Facebook Ads vs Google Ads - Which Is Better?

It's a tough decision. When looking at Facebook Ads vs Google Ads both have their advantages and disadvantages. Whether your budget is limited to just a few dollars per day or you have unlimited amounts of cash on hand, choosing a platform for your ads can be one of the most high-stakes decisions you'll make as a marketing director or business owner.

Some believe Google Ads are top dog, while others say Facebook ads are king. There are even strategies out there that show you how to use both at the same time. Let's break down exactly what each platform is good for so you can determine which is right for you.

Google Ads

The key to nailing Google Ads is to think in terms of search. Practically speaking, you need to think about what your customers are searching for to try to find your product. Yes, Google has a wide variety of display options, but the main objective of all these placements is to help people find what they want in a more efficient way through search.

What They're For

Google Ads are best for products that require searching for. Take a boot heater for example. You likely wouldn't see an Instagram post of someone using a boot heater on an inspiring mountain somewhere. The audience who is looking for this kind of thing is also more apt to put in research in order to find the right product for them. Apparel, on the other hand, isn't as good of a fit because there are millions of options that customers have when purchasing, and often customers want to see images of the physical appearance when shopping.

Pros for search

  • immediate traffic increase

  • higher intent audience

  • little to no creative refreshing

  • bigger audiences

Cons of search

  • less targeting options

  • complicated user experience

Case Study: Google Ads for B2B Lead Generation

For our global education and technology organization client, we were challenged with the task of generating high quality leads for a high-caliber event. Using search we could target people who were searching for terms related directly to the event, as well as terms that were very similar. The goal was to drive leads for less than $100; we were able to acquire leads for $34.

If your product is for a specific niche, use Google Ads.

Facebook Ads

When researching advertising methods online, you'll find a wide range of reviews for Facebook Ads. Some people have had unbelievable positive results and some have lost big money. Facebook Ads work best when paired with a visually appealing product that can be displayed in several different environments.

What They're For

Facebook Ads are best for products that require visuals to differentiate from competitors. T-shirts are a great example of this because there are millions of t-shirts out there. Since all t-shirts have the same shape (more or less), the only thing that identifies one from the next is the graphic or design. Contrast that with the boot heater market which would have a much smaller pool of options to choose from.

Pros for facebook

  • robust targeting

  • audience lookalike tool

  • clear platform user experience

  • generally cheaper cost per click

Cons for facebook

  • lower intent audience

  • more daily maintenance

Case Study: Ecommerce Apparel Brand

For one of our apparel clients, our objective was to drive sales at an acquisition cost of less than 30%. Using Facebook Ads, we showed the products in their natural environment. This meant lots of lifestyle images of people wearing the apparel out in the world mixed with high-quality product-only shots. Fortunately, we had video content as well, which is a particularly effective and engaging content type.

If your product is visual, use Facebook Ads.

How To Use Them Together

If you've been researching this topic for any amount of time you'll find that there are, in fact, ways to mix the two platforms in order to reach your KPIs. This may seem like a complicated and intimidating idea, but if leveraged correctly, can be exponentially more effective. Let's look at a simple breakdown of how we set up this strategy at Strategy Labs.

1st Touch: Google Ads

In terms of the buying process, let's imagine a potential customer who's ready to purchase some shoes. Not just any shoes though - they want to find shoes with red stripes. The first thing this potential customer will do is go to Google and type in "red stripe shoes." Since that was a keyword we targeted in our Google Ad campaign, this potential customer sees and clicks on our ad. This brings them to the site where they proceed to shop around, add a product to the cart, but leave the page as they weren't quite ready to buy.

2nd Touch: Facebook Ads

Later on, our potential customer hops on Facebook. While scrolling through their feed they see a nice looking picture of the red stripe shoes they added to cart earlier. This ad also has a special discount offer, which entices the potential customer to click the ad, bringing them back to the website. Once there, they proceed to checkout, add the coupon code, and complete the purchase.

This is a textbook acquisition and remarketing funnel that all ecommerce brands should implement. One thing to notice about this process is the relevancy of each ad to the stage of the purchase funnel that the customer is in. In the research phase they get a Google Ad, and in the purchase phase, they get a Facebook ad. When executed properly this funnel can be a game-changer for your company's growth.

Choose Your Platform

So who wins the debate of Facebook Ads vs Google Ads? Here's an easy-to-follow chart that will help you decide what to do: