For a long time, marketers considered Facebook and Google AdWords as adversaries. It’s the long-standing rivalry between Facebook and Google that depicted raw evidence that the two were direct competitors, perhaps ready to go any mile to scoop the market. With that in place, marketers had to make difficult decisions on the best platform for their marketing goals. However, the perception was falsely peddled and remains a stumbling block for the novice online marketers.

While the two companies stand as direct competitors, its public knowledge of what the two provides. Most recently, companies have leveraged the benefits of advertising in Facebook and Google Ads to get maximum visibility, improved sales, and high customer retention. They can adapt to different challenges the help to align with particular platforms in compliance with the terms of the advertising firms. While the two platforms hold enormous potential for online marketers, you need to know how each work to best craft your marketing strategies.

Wondering why the growing talk about Facebook and Google advertising? Worry no more; it’s the continual growth that attracts interests across the markets. Studies show that about 2 billion people visit Facebook monthly attracting more than 2 million advertisers, with Google attracting more than 3.5 billion searches daily. While there is no official report on the number of advertisers on Google platform, it was estimated in the region of 4 million in the year 2015.

In 2016, the two companies scooped 80% of the overall ad spend, with Facebook increasing the number of advertisers by 50% in 2016. The social media network accounted for 65% of the entire social media waste due to the networks’ targeting capability, increased and mobile engagements. On another front, Google achieved a 17% increase in advertising revenues primarily attributed to the new shopping formats, expanded mobile gadgets, and the ever-changing algorithms. Before you can jump on the wagon, you need to know the differences between Facebook and Google advertising.

Google AdWords

adwords logo

Widely known as paid advertising, Google AdWords remains the most popular PPC advertising tool across the globe. The method entails targeting specific keywords while using text-based advertisements to convey your message while attracting new leads. In simple terms, advertisers use bids on keywords in the hope that the information entered appears on the most frequent searches bearing similar words or phrases. The cost of the method depends on the number of clicks that each ad attracts hence the name pay per click ads. In this regards, users pay for the potential to generate new leads and capture new clients based on target keywords they use on the search engine.

Facebook advertising


Also known as the paid social, the method entails airing advertisements via social media. Relatively new to the marketing arena but perhaps the most promising for those with segmented clientele. The site leads to the number of monthly active users hence highly competitive when it comes to securing advertising space. While the two platforms resemble the fact that they both use the internet to promote businesses, paid search allows companies to find customers while paid social gears towards users finding your business. As to which of the two suits your business interests depends on the following:

The business objective

Whatever the business activity, you must have a compelling reason why you want to advertise your products or business. You could be looking for improved awareness, acquiring leads, increasing sales, or provoking the users to engage with your products. The choice of the platform will solely depend on the exact goal you need to drive through the Ads. With a vast pre-existing ad Campaigns options, Facebook is deemed the versatile of the two. They are best suited for marketing campaigns anytime you want to drive engagement, enhance brand awareness as well as promote upcoming events. On another front, Google ads seem to take the lead when you need to acquire leads and improve sales.

The level of product visibility

If your marketing campaign is not impacting on the total sales revenue, it could be time for you to rethink your strategy. Google ads will only work when people start making queries related to the targeted keywords, which means the buyers in the consideration and decision stages. On the contrary, Facebook users will find your products as they browse to pass the time and if it appeals to them enquire about it. No one logs into the social media with the urge to find products hence the need to target buyers using Google ads.

Facebook ads are best suited if you just want to create awareness which often forms the basis for Google Queries that leads to purchase. It often provides a platform where potential clients form an opinion about the brands. On another front, Google users are likely to see other ads from competitors when they make a query. If your product or service has no compelling attributes to force a purchase, you are as well waiting for your money on Google Ads. Brand awareness, trust, and identity remain vital components for you to succeed in Google ads.

Type of the product

answers to problems

When it comes to online queries, people find answers to problems they have already identified. In other cases, they will pose questions to inquire more about a particular product that caught their attention on another platform. If you have just launched a unique product, the chances are that no one knows it hence no searches related to the product. While you can target specific keywords, you do not expect substantial sales are emanating from such efforts. That’s when you turn to Facebook ads to provide the initial interactive interface between your customers and the product. As if not enough, visually appealing ads tend to work best on Facebook that Google is owing to the text-based formats provided by the search engine.

The budget

With an increased appetite to consume online advertising space, companies have found it hard to compete for the limited spaces available on Facebook and Google. It is almost impossible to maintain a well-oiled campaign for several weeks without falling below the competition for a day or two. That is not the only problem; the cost of advertising has gone high, and there is no sign that it will go low, owing to the number of clients making online purchases.


If your budget is likely to play a part on the choice of the advertising platform, you need to fact the cost per click as well as the cost per acquisition. For the last three years, Facebook has given a lower CPC than the AdWords averaging at $0.28 versus $2.32 at the Q3 of the year 2016. If that sounds good enough for you to select Facebook, you have not evaluated the cost per acquisition. If the Cost per click is ten times lower in Facebook ads than the AdWords, but Google provides a higher conversion rate, you will end up spending more on Facebook for less. It helps to carefully analyze both CPA and CPC before you can act based on the general perception that Facebook ads are relatively cheap.

The target audience

Unlike the AdWords, Facebook offers an exceptionally detailed targeting alternative thanks to the enormous user base. While Google could take pride in the number of users per day, the social network provides somewhat detailed information about the users which helps the marketers to target a particular demographic. Without a specific demographic in mind, you could find yourself targeting the wrong audience or rather making general information that does not appeal to particular clientele.

Marketers can, therefore, choose the target audience based on specific factors such as marital status, age, gender, interests, profession, academic qualifications, and geographic locations. On the other hand, AdWords presents your advertisements to anyone making generic searches hence no limits onto the level of visibility your brand receives. Nevertheless, a click on Google AdWords directs users to a landing page where the website design, branding, and sales copy create the first impression to the users. Be sure to keep the number of ads low as tons of team are likely to lower your online trustworthiness. Google is keen on the number of visitors that bounce quickly and is expected to rank your site low depriving you the much-needed visibility.

As to whether there is a winner between the two giant’s remains a great debate that cannot end here. They maintain the online advertising duopoly whose trend remains unpredictable with the ever-changing business environment. While Facebook might sound appealing on different fronts, some might find it useful to do it with AdWords for their brands. If you have enough money, you may consider running the campaigns on both fronts, which would instead work in a complementary manner.