to market to rather than what they might look for online.

If you don’t know your customer avatar or ideal persona, then you may have a hard time here. The goal of Facebook ads is to boost brand awareness that can lead people to actively seek you out when they need a business or product like yours. 

Ads can be based on either a cost per click or a cost per mille (per 1,000 views). 

Be sure to check out our podcast with Monica Louie to learn more about the secrets behind Facebook ads. You can also see our full list of Facebook marketing tools here. 

With some of the basics of these two forms of advertising out of the way, it’s time to take a closer look at which one you might want to include in your next marketing budget. 

Which Target Audience Will You Find?

Do you know who your target audience is? If you aren’t sure who your ideal buyer is, then you may struggle with a Google ad campaign. While you can target some demographics, Google advertising focuses more on the search intent and keywords when deciding who should see your ad. 

On the other hand, Facebook allows you to target the person who most closely aligns with your target audience. You can filter by age, gender, location, interests, and more to serve up your ad to the exact person who is likely to click and learn more about your product or service. 

It’s also important to think about the types of people who use both platforms. Google reaches billions of people across all demographics and is the most widely used website. On the other hand, Facebook is used by 3 billion monthly users, most of whom are between the ages of 25 and 34. 

How Does Reach Compare?

Your target audience may not be the only thing to consider when starting your ad campaigns. The good news is that both Google Ads and Facebook ads work similarly. Google has 40,000 search queries each minute. This volume is impressive and gives you a nearly limitless supply of people who may be looking for a business like yours. 

As we saw in the last section, Facebook has about 3 billion monthly active users, and most Americans peruse the social media giant for about 30 minutes a day. 

Deciding on the advertising platform that’s right for you could mean looking at overall reach.

If you want to capitalize on the largest possible section of the population, Google is the right way to go. For those who want a more targeted audience and don’t mind the small step down in popularity, a Facebook ad could be a smart move.

What Ad Formats Can You Run? 

Ad formats permitted by both platforms can influence which one you want to use. Google features two primary formats you can utilize: text-based ads and image-based ads on Google Display Network. That being said, there are some other, less common choices, such as shopping ads, that might work for you. 

Facebook advertising is limited only by your creativity. You can create a text-only ad format, but you can also utilize pictures, carousels, and even video ads.

If an engaging ad that really resonates with your audience is what you’re after, then Facebook’s advertising platforms make this a winning option.

Choosing Google Ads vs Facebook Ads

Selecting the right advertising platforms for your search ads is crucial to long-term success and getting a solid return on investment. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about a Google Ad vs a Facebook ad. 

The first and most obvious decision you need to make is whether you want to score a higher position in the search engine results. Google Display ads are going to give you one of the top positions here if you have an ad that meets their Quality Score and you have a competitive PPC bid. 

This is great for people who are already searching for items and services like the ones you sell. It’s a great way to drive sales quickly, but you’ll only see short-term results. People may not be able to find your website again if they aren’t looking for a branded search (more on this in a second). 

Paid social media advertising is a long-term strategy. It familiarizes people with your brand which may mean that you make more money later on down the road. You may spend money upfront now to collect bigger dividends months or even years from now. 

Make More Sales or Gain Brand Recognition?

Google is the place people turn to when they are ready to make a purchase. They want to know what products and services alleviate their pain points. As a result, they might be more likely to click on a Google search ad that seems particularly relevant to their struggle. 

On the other hand, the Google search results might not be the end-all and be-all of your ad campaign. An equally powerful goal is simply brand recognition. You want to put yourself in front of people who may one day need your service or product. 

When they are ready to buy, they will think of you first. 

This is where a Facebook ad can come into the picture. You put yourself out there for people and they might then look for you under a branded search later on. If you get a sale now, that’s just the icing on the cake. 

Big Budget or Scrappy Startup?

Your ad budget should be top of mind when deciding which campaign to run. The key question to ask yourself right now is this: Do you want to make more sales right now at a higher cost or more sales long-term with a lower cost right now? 

Google Ads tend to require a much higher ad budget than paid social media ads. The average CPC for a Google ad is $2.69 but some industries may see even higher rates. For example, legal businesses could see a CPC that tops out around $6 to $7 per click. 

Learn more about Google Ads costs in our article here. 

A Facebook ad isn’t going to be nearly as expensive. In contrast, the average CPC on Facebook is just $0.97.

How to Use Google Ads and Facebook Ads Together

A lot of marketing professionals think that Google and Facebook advertising are two separate ball games, but that isn’t the case. Here are a few ways you can use them together to increase sales.

Retargeting Customers After Brand Awareness

Facebook advertising is great for helping people to discover your brand for the first time. They are what is known as a “cold audience.” This means that they don’t necessarily know that they want or need your services — yet.

But Facebook ads work to plant a seed in their mind that they may one day cash in on. 

Once you start building brand awareness, you can retarget those customers when they look for you in search engine results. The best thing to do is to create Google ads for your brand that match the text utilized in your Facebook ads. This makes it much easier for a potential customer to find you. 

You can also link both advertising platforms together to show both types of ads to the same person. If they saw your Facebook ad once, then they might be shown shopping ads on Google second (or vice versa). 

Find Your Target Audience Before Facebook Ads

You might not know who your target audience is when you start to use an advertising platform of any kind. Most businesses have some idea of who would be interested in their offering, but that isn’t always the case. If you aren’t sure, Google Ads help you to work quickly and reach a short-term return on investment while offering lots of great data about who is buying. 

Then, you can take the data you get from your Google ads and parlay it into the audience you will market to on Facebook ads.

With some of these basics in mind, you can start to leverage Facebook more fully with their lookalike audiences (up next). 

Lookalike Audiences on Facebook Ads

Once you know who your target audience is, you can start to expand to new customers with Facebook’s “lookalike audiences.” They take the core demographic data of your existing customer base and match your brand with similar audiences who might also be interested. 

The new lookalike audience may have a different demographic, but they have the same interests and purchase the same types of products. 

Then, you can take the data from this new lookalike audience and include it in your Google search ads. It could open the doors for new opportunities with people you never thought would be interested in a service or product like yours. 

Final Thoughts: Google Ads vs Facebook Ads

Whether you decide to run Google Ads or Facebook ads, there are advantages for your brand, return on investment, and long-term brand recognition. Weigh some of the factors included here to see which one makes the most sense for you or if you should use a combination of both approaches.

Both can be quite powerful for getting your product or service out there with a new audience! 


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