Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which one is best for your online business? 

by Louise Blakely in Advertising
July 14, 2020 0 comments

It’s true that businesses who invest in online advertising on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook™ Ads are able to skyrocket their visibility and sales a lot faster than businesses who choose organic free methods. 

So why isn’t everyone investing in paid advertising to grow their business? 

One big thing holding online entrepreneurs back is not being sure on where to advertise. It’s pretty clear that you’re better off investing in online advertising rather than print advertising but what about choosing between the different options online?

The fear of wasting money is big, and I can understand why. If you spend all of your budget in a place where your ideal customer isn’t going to see it, you’re not going to have a great experience. 

So it’s important that you invest your marketing budget into the right advertising platform for you. 

The two most popular online advertising platforms are Google and Facebook™. So in this article, I’m going to help you choose which one is best for you! 

I’ll start by looking at Google Ads, then we’ll move onto Facebook™ Ads after that. 

Google Search Network Ads 

Before I get into this one, I want to clarify that I’m referring to Google Search Network Ads here. These are the text ads that appear at the top of the search results. There are plenty other types of ads within the Google Ads platform, which you can check out over here

Here’s an example of a Google Search Network Ad. This is what came up when I searched ‘womens clothing’ on Google. 

google seach network ads



How Google Ads work 

Google Ads show up as a result of a ‘search query’ or a ‘keyword’ that was put into Google by a person, looking for a product, service, an answer to their problem, a how-to guide – you name it, people are googling for it. 

You can then bid on any keyword you choose, so that your ad will show up in front of any person that searches for it. This ad will then take that person to your website or your landing page. 

To do well on Google, people have to know they have a problem and are actively looking for a solution that someone like yourself can solve. Because of this, they are much farther along the customer journey than someone who doesn’t know they have a problem they need to fix yet. This is why I love Google Ads and the conversion rates can be so high if they are done well. 

Google Ads are best for: 

eCommerce businesses 

If you’re running an eCommerce store and you haven’t tried Google Ads yet, you really are missing out. But there’s one caveat here. Because Google Search Ads are based on keyword searches in Google, people must associate one or multiple keywords for your product and be putting that into Google. 

eCommerce businesses can also do really well on Google Shopping and a combination of the two is what I recommend. 

Local businesses

Google Search Ads work really well for companies that cater to a local market. Especially anything urgent like tyres, mechanics, plumbers. If there’s something that people must have, and they need it now, the first place they look is Google. 

Those selling to corporate clients 

A big part of choosing the best place to advertise is knowing your client really well. If your ideal customer is in a corporate environment, it’s likely they will not be spending as much time on social media as online business owners. 

And where do they go when they need to research something, or find a supplier? Google! Therefore Google Search Ads are an excellent way to target people who don’t live and breathe social media. 

The advantages of Google Ads 

In my experience, Google Search Ads are much easier to manage than Facebook Ads

You don’t need any creative

Google Search Ads are text only. Which means that you don’t need to get all creative and spend hours creating videos, images and copy. Instead you just need the copy part! The biggest challenge is creating the copy within the tight character limits.  

Easier to manage and less time-consuming

The best thing about Google Search Ads in my opinion and why you should give them a chance is that once you’ve got a well-optimised account, the amount of time required in the account is minimal. While you should always be testing new copy, new keywords and keeping up with any new features, it really can be a system that brings you business daily without the headaches. 

There is less manual optimisation needed

Once you’ve got your campaigns up and running, you do need to turn it over to the Google gods to let it do it’s thing. That means as long as you’ve set up the account correctly, with a good account structure, solid keywords and ad extensions, you can let it do it’s thing. You will actually do more harm than good if you’re constantly in there tweaking things. 

The disadvantages of Google Ads 

You have less control 

When you set up ads on the Google Search Network, you really need to keep your hands off them for 2 – 3 weeks to let the algorithm do its thing and see how they go. This can be incredibly hard if you’re itching to get in there and tweak things. Or if you’re worried about spending and not getting a return. But don’t touch them!

Some niches are really expensive 

It’s common to pay quite a high price for a click on Google Search Ads in order to compete and show on the first page. Some industries where this is the case is insurance and legal services. Yet it’s always important to keep the end in mind. If you pay $50 per click, but you have a 10% conversion rate from click to customer, and each customer is worth $5000 to your business, it definitely pays for itself many times over. 

The targeting is not as advanced

We have all become so used to the amazing targeting that is available over on Facebook that we might expect the same on Google. But you just can’t be quite as granular on Google. If you’re used to Facebook Ads, you might find this frustrating. 

Facebook Advertising 

How Facebook™ Ads work 

In comparison to Google Ads, Facebook Ads are what I consider to be interruption marketing. This is because people are on Facebook to connect with friends and family. They are not there necessarily to shop or solve their problems. So it’s similar to having a billboard advertisement on a motorway. 

Yet Facebook Ads can be extremely effective, despite the fact that people aren’t seeking them out. This is because over time you can build strong relationships and brand awareness with people who interact with your ads. You can create an ads funnel that builds know, like and trust over time. 

Done well, Facebook Ads can dramatically grow a business while building your audience at the same time. 

And to be clear, when I say Facebook Ads™, this also includes Instagram ads. It is all one company, and you control your Instagram Ads from within the Facebook™ Ads Manager.

Facebook™ Ads are best for:

Digital product businesses

If you’re selling online products such as courses or memberships, you will need to work with a longer sales funnel. Because we know people are going to Google for an immediate solution yet they’re on Facebook to connect with their friends and family as well as their interests, Facebook is the better place to market your online products. 

Business and life coaches who serve online

Similar to digital products, if you’re looking to convert people into high ticket coaching offers, then you have to build that know, like and trust factor. This doesn’t happen overnight, so you need a content focused approach. The best place to advertise to fast track this process is using Facebook and Instagram. 

eCommerce store owners

Luckily for owners of eCommerce stores, there are many avenues that are effective for online advertising. This is the one industry that should be present on BOTH platforms.

With Facebook, you will need to lead with good content rather than keywords. 

Which one should come first? For ease, I recommend getting comfy on Google and mastering that first. Then move onto Facebook. This is not a hard and fast rule though, as it depends on your unique situation. 

The advantages of Facebook™ Ads

They can be satisfying and fulfilling if you like getting creative 

While some of you may hate this part of marketing, I also know that many of us marketers and small business owners absolutely love getting creative. Although it can be challenging, there is something very fulfilling about creating an amazing video, experimenting with images and copy. If this is your jam, you will love Facebook Ads. 

The targeting is amazing 

Facebook has the most robust targeting on the planet. They know everything about everyone on that platform. How they get that information is probably a post for another day, and whether or not you agree with it, it’s certainly powerful for a business to have access to. 

You can target so many interests, professions, financial status, people who are looking at buying a car – it’s endless. You can also set up lookalike audiences, custom audiences, people who visited your website between 7 and 14 days ago…there really is no limit. 

Your ads funnel can be seamless

Because there is such great targeting available on Facebook™, you are able to create a really seamless funnel for people who interact with your brand. With the right content put in front of them at the right time can result in Facebook becoming a very lucrative advertising channel for your business.  

Facebook™ Ads covers Instagram and other networks

From within the Facebook™ Ads Manager, you can also set up all your ads to reach new people over on Instagram and in their Audience Network. This means your ads could appear on article feeds that show on Facebook™, as well as in Messenger, Facebook™ Watch, and Marketplace. You are in full control over where your ads show, too. 

Your Facebook Ads will grow your audience at the same time

I definitely recommend going into Facebook Ads with the mindset of making money, not just getting awareness. But there’s one big advantage of spending money on Facebook™ advertising – not only should you be getting a positive return on investment (plus some!) but you will also be growing your audience at the same time. This is something that Google Ads just can’t replicate because it’s not a social media platform. 

The disadvantages of Facebook™ Ads

There is a lot of skill involved 

There are many moving pieces with Facebook™ Ads. You’ve got the creative (videos or images), the copy, the targeting, the budgeting…the list goes on. 

They can be time consuming to manage

Because of all these moving parts, you really need to know what you’re doing, or be willing to learn. This can take time. But it’s definitely not a $10 job in your business that you should outsource. In fact, you will only benefit from learning this skill yourself so that you can start using them to grow your income. I really believe that as an empowered small business owner, you will benefit from knowing how to set up your own ads, and do them right. Even if you outsource later on, you will be better equipped to understand what your freelancer/agency needs to succeed. 

They can be expensive to outsource

All the moving parts means that it can be quite expensive to outsource your Facebook™ Ads. There is a lot of time involved, a lot of tweaking that needs to take place and a lot of testing before you find the winning ad. 

So, should you use Google Ads or Facebook™ Ads? 

I hope that gave you a good rundown of which advertising platform is best for your business. 

You might be wondering which one I personally like the best? 

If that thought has popped into your mind, I love them both. They both work, but it very much depends on your unique business and your ideal customer. I refuse to specialise in just one, because when combined you really are tapping into an infinite source of visibility for your online business.

I love Google because once you've been testing for a few months and you know what keywords convert, it's literally like printing money and doesn't require a huge time investment. 

And I love Facebook™ ads because of the creativity involved (which to me is fun), and there's so much you can do with the targeting to create super slick ad funnels. AND if you crack them, Facebook™ Ads can completely change a business in a very short space of time.

And which one is easier to manage? 

Hands down, Google Ads. But if it's not the right place for your business, then that isn't relevant. So focus more on where your ideal customer hangs out and get in front of them there.

If your sales funnel or customer journey is longer, you use a content-driven approach in your marketing and you really need to build that know, like and trust factor, Facebook is the best place to start. 

Let me know in the comments what your next step with advertising is going to be after reading this!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *