When it comes to online advertising, you’ve got choices. There’s the well-known Google AdWords, and then there’s the equally as powerful Facebook Advertising.

If you’re a business owner, you’ve probably found yourself thinking “Which should I be using?” or “Which is best for my business?”.

While each service has their pros and cons, if we are being honest the simple answer is you should be using both.

Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are useful in different ways, and when used side by side can create a very strong digital marketing strategy.

To help clarify things a little, let’s dive into the key differences between Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, and what each service can bring to your business.

We thought it would make sense to start off by explaining exactly what each service is before we explore their biggest differences.

Google AdWords 

Let’s just call this one paid search.

Google AdWords is a pay-per-click advertising platform, run by none other than Google – making it the largest platform of it’s kind in the world.

Google Adwords

Essentially, these advertisements are created to target specific keywords used in Google searches. Ads targeting keywords will have the chance of showing up when that specific targeted keyword is searched.  They can be text-based, graphic display ads, or even YouTube video ads- giving you the options to choose what best suits your brand.

The best part? The advertiser is charged a specified amount when, and only when, a user clicks on the ad.

To summarise, Google AdWords means companies are paying for the opportunity to attract new customers based on the common phrases and keywords they use in Google searches.

Facebook Ads

We’ll call this paid social.

Facebook Ads are the most powerful and popular form of social network advertising, hosted on the powerhouse social network Facebook.

Facebook Ads

This platform allows you to target users based on the things they are interested in and what they interact with online.

There are multiple different types of Facebooks ads, including in the Newsfeed on the homepage, Newsfeed on mobile, and right sidebar on the homepage.

With over 2.1 billion active users worldwide, Facebook ad platform allows you to reach people where they already spend a great deal of their time.

Don’t Forget Instagram

Through the Facebook Ads Manager, you can also place your adverts on Instagram making it super easy to target an audience outside of Facebook.

Search Versus Discovery

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what each advertising platform is, let’s dive into the key differences between the two.

Keen to know the biggest difference between these two powerhouses?

Three words: Search versus Discovery.

Google AdWords ads appear during a user’s search on Google. People go to Google to solve a problem.  They are actively looking for information in a Google Search so it makes sense to show them an ad offering to solve their problem.  So the user has intent …to solve that problem.

Facebook ads, on the other hand, appear during normal Facebook browsing. So people are not actively looking for your product or service.  You show them your ad and entice them to engage.  So in other words, you are allowing the user to Discover you.

So Google AdWords is all about search, and Facebook Ads are all about discovery.

Simple as that.

Pros of Google AdWords

There are so many positives that come along with Google AdWords, we can hardly keep track of them all.

Would you believe there are over 3.5 billion Google searches every single day!???!

Not like this should come as a surprise when Google stills hold almost 75% of the search engine market share.

Safe to say that being the world’s most successful search engine makes it the logical place to put your ads (no offence Bing). The audience that you have access to from this platform is incredibly vast, providing what no other search engine can.

Not to mention, Google users are often actively on the hunt for certain goods and services, meaning when targeted right you can hit them when they need you most.

There are still misconceptions about how AdWords and PPC work, sometimes leading people to think it is all about how much you spend, leaving small business owners feeling like it isn’t a level playing field and worth their time. Well, Google loves playing fair – they award primarily based on relevance and quality of your ads, not how much money is pumped into them. So with AdWords, it doesn’t matter whether you are big or small, but rather whether you are creating relevant ads for your audience.

Google Adwords Types

Another positive of using AdWords is that there are so many different format types. They even have formats unique to business type, such as retail store versus car manufacturers.

Safe to say Google makes it easy to use their advertising system, no matter your business size or type.

Cons of Google AdWords

We honestly don’t have too many bad things to say about Google AdWords – if you know what you are doing!  You can spend a lot of money on AdWords for little return if you do not know what you are doing.

While your ability to reach a massive audience is pretty remarkable, this also means you have more competition. Because of this, targeting certain keywords will cost more than others depending on their popularity.  But that just solidifies how important it is to leave it to the experts and make sure your digital team does extensive keyword research prior to setting up a new campaign, so you aren’t wasting dollars on keywords with so much competition that your ads won’t be seen.

One thing is certain—when used effectively the pros of Google AdWords makes it an essential element of every digital marketing strategy.

Pros of Facebook Advertising  

From our experience, we wholeheartedly believe that Facebook is one of the most effective ways to advertise online. It will bring your business leads to another level.

Facebook Advertising gives you access to an enormous global audience, which is certainly one of its strengths. There’s almost no way to compare any other social networks to it when it comes to audience possibilities.

Facebook Ads also link to Instagram, meaning you can send your ads over to Instagram as well. And did we mention Instagram sees 500 million users daily?

With Facebook, there are so many ways to have your ads seen. You can target people based on location, demographics, behaviours (such as previous actions and likes), interests, as well as remarketing,  lookalike and website custom audiences.

Facebook Objectives

We want to shine the light on lookalike audiences because we think everyone should be using them. What exactly is a lookalike audience you ask? This is when you upload a database of contact information into Facebook, which it analyses and then creates a new audience list of people with similar interests and behaviours, who would likely also be interested in your company.

And we did mention the potential for ROI that Facebook brings?!

This is often the element that takes business owners by surprise. It allows you to make your budget go incredibly far and still have the potential for a very high ROI.

Essentially Facebook Advertising is so powerful because it allows advertisers and businesses to get closer to their ideal customers by reaching them in their natural habitats.

Cons of Facebook Advertising

One negative that comes along with Facebook’s vast audience, similar to Google Adwords, is once again the competition to catch a user’s eye. You may create an aesthetically appealing graphic for your ad, but if it doesn’t STAND OUT and catch a viewer’s attention within milliseconds you’ll be left in the dust.

So yes, this is where repeating ads does come in handy. Getting in front of a viewer’s face multiple times leads them to think, “Oh ya, I remember this one! Maybe today I’ll check it out”. However – there also is such thing as being too repetitive. Being seen any more than 8 times can be detrimental, causing your audience to just see you as annoying. It can be tricky to nail down, but finding the perfect balance for your ads and what works best for your business is key.

So – which is best for your business?

I guess it’s safe to say that after reading this, you will realise there isn’t simply a one-size-fits-all answer to AdWords or Facebook Ads. While Google allows you to discover customers, while Facebook lets those new people discover you. And while Google AdWords is great for immediate sales, Facebook is stronger for brand awareness and generating leads.

So we can’t really say that we feel one is better than the other. They are both incredibly powerful platforms and are used in very different ways.

We suggest looking closely at both platforms and firmly understanding what you are aiming to achieve for your business when implementing one or the other – or both.

Ultimately, we highly recommend every business type, big or small, uses a combination of both Google AdWords and Facebook Advertising. While they may both have their pros and their cons, used hand-in-hand they can produce the incredibly powerful marketing results that you want to see for your business.


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