Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which is Best for your Business in 2023?

Amit Phaujdar • Last Modified: January 9th, 2023

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads FI

Google Ads is developed by Google to serve as an online advertising platform where advertisers bid to display product listings, brief advertisements, or videos to web users/visitors. Facebook Ads, on the other hand, is an online advertising platform majorly used for paid social campaigns on Facebook.

In this article, you will get a deeper insight into the discussion of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads in terms of their audience size, buyer intent, ad formats, and targeting options. The article starts with an introduction to the importance of online advertising in the current marketplace.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Importance of Online Advertising

The Internet Revolution ushered in enhanced connectivity which led to a steady rise in the curiosity and demands of customers for information, products, and services. Customers today need answers fast. With the availability of an increasing number of products online, the competition for brand recognition has become fierce.

If you want to help customers find your brand, you need to be a part of their search. You need to assist them in a way that convinces them of the superiority of your product/service. The customer journey has changed dramatically; it has become more complicated and interconnected than ever before. Online Advertising gives you a way to stand out from the crowd.    

Consumer Journey
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Online Advertising can help you with the following:

  • Drive Buyer Behavior
  • Provide Multiple Purchase Pathways 
  • Use Repetition to Improve Sales
  • Build Brand Awareness
  • Increase the Spread of Information
  • Provide Reminders to Curious Buyers

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads Logo
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Google Ads, previously known as Google AdWords is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising platform. Google claims the spot for the world’s largest search engine, raking up more than 5 billion Google searches daily, according to Internet Live Stats. This makes Google Ads a great place to advertise if you are looking to reach out to this enormous amount of search traffic.

The common ways to advertise your brand on Google Ads are as follows:

  • Display Network: The Display Network Campaigns display your ads on apps and websites having related keywords to the site’s content. These ads could be images, videos, and much more. Here is an example of a typical display ad:
Google Display Ads
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  • Search Network: The search network displays ads for searches based on keywords like “car insurance”. These ads show up at the top of Google search results, like:
Search Network Ads
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  • Video: Video-based ads let you display ads on streaming sites like YouTube. These ads are also displayed across the Google Display Network. 
  • Google Shopping: The ads shown on Google Shopping are e-Commerce based ads. These ads allow your brand to show up for high-intent and relevant searches based on direct product searches. For example, when someone searches for football shoes, your product can show up along with reviews, pricing, and important features like free shipping:
Google Shopping Ads
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  • Google Ads Retargeting: Google allows you to remarket to a lost customer through sophisticated retargeting. This can help you close the sale.

Therefore, based on your needs you can make use of these channels to appeal to your prospective customers.

Apart from this, YouTube Ads and Google Display Network excel at building brand awareness and providing impeccable customer support after purchase experience. This allows Google Ads to be used for branding as well. This allows it to directly compete with Facebook Ads.

Benefits of Google Ads

Google Ads, previously known as Google Adwords, initially offered only quite simple text-based ads on the search engine. Since then, Google Ads has evolved to consist of features that can significantly improve clickthrough rates, such as shopping functions, reviews, detailed contact information, along with mobile optimization.

Remarketing, defined as reconnecting with customers who have interacted with your brand previously, is now much simpler with the help of Google Ads. For instance, if someone visited your site and added something to their shopping cart but didn’t finish their purchase, you can re-engage such users as they surf through Google. You can also execute the re-engagement strategy when your users are navigating a site or watching a YouTube video within Google’s display framework.

Apart from this, Google Ads boasts a simple interface laced with advanced features like ads editor, search term report, and auction insights. These sophisticated features make it easier to launch, build, and keep track of your ad campaigns.

What is Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads logo
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Facebook Ads are paid ads like Google Ads but show up only on Facebook. These ads can be displayed across various places like:

  • Video Feeds
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Instagram Newsfeed
  • Facebook Newsfeed
  • Right-Hand Column
  • Messenger Inbox

Facebook Ads are more suitable for reaching out to consumers who are near the top of the funnel. If you look at the Google Ads vs Facebook Ads discussion, Facebook Ads are great for product and brand awareness. Here is an example of a Facebook Ad:

Facebook Ad example
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Benefits of Facebook Ads

Facebook boasts a user base of over 2.7 billion monthly active users, based on a 2021 Statistica Report. Apart from its vast audience base, Facebook allows its users granular targeting capabilities. This allows marketers to reach out to users based on behaviors, life events, demographics, and interests.

Facebook also allows you to create a ‘duplicate audience’ before launching a campaign, that serves as your user persona. Subsequently, Facebook Ads will show your ads to audiences that would match your description. This is where Facebook Ads has a clear edge over Google Ads. Apart from this, by leveraging Facebook Ads you can also reach more users and end up with a better Click-Through Rate (CTR).

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Understanding the Differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

Now that you have an idea about what Google Ads and Facebook Ads bring to the table you can better understand the discussion of Google Ads vs Facebook Ads. The choice will vary based on your use case.

Here are the factors that you can keep in mind to make an educated decision about which tool suits you best:

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: How They Work

While both Facebook Ads and Google Ads are pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platforms with a competitive bidding system, they operate in distinct ways. Facebook Ads are paid social advertisements that appear to people on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the extended Audience Network. Google Ads, on the other hand, are paid search advertisements that appear alongside Google’s search results.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Audience Size

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Audience Size
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Both Facebook and Google enjoy enormous reach. Facebook has an estimated 1.73 billion daily active users while Google handles over 5.8 billion searches daily. The mobile advertising revenue accounts for almost 90% of Facebook’s advertising revenue. But your target audience is a mixed bag residing on both platforms. So, making a decision just based on audience size isn’t advisable. To understand how to leverage your ad campaigns on these platforms you need to be clear about two things:

  • Product Orientation: You need to know if your product is social or search-oriented. 
  • Target Audience Activity: You need to look at where your target audience spends the majority of their time. 

If your product is a new launch, then Facebook would offer a better option to build an audience.  

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Buyer Intent

Google Ads has an upper hand over Facebook Ads in terms of buyer intent. For instance, if a person’s fridge breaks down, they will immediately start searching for repair service. Search Ads would place your business in front of prospective customers at the exact time they need your services. Facebook Ads about a repair service won’t be referred here if they have already found their answer through Search Ads on Google.

Facebook Ads are also less likely to convert leads quickly. People spending time on Facebook are generally there to socialize and relax. Shopping is not a priority on Facebook. Therefore your go-to choice should be Google Ads if you are looking for immediate conversions. 

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Cost and ROI

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Average CPC
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Cost is a very important consideration for your ad campaign. The average CPC (Cost Per Click) on Google Ads is $2.69 across industries. In paid search, eCommerce businesses can expect to pay around $1.16 per click. On the other hand, businesses in the legal industry generally have to shell out $6.75 on average per click. To take this to an extreme, the most expensive keyword on Google Ads is “insurance” with a top CPC of $54.91.  

Facebook Ads are a little cheaper than Google Ads. A business in the apparel industry might have to pay a mere $0.45/click on Facebook. The most expensive types of businesses to run ads on Facebook would be insurance and finance. The average CPC for them is still only $3.77. Despite average CPC being more expensive on Google Ads, it can serve as the better option at reaching users at the time of their purchase decision. 

Another benchmark to keep in mind is CPA (Cost Per Action) to determine if you will have a strong Return On Investment (ROI) on your campaigns. Similar to CPCs, the performance of CPAs depend on how well-targeted your ads are and your Conversion Rate (preferably high) is. The average CPA for Facebook is $18.68 across all industries. The average CPA for Google Ads is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display across all industries.   

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Cost and ROI
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Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Ad Formats

These are the ad formats of Google Ads:

Google Ads formats
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These are the ad formats supported by Facebook Ads:

Facebook Ads formats
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The aforementioned images highlight the fact that you have more creativity on Facebook in terms of ad formats. If you use Google Ads, you have to work with a small block of text to catch potential customers’ eyes on Search Engines. Although you can leverage ad extensions for additional information and text, your format is ultimately going to be limited to the text, when working with Search Ads.

Facebook, on the other hand, allows you to add visual impact to your message through image-based ads. Facebook avoids ‘ad fatigue’ by continually rolling out varying ad formats. This is a big plus if you are an eCommerce business when choosing the right platform for you. 

Apart from this, Facebook Ads also offers a few unique features:

  • Engagement Ads on Wall Posts: Engagement Ads can make your Facebook page stand out to anyone who is checking out your business. These ads are shown only to the people who are most likely to engage with your post: commenting, reacting, or sharing. 
  • Lead Ads: Facebook Lead Ads are pretty cheap and effective. It eliminates the need for people to visit a landing page on your website. Lead Ads help you acquire valuable contact information from potential customers who are using Facebook on a mobile device. These ads can be used to schedule appointments, offer deals and discounts, get people to sign up for your email newsletter, and so much more.   
  • Behavioral Targeting: Facebook’s Behavioral Targeting allows you to reach people based on buyer intent, device usage, purchase history, and so much more. Facebook uses data from third-party partners to identify certain behaviors, both offline and online. Facebook first matches that data with user IDs then lets advertisers segment and target audiences based on various purchasing decisions (over a thousand). For example, you can target ads to people who’ve bought technology, health, beauty, or pet products.   
  • Facebook Messenger Bots: Facebook allows businesses to create bots for Facebook Messenger that can interact with your customer anytime, 24/7. These chatbots show a lot of potential in terms of sales and customer service. They can provide shipping notifications, take orders, provide automated information, and help users buy services or products. This means that you don’t have to leave Facebook Messenger to shop or get the information you were looking for. 
  • The Facebook Pixel: Facebook’s tracking pixel keeps track of actions that happen on your website as a result of your organic posts and paid ads. You just need to add some code to the pages you want to track. Trackable actions include things like viewing content, adding an item to a cart, completing registration, and making a purchase. Facebook’s tracking pixel helps you optimize your targeting and ads, measure conversions, and gain valuable insights about the Facebook users visiting your site.   

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Targeting Options

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Targeting Options
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Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads offer options for targeting (retargeting) specific audiences. You can target prospects by location, gender, age, and income level among other categories across both platforms.

But in terms of advanced targeting options, Facebook is the better option of the two. Apart from the targeting options mentioned, Facebook allows you to create audiences based on various behaviors and interests. You can be incredibly specific with your targeting, for instance, you can target vegetarian parents with children ages 6-10 and a household income of $50k-$100k. So, if your target audience is very niche, then Facebook Ads will be a great way to improve your business performance.

Facebook also offers a useful tool called lookalike audiences that allows you to advertise to people who bear resemblance to your existing audience. Facebook leverages its existing data to match your customers to similar users, which can be a very profitable option for advertisers.

Here’s a table to summarize the differences covered so far:   

Google AdsFacebook Ads
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: At a GlanceThe targeting options using Google Ads are limited to user demographics since it largely depends on search intent.The targeting options in Facebook are quite comprehensive and include interests, life events, demographics, buying behaviors, location, etc.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: How do they Work?The targeting in Google Ads is based on keywords.The targeting in Facebook Ads is based on the audiences you hope to reach.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Pricing and Performance DataThe Average Cost-per-Click is $2.69 for Google Ads. The Average Clickthrough Rate (CTR) provided by Google Ads is 3.17% along with an average conversion rate of 3.75%.The Average cost-per-click is $1.72 for Facebook Ads. The Average Clickthrough Rate (CTR) provided by Facebook Ads is 0.89% along with an average conversion rate of 7.75%.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Campaign FeaturesGoogle Ads uses ad networks like Display Shopping, Google Search, and Local Service Ads. The Audience Intent is active for Google Ads.The ad networks used by Facebook Ads are Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Audience Network. The audience intent for Facebook Ads is passive.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Customer ServiceGoogle Ads provides customer service to its customers through phone support and live support available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 9 PM Eastern Time.Facebook Ads only provides live support and email support to its customers.
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Customer ReviewsUsers prefer Google Ads since it provides in-depth performance data, and is more effective at selling high-end products. However, users feel that Google Ads has a steep learning curve and is quite expensive especially for high-competition keywords. Users prefer Facebook Ads because of its user-friendly interface and its ability to advertise on Instagram. Users might hit a snag while working with Facebook Ads since its advanced features might be a little challenging to work with, especially for beginners. Apart from this, Facebook Ads can get a little expensive if the ads aren’t appropriately targeted.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Campaign Features

The way audiences are targeted is the key distinction between Facebook Ads and Google Ads campaigns. Although Facebook Ads has a lot of audience targeting choices, there isn’t much search or buying intent.

While Google Ads has fewer audience targeting choices, its consumers are actively looking for a certain product or service. Aside from the target audiences, each has its own set of features, such as Google’s Local Service Ads and Facebook’s Instagram Ads.

Facebook AdsGoogle Ads
Ad NetworksFacebook, Messenger, Instagram, and Audience NetworkGoogle Search, Display, Shopping, and Local Service Ads
Audience IntentPassiveActive
Ad TargetingAudienceKeywords
Advanced Audience TargetingN/A – Basic audience targeting
Ads With Images✔ – Shopping Ads only
Video AdsN/A
Schedule Ads to Display on Specific Days and Hours
Negative KeywordsN/A
Radius Targeting
Automatic Budget Optimization✔ – With a Lifetime budget
Remarketing Text and Display Ads
Table Source

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Ease of Use

At first appearance, both Facebook and Google ads can seem confusing. While Facebook Ads is more user-friendly, Google Ads’ UI is more data-driven.

Most people find it simple to utilize Facebook’s fundamental capabilities, but many struggles to understand its more advanced features. Google, on the other hand, is more difficult to master at first, but once a user gets the hang of it, the entire platform is straightforward to handle, and users may later extend into the display and retargeting ads for even more reach and sales.

How to Use Google Ads and Facebook Ads Together?

Google Ads and Facebook Ads are both excellent internet advertising solutions that come highly recommended. A number of consumers agreed that combining Google Ads and Facebook Ads is the greatest digital advertising strategy.

  • If the target demographic already knows about the product, a company’s marketing budget should be focused on Google Ads, followed by a few Facebook efforts.
  • If, on the other hand, the market lacks the brand awareness to enable paid search, she advises starting with Facebook to create awareness before adding Google Ads later.
  • If customers are aware of the brand/product and know how to find it, Google Ads are typically recommended as a starting point for media dollars, with some Facebook initiatives, such as retargeting and mid-funnel advertising, layered in. However, if there isn’t enough brand awareness or search volume to support paid search, the tables shift.
  • In certain cases—or when there is too much competition in search and it becomes cost-prohibitive—it is recommended that you frontload other channels like Facebook and save some funding for the most cost-effective keywords in paid search.
  • Many users advise using the income from improved Google Ads to fund a Facebook expansion. Almost everyone should use Facebook, Google, Instagram, and YouTube Ads.
  • Perhaps someone sees your ad while searching on Google and clicks on it. You can then use retargeting to advertise to them on Facebook. You can also do it the other way around: start with Facebook and then retarget with Google.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Google Ads better than Facebook Ads?

Google Ads is considered better than Facebook Ads for specific marketing goals and business types. For instance, businesses in the service industry or those with need-based products find Google Ads better suited for their purpose.

Are Google Ads Effective?

Google Ads offers businesses an effective way of reaching customers by leveraging search. The effectiveness of ads, however, will depend on targeting, campaign strategy, and ad content.

Are Google Ads worth it?

Google Ads are generally considered a comparatively effective and affordable form of advertising since advertisers only have to pay when a user interacts with their ad. This plays a pivotal role in making Google Ads worthwhile, even for those with greater than average CPCs. Apart from this, Google Ads also offers promo codes to its customers.


This blog talks about the 5 critical differences between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads. It begins with the role of online advertising for your business and a brief introduction to Google Ads and Facebook Ads before diving into the differences. It all boils down to your campaign goal. It could be anything from sales and leads to brand awareness. Knowing this allows you to move in the right direction. Google Ads is good for demand capture which means reaching users with high purchase intent. Facebook Ads are a good pick for building brand awareness.

For any information on integrating Facebook Ads and Shopify and Best Facebook Ads you can visit the former links.

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