Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: What’s The Difference?

Which is better for your online marketing strategy: Google Ads vs Facebook Ads? Learn the benefits of using both and how to discover the right one for you.

A Diverse Online Marketing Strategy Uses Both, Google Ads And Facebook Ads

Before we get deeper into the points of which is better: Facebook ads vs Google ads. 

We need to understand that different online ad campaigns have different goals and purposes. And not all will work for every company the same way. 

Even if the goals would be the same for two different companies, even the slightest changes in audience targeting can make a massive difference in the results. 

When we build digital marketing strategies for our businesses, we need to define clear goals on top of which we look at possible solutions to get us there. 

And in most cases, the uncertainty when matching business and an online ad platform, makes it hard from saying platform A, would be better than platform B.  

It all goes down to say that we need to test the platforms before we start advertising on larger budgets. 

In performance marketing, we do continuous testing with ad platforms until we find a scalable advertising solution for our specific business.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Conversions

But how much do we need to test before we can conclude, for example, that Google Ads would be better for our specific needs? 

That is why we need tangible goals that align with our business. 

If Google Ads gets us closer to our goals, then it’s the definite choice, but if Facebook Ads, on the other hand, bring similar results, we would need to keep testing or use both. 

For more further context: 

Learn more about the benefits of Google Ads.

And learn more Facebook Ads.

The Similarities Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads 

Whether you advertise on Google or Facebook, both platforms have a vast audience from which each company and marketer can discover their target audiences and even find new ones. 

The platforms have robust targeting options for finding new target audiences, or through data utilization, you can use old audiences from past data. 

While the way you reach these audiences may differ on these platforms, the effects are the same, reaching a massive audience that could lead to customers. 

Within Google Ads, the Display Ads are similar to Facebook Ads, where the platforms serve ads based on user behavior, interests, or demographic data. 

On both, you can have total control of:

  • Which ads you show,
  • How much you’re spending on ads
  • Target audiences
  • Campaign optimization 
  • Conversion tracking and conversion-based campaigns
  • Easy to use dashboards for managing campaigns
  • User management
  • And much more. 

Both platforms offer scalability of advertising for increasing revenue profitably while lowering ad costs at the same time.

As in both, when you discover or create winning campaigns that are profitable for your business, you can slowly start scaling upwards with these winning campaigns. 

Of course, each platform has its way of achieving scalability, but it’s doable, which is crucial. 

In essence, if you were to combine Google Ads and Facebook ads in your digital marketing strategy, you’re going to achieve the best of both worlds — social media marketing and search-based ads. 

But through robust testing, you can get a definite answer to which way is better for you.

The Main Differences With Google Ads And Facebook Ads

One of the main differences when comparing the two is with Google ads you can advertise on Google Search, which by itself offers a different user experience for users when it comes to advertising. 

An ad in Google Search is based on what a user searches for and leads to more engaged clicks and experiences overall. 

By targeting keywords that matter to you, you can always make sure that your ad spend is going toward customers that are already interested in the services you provide.

A customer in Google Search will be a level higher in the buying intent phase (depending on the keywords) compared to Facebook Ads. 

And a customer searching on Google has initiated the search themselves, and the ads are not as interrupting to the user experience, because it offers direct value to the search. 

While on Facebook, your ads have to create interest to gain a result as you’re disrupting normal user behavior of whatever the user was doing prior. 

In Facebook, you’re using, for example, interests, user-behavior data, and optimally also past data from your website through pixel. Your goal is to identify a perfect buyer persona to target with your ads at any given time.

For starting, if you understand your user’s and customers’ main interests, Facebook advertising can be compelling as you’re targeting a larger and larger user base that would match those interests of your buyer persona. 

If you look at Google Search and the way keywords behave, while keywords and the people who use them might have underlying characteristics, it won’t be as noticeable. 

To conclude the differences, in Google Ads (Search Ads), you’re targeting people who know what they want. And on Facebook, you’re targeting people who might be interested.

The Differences in Starting A Campaign 

If you start a campaign with no previous user data, Google ads might be more effective. As looking for keyword data with free SEO tools, you can get some initial data on how your potential customers react to your products. 

As we mentioned earlier, Facebook Ads get better with more data on customers and users as you can create audiences based on the collected data. 

For example, you could use Google Ads to collect keyword-based search behavior data from converted users that you would turn into effective custom and lookalike audiences to use in Facebook Ads.

Learn more about using keyword-based audiences in Facebook Ads.

You can start directly either with Facebook or Google Ads, depending on your business and its goals. 

Another way of deciding is how actively you are trying to achieve results from social media generally, say more Facebook or Instagram followers, then starting with Facebook Ads will be more beneficial.  

And in social ad campaigns, there’s always the opportunity of virality. Due to its social nature, your ad always has a slight chance of being shared. And that is possible with other social media ads like LinkedIn or Pinterest.

Google Ads, of course, has YouTube Ads, which would offer the same level of virality if you are utilizing video ads. 

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Cost Differences

For many, this will be the deciding factor of using a platform over another. Which one will cost less, while producing the most results? 

In Google Ads, you will always have an estimate of how much the bids on a crucial keyword would be. While on Facebook, such estimates don’t exist in the same way. 

The reality is that those Google Ads estimates might vary greatly depending on competition and ad quality at any given time. Still, it gives you the idea of keyword costs and how much a bid should be. 

For example, if a bid is $0.30 per click or $45, the cost information is useful when planning out campaigns.

Higher CPC Keywords In Google Ads

To give you more of an idea, on average, in the insurance industry, the average CPC was $18.57 in the U.S. while electronics were at $0.83 in 2019-2020.

If a keyword is competitive and click costs are high, you might find in these cases results from Facebook Ads being a lot cheaper. If your chosen keywords have a low cost, then it might be cheaper to advertise on Google rather than on Facebook.

The key thing to understand is what type of business you’re running. 

Achieving a good ROI on online advertising is always dependent on the nature of your business.

For example, if your services and products are more geared towards intent and especially needs of a customer, then you’re probably going to achieve a higher ROI with Google Ads. Providing a solution to a problem through keywords can lower ad costs overall. 

Google Ads Results

But if you know that your typical customer buys your products and services, because of interests, hype, curiosity, or through word of mouth, then you might find a higher ROI with Facebook Ads. 

Facebook Ads Results

Like for a curiosity product, if you’re dropshipping with Shopify.

CPC Advertising vs CPM Advertising 

In Google Ads, you’re going to pay per click most of the time, and Google Ads measures ad costs with CPC (Cost Per Click).

In Facebook Ads, you’re going to pay for impressions of your ads, which does not guarantee results (unless brand impressions are your goal ). Facebook measures the associated cost of ads with CPM (Cost Per Mille) or cost per thousand impressions. 

CPM-based campaigns do also exist in Google Ads in either brand awareness or product consideration campaigns done through Display Ads, or YouTube Ads. 

Google Ads replaces CPC with CPV (Cost Per View) in YouTube Ads, a more measurable metric. Depending on your sales funnel, and how you use videos on it, CPV can be as effective as CPC. 

The core question when thinking of which one is better is CPC or CPM? 

Again, it largely depends on the nature of campaigns and businesses that run them. 

CPM-based campaigns that include suitable ads with a strong call to actions can achieve a lower overall CPC cost and conversion costs. But if your ad game isn’t strong enough, you might end up paying up far more than in its counterpart in CPC.   

CPC tends to be more fixed in the long-term for gaining results, and CPM-based can fluctuate depending on campaign types and the ads themselves.

While you can lower your CPC of Google Search Ads by improving, for example, ad quality, CPM-based campaigns can have more opportunities when we look at costs associated with them. 

Learn the mistakes that can drive your CPC costs higher in Google Ads.

Using Both CPC and CPM

But if you use both in your overall advertising strategy, you will have a base cost for results that you need to meet every time. 

With this data, you can always make sure that you have a better idea of the actual cost of acquisition within your target audience. 

For example, in Google Ads, if you get results where a click would cost you $6.5, and it would take you 50 clicks to get a sale. Therefore your cost per acquisition (CPA) would be $325, and this would become your new base CPA to compare your CPM-based campaigns. 

This base CPA becomes your target goal for the CPM-based campaigns, and if you can get a CPA lower on Facebook, then you know where to optimize and put more effort and increase budgets. 

You can also start with CPM campaigns and then compare the results to CPC campaigns. 

Advertising on both will give a more accurate CPA of online advertising that you can use to improve the sales funnels, and profitability of any business. 

Next, let’s look at the other benefits of using Google Ads and Facebook Ads in tandem. 

But What Is The Benefit of Using Both? 

While we covered the reason why you need to at least test both to figure out the better platform for you, there are many other benefits why you should use them together to enhance your growth of online marketing. 

Firstly, as the platforms are inherently different in how users use them, while many users overlap between them, the moment of intent and general targeting will differ. 

Using both for advertising, enables you to advertise for the core target audience in all of the relevant places at most convenient times for the target audience, maximizing your potential reach. 

Maximizing potential online reach also leads to increased brand awareness, even if we are not actively going for brand impression campaigns. 

It also gives you more scaling opportunities when you have figured how to use multiple platforms profitably in your business. 

And more opportunities lead to more ideas, which feeds the growth rates. 

Combined Web Analytics and Data Collection

Having more effective data of your target audience and knowing who, why, and at what price they convert to your products and services is an essential strategy. 

And gaining data from multiple platforms can adjust and paint a more precise picture of the target audience itself. 

You can use the data you receive from either Google Ads and Facebook Ads to achieve these goals. 

Both platforms may have different ways of calculating results. In the end, using web analytics and the right tools, you can analyze the data from your perspective to the benefit of the business. 

For example, using Google Analytics to track the performance of both in the same place, you can make better decisions on where to spend the time or money. 

And using universal Google Analytics goals for measuring the same conversions across both platforms, helps you further define which platform is better alone, or to keep using both for achieving said goals.  

Google Ads Vs Facebook Ads In Google Analytics

The Power of Remarketing

Increasing marketing attribution is crucial. No matter the type of business, the more you’re seen, the more probable it is to convert customers. 

And that’s where remarketing and retargeting ads come in to help. 

Both platforms have reliable ways to retarget people based on specific actions taken on your websites and landing pages

But the increased benefit is when you cross advertise across both platforms to reach all types of users who interacted with your website earlier.  

For example: 

User A googles a topic that triggers your ad, and then they would engage with your funnel, but not finish it. 

User A is also an avid user of Instagram instead of reading articles on a website with Display Ads enabled. You can target user A with Facebook Ads more effectively.  

User B first gets to know your brand through your Facebook Ads, and engages with a click, while interested, starts to research your competitors on Google Search. Bidding on these vital industry keywords makes sure you target the people interested in such search terms where your business is relevant. 

User B also actively uses Gmail on their phone, which has Display Ads enabled, letting you retarget the user. 

Through these examples, we can see that using both platforms gives a more solid remarketing strategy overall to retarget most users who interact with your websites. 

And such is the power of remarketing for increasing return on ad spend through more conversions, re-engaging users, and keeping your brand relevant. 


The answer to the question which one is better Google Ads vs Facebook Ads? It entirely depends on the nature of advertisers and their target audiences. 

These differences might even be subtle; for example, one platform could be better within the same product line. 

We recommend always testing with both to collect data and understand your target audiences’ behavior better. 

And it’s good to remember to keep testing, as results may vary depending on new user behavior.

A profitable Facebook Ads campaign today might not be profitable tomorrow. With testing, you can always make sure that you’re advertising where it can produce results and, more importantly, the impact you seek from advertising. 

But if you had to choose one, think about your product, and you’re marketing resources: 

  • Can you produce an engaging and exciting ads campaign that would entice users 
  • Or is creating high-quality text ads better in your situation 

Answering these questions will help you decide and leave you with a higher probability of achieving more with less with one of the platforms.