A popular misconception in the world of digital marketing is that you need to choose between Facebook and Google Ads for your digital marketing spend. As a digital marketing consultant, my role is to get the most value for the advertising dollar that I can for my clients. From experience, I know that there is no need to “choose” between Google and Facebook advertising, rather see which platform will best suit the needs of the business and stretch that advertising dollar as far as it can go. 


So, what is the difference between Google and Facebook Ads? 

Google and Facebook Ads have many similarities; however, their interfaces, audiences and algorithms are worlds apart. Let’s take a deeper dive into the difference between the two platforms to help identify what would best suit your business.


Google Ads: Pay Per Click Search Advertising 

Google is the king of many things in the digital universe, and when it comes to Pay Per Click Advertising, it is by far the largest ad service. Google Ads follows Bushnell’s famous law; it is simple to get started but incredibly difficult to master.

Google Ad Words works through keywords; a business specifies what keywords are relevant to them and creates an ad in Google Ads they also limit how much they are willing to pay per “click” on their ad. Google then uses it’s extensive algorithm to serve the ads to people who search for the keywords specified. A searcher clicks on the ad, and the business pays for the potential customer – Yay!

 There are a dizzying array of knobs and levers that can be manipulated within Google Ads. Different settings can change everything from the hierarchy of the keywords, the demographic profile of the searcher and ad style, just to name a few. But in essence, Google serves your ads to people that are searching for topics related to your business.


Facebook Ads: Paid Social Media Advertising 

Facebook Ads are primarily visual based advertisements served to a Facebook user during their browsing session on the Facebook or Instagram platforms. Facebook ads can be as simple as a “boosted post” (often akin to the skill tester at an old school arcade – very little chance of success) to a more structured and measured approach through the Facebook Ads Manager. 

 Facebook, like Google, has a range of tools that can assist businesses with creating and managing great ads. One great benefit of Facebook is the integration of various levels of advertising testing, which can help to refine ads and get the best possible ad with the greatest chance of conversion. 

 The most significant difference in the two platforms is that Facebook more heavily relies on an algorithm that types users and draws them to your brand. It is the digital explorer, finding your business new potential customers and showing them the ads that are most likely to win them as customers.


Why Google?

Google is…. massive!

The Google audience is, by far the biggest in the world. Google searches are the default for finding out information in our current age, and the sheer volume of searches is an excellent arguing point for Google Ads.

Good Ads Win

It is easy to think that if you have a big enough budget you will get your ads shown at the top of the Google search, whilst budget does play a part, ad quality is also an essential factor. Ads that are relevant and have a high click-through rate are often champions. A Google Ads Agency can assist you with creating powerful advertisements that will resonate with the potential customer and create excellent click through rates from the beginning.

Great Optimisation

Within Google Ads, there is a little known setting called “Target CPA” – this setting utilises Google’s machine learning to serve your ads to those most likely to convert. It is a gem, and, as a Digital Marketing Consultant, I have seen it perform time and time again.


Why Facebook? 


User Understanding

Facebook has 2.89 billion active monthly users, and each of these users likes, comments, shares and posts. The cumulation of these interactions with the platform is what enables Facebook to be so good at finding you customers – it understands how people think and how they behave.  Whilst, on the one hand, this is just a little terrifying; on the other, it is excellent for businesses and is part of the success of Facebook Advertising. 



Facebook is a visual platform, and the advertising guidelines much encourage and favour graphic ads. As a marketer, I know that potential customers will react on an empathetic level to visual ads.


Ad Testing 

The Facebook Ads interface enable granular testing of ads at a variety of different levels. This granularity allows for the best aspects of successful ads to be replicated, leading to more significant ROI. A Facebook Ad Agency will be able to establish a testing protocol for your brand and ensure that the best results are achieved. 


What digital advertising platform is right for your business? 

When it comes to the choice between Facebook and Google Ads, it is often a case of looking at your business, brand and customer. An e-commerce store that sells high end, luxurious, scented candles will do better on Facebook, where you reach potential customers when they are more at ease. The Facebook algorithm can then help detect potential customers based on their platform usage and profile. If your business is an insurance brokerage, placing Google Ads when potential clients are searching for terms such as “best value insurance” is going to be a far more concentrated and effective way to spend your advertising dollar. 

For most businesses, it is not as clear cut as the two examples given above. Often a digital strategy that combines the two platforms can be effective, provided your goals for each platform are clear and distinct.

For advice, guidance and assistance with developing a digital strategy and getting the most value for your marketing budget, get in touch with the experts in Google and Facebook Ads at Lee Paton Digital.