Google Ad Words Vs. Facebook Ads

In Social Media by Enid Spitz

We’re here to demystify Ad Words and Facebook Ads…and how to determine which is better-suited for your business.

There are 2.925 billion internet users in the world. Hello…2.925 BILLION!  Let’s take advantage of this, people!

It is a common misconception that Google Ad Words and Facebook Ads are competitors. Both advertising strategies have specific advantages and benefits that differ depending on your business, your audience, your goal, and your budget.

Before we dive into the strengths and features of both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords, it is important to understand the biggest difference between the two.

Google AdWords is a “paid search” while Facebook Ads is “paid social”. What does this mean? Think of Facebook Ads as a party or social gathering with your friends and family. At a party, people are unlikely to make a purchase. However, they are likely to interact, engage, and discover new things.

Google Ad Words is more like the mall. People at the mall are in a buying mindset and are most likely either ready to buy or are looking for something to buy. Google AdWords is the world’s largest and most popular PPC (pay per click) advertising platform. In fact- it is so widely used, many people just refer to it as “paid search”.  

Facebook Ads is known as “paid social”, AKA advertising on social networks. Facebook has the highest number of monthly active users of any other social network in the world, which makes it an extremely competitive and potentially lucrative advertising strategy.

While there are some similarities, there are several major differences to note. To determine which strategy is best for your business, let’s take a closer look at each.  


Let’s start with reach, or the total number of different people or households that are exposed to an ad at least once in a given period.

Facebook has over 1.49 billion users worldwide. Over 2.5 million advertisers are on Facebook, over 1 million of which are small to medium sized businesses. The average Facebook Ad, per CPM (cost per thousand) is $5.99. The crazy thing is, just a couple of years ago, the CPM was only $.25.

Google AdWords controls 67.6% of the U.S. search market and can reach over 2.6 billion Google searches every month. There are three networks you can advertise with, including: Google’s Search Ads, Google’s Display Network, and Google’s Search Tool. With these three networks combined, you can reach up to 90% of the internet. (“Woah” is right!)

Targeting options

Facebook Ads allow you to target your audience based on location, demographics, behaviors, interests, and website custom audiences. It also allows you to target based on lookalike, which identifies future prospects based on similarities to current Fans, customers and website visitors.

Facebook Re-targeting is a powerful feature that allows you to create custom audiences based on the following: Customer List, Website Traffic, App Activity. Facebook Re-targeting click-through rates are 21 times higher than regular face-book ads

Google AdWords, like Facebook Ads, allows you to target your audience based on location, demographics, and language. Unlike Facebook Ads, Google AdWords also allows you to target based on device, keywords and negative keywords (which allows you to exclude certain words to sharpen your targeting).

Google Re-Marketing is by far one of the most powerful tools that Google offers. It allows you to target people that are already interested in what you are offering at a discounted rate. To learn more about Google Re-marketing, check out this post: The Complete Guide to AdWords Re-marketing Based Practices.

The main difference between Facebook Re-targeting and Google Re-marketing is that Google allows you to re-market outside their own network on Google partner sites, while Facebook only allows you to re-target within Facebook.  

Mobile Advertising

Believe it or not, Facebook Mobile advertising is more popular than desktop advertising. Facebook Ads allow you to optimize your ads for IOS devices as well as Android devices. There are currently over 1.44 billion Facebook mobile users and 944 million active daily mobile users. Since 47% of users only log in to Facebook through their mobile phones, it is crucial that all of your websites, landing pages, and emails should be mobile responsive.

BONUS: Facebook’s mobile ad platform allows you to advertise on Instagram, which by the way, has the highest engagement of any online social network.

With Google AdWords, you can choose a budgeting ratio for mobile users as well as tablet users. It also allows you to optimize text ads for IOS devices, Android devices, and WAP-enabled phones. Mobile searches are becoming the most popular form of searches. Mobile devices account for 52% of paid search clicks. Additionally, 70% of mobile searchers can call a business directly from a search result. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love this feature!

Overall, the main difference between the two is Google is best for immediate sales and Facebook is best for lead generation and brand awareness. Also, Google AdWords tend to be on the expensive side, while Facebook Ads tend to be more budget friendly. Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads are great advertising platforms that offer their own unique benefits. Consider testing out both to see which is better suited for your business.  

For those of you who are more visual-based learners, feel free to use and share our infographic!