Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: What’s the Difference?

Choosing between Google Ads vs Facebook Ads can be a tough decision. Deciding which is right for your business depends on a variety of factors, from the spend you’re willing to pay for a conversion to the time and personnel you have to manage the ad campaigns.

In this post, we’ll explain the difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads—the goals you can achieve on each platform, the visual differences between the two, and the advantages of each in growing your business, so you can make an informed decision on how to best grow your business using these advertising platforms.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that runs advertisements, paid for by businesses. These ads appear in the search results on, or other websites through Google’s Search Partners or Display Network.

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The core of Google Ads is the Search Network, which allows advertisers to show their businesses’ ads to users who are actively searching for products or services that your business offers.

Within the Search Network, keywords are the center of your search campaign. You select keywords that are relevant to your product or business, then when a user searches for a query related to your keyword - they will trigger an ad that shows up on the SERPs for a user to click on.

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Each time a user clicks on an ad, the advertiser is charged a certain amount of money, earning the name “pay-per-click” advertising. You’ll assign each keyword a “Max CPC” which tells Google how much you are willing to pay to have someone click on your ad.

Overall, the main goal of advertising on Google is to drive new (or existing) customers to your website who are actively searching for the product or service that you provide.

What are Facebook Ads?

Similar to Google, Facebook Ads are paid ads that - you guessed it - appear on Facebook.

Facebook Ads can appear in a number of different places such as:

  • Facebook Newsfeed
  • Instagram Newsfeed
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Video Feeds
  • Right-hand column
  • Messenger inbox

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll be focusing on the Facebook Newsfeed placements as newsfeed makes up the bulk of Facebook’s ad business.

Facebook has become highly competitive over the years, with the highest amount of monthly active users of any social media platform creating the optimal space for a variety of businesses to advertise on. pasted image 0 11

While Google Ads can be considered to have active user intent, Facebook Ads are more passive. Facebook Ads are shown to users not actively searching for a specific product or service, but rather, ads will appear within a users’ Newsfeed.

Advantages of Google Ads

Is Google Ads worth it? Advertisers seem to ask that question more often than not, but there are a number of differences that make Google Ads stand out. Check out the main reasons why Google Ads is the most popular and widely used PPC platform.

One huge difference & advantage between Google & Facebook is that Google helps you find new customers in a variety of ways.

Potential Audience Reach

Google has the largest audience potential of any advertising platform. Google handles more than 75,000 search queries every second, averaging out to about 2 trillion searches per year, with the potential to reach new users on every single search.

Although there is massive reach associated with Google Ads, something to note is that other than keyword targeting, your options are limited to basic user demographics such as age, gender, income, etc.

Wide Range of Ad Formats

As Google Ads has grown over the years, so has the number of ad formats available to advertisers.

In addition to the ad formats, advertisers have endless options of add-ons such as sitelink extensions, location extensions, price extensions, call extensions, and more to drive qualified traffic for your specific business need.

Ad Format Options:

Advertiser Equality

Although some people think that you need to have a large digital advertising budget to be competitive on Google, that’s not actually true! 🙌 Google Ads’ auction operates on a 3-step system:

  • Quality of Ad
    • Is your ad relevant and useful?
  • Expected Impact of Ad
    • Use of extensions
  • Keyword Bid
    • The maximum amount you are willing to pay for a click on your ad

So, if you don’t have a million-dollar advertising budget, fear not. Just make sure your ads are well written, helpful, and utilize all relevant extensions.

Advantages of Facebook Ads

Facebook first rolled out its advertising platform in 2007, with a long list of changes and updates since then. The main advantage of Facebook Ads is its powerful audience targeting - but there are a few other advantages that are worth reading about before you make your decision.

Audience Targeting

Currently, there are over 2.37 billion active monthly users on Facebook, with this number growing daily. Although this number alone is huge, the real strength lies within how granular Facebook can target this massive amount of people.

It’s no secret Facebook users share a large portion of their life online (weddings 💍, children 👶, new careers 🖥, etc). Users also search for and interact with content regarding personal interests whether it be businesses they frequent, products, ideas or services. All this available data allows advertisers to find their perfect audience by narrowing down their search to a niche group of people using Facebook audience & interest targeting.

One of Facebook’s most well-known targeting options is “lookalike audiences” which allows an advertiser to upload information about their current customer base to Facebook, which can then create an audience that is similar to the original customer base. This new list will prospect new users who have the same interests and consumer behavior as existing customers. Scary, right?

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Strong ROI on Limited Budgets

Facebook isn’t only known for it’s stellar audience reach - it’s also widely known as one of the most affordable advertising platforms available today.

Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads Cost

On average, depending on vertical & location, Facebook CPCs tend to be around 56% lower than their Google counterparts. While CTR is generally lower on Facebook as compared to Google, the conversion rate is remarkably higher, around 9-10% on Facebook while Google hovers around 3.75%.

This low-cost, high ROI model makes Facebook a very likable platform for small businesses that need to make their limited advertising budgets count.

Visual Ads

A large advantage of Facebooks Ads over Google Ads is how visual and seamless the ads are integrated into the platform compared to Google’s text ads.

The most effective Facebook Ads should blend into a user's Newsfeed along with all the videos, images, and other content a user scrolls through daily. This integration allows advertisers to portray high-quality video and image “sponsored” content without interrupting the flow of information.

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Facebook has a number of ad formats, some of which recently got a facelift, so if you’re interested in a more in-depth read, check out this blog post.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Which One Should You Use?

Seer’s best advice is to view these two powerhouse platforms in a complementary way, not as competitors. Utilizing Paid Search & Paid Social together is a highly effective & holistic marketing strategy that can have a major ROI impact for your business.

But if you just rolled your eyes at my last statement and came here to truly find out which one you should be using -- I see you 👀.

It really comes down to your business goals and what you are setting out to achieve. If your business's main KPI is to reach new customers who are in the buying process, Google Ads may be a better fit for you. But if building your brand awareness & compiling a strong audience is your main KPI, Facebook will get you there, at a lower cost than Google.

Interested in PPC, Paid Social, or both, but not sure how to get started? Hit us up & Seer’s PPC & Paid Social team would love to chat with ya!


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