Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords: Which One Wins?

Facebook Advertising vs. Google AdWords: Which One Wins?
Jul 10, 2017 Digital Marketing

When it comes to paid media, Facebook advertisements and Google AdWords are both incredibly effective options depending on your company's marketing budget and goals. The growth of both of these advertising options over the years are phenomenal. From 2015 to 2016, Facebook experienced a 50 percent increase with active advertisers in addition to reaching three million advertisers. Also, this year, the social media network accounts for 65 percent of the ad spend and it is anticipated that it will reach $36 billion. The reason for this enormous growth is likely because of the growth of mobile technology and engaged users as well as Facebook's targeting capabilities.

Google has also fared well. From 2014 to 2015, Google experienced a 17 percent increase in total revenues. This increase was likely due to the growth of mobile, other ad formats and shopping.

But what do you do when you have to select only one advertising option? Which do you choose? Facebook advertisements or Google AdWords? Ultimately, there are some things that you need to consider before making the decision that is best suited for your company.

1. Online Advertising Budget and Average CPC

As a general rule, cost per click (CPC) is less expensive for Facebook ads than Google AdWords. In fact, for the third quarter in 2016, the average CPC for Facebook was $0.28 in the United States, while the average CPC for AdWords was $2.32. That's about an 88 percent difference. Therefore, if your advertising budget is small, then your best bet is going to be to opt for Facebook ads since it will allow you to get more for your money. (NOTE: Understand that pricing and CPC can be greatly affected by the search terms and/or industry you are in.)

However, it is important to realize that clicks aren't everything and it is possible to make Google AdWords work with small advertising budgets. Unfortunately, more often than not, advertisers just don't have the budget to compete on Google AdWords to see the results that they need (clicks and conversions) and will see on more affordable advertising channels, such as Facebook.

2. Industry and Competition.

When determining which channel you will use, you also need to look to the industry that you are in as well as your competition. The reason for this is because some industries are much more expensive than others when it comes to CPC. For example, some keywords are insanely expensive and could break you if you don't have a significant marketing budget. They are also hard to be successful in because of the large amount of competition. While this doesn't mean that you shouldn't use AdWords, it just means that Facebook may be more affordable in more powerful industries.

3. Define Your Objective.

When you have determined what your business can afford and you have thoroughly considered the industry and competition, you can now look to your end goal. What is it that you hope to achieve when this is all said and done? Is your goal to increase brand awareness or possibly to demand generation? If so, your best bet may be to go with Facebook ads. However, if your goal is to generate leads or boost sales, then AdWords will probably be better suited for you. This is because web users are searching for what your business is selling, which means that their intent to buy is usually significantly higher. However, as always, you need to always consider the costs. In some cases, cost-per-conversions can be cheaper with Facebook ads.

4. The Stage in Your Buyer's Journey.

It is also important to understand where your searcher is in the buyer's journey, as this will help you decide which channel to use for advertising. Do you want to capture your user when they are looking to buy a product or service? If so, then Google AdWords is your advertising channel. However, if you would like to build users up to your product or service more with awareness and consideration, then Facebook ads can help you do this.

5. Maturity of Your Product/Service and Search Volume.

Unfortunately, this particular point is often overlook. If your product or service has little to no search volume, then Google AdWords isn't going to do much for you in terms of traffic. However, it doesn't mean that you should rule it out completely. It simply means that you should look at keywords that surround a problem that your product/service may solve.

For example, one of the first Bluetooth trackers was Tile. A keyword like "Bluetooth tracker" may not have garnered much attention; however, keywords like "find your phone" and "find your wallet" could have gotten more hits.

Facebook ads can get you more awareness of your product/service, develop more brand recognition and explain the problem that your product/service solves. Then, this demand sets you up for success when you start with Google AdWords.

6. Product/Service That's Sensitive to Demographics.

In some cases, there will be one advertising channel that is better suited for your product or service than the other. For example, if the purchase of the product/service correlates to specific events in a user's life, then Facebook is definitely your best bet. This is because Facebook has exceptional targeting capabilities, including the ability to target audiences based on life-changing events. For example, you can target individuals who have recently had babies, become engaged, gotten married, turned 65 (eligible for Medicare), etc. All of these life events can easily be targeted through Facebooks ads, but they cannot be targeted with precision through Google AdWords. However, if you have a product or service that does not appeal to a specific or small audience, then it will likely be advertised more effectively via AdWords.

7. Brand Recognition.

Although this one may not be as crucial as the rest of the points outlined in this article, brand recognition still needs to be pointed out. If you're a start-up company, it is obvious that you'll be less successful than more established organizations within the same industry. The primary reason for this is because your competition has had time to build more brand recognition as well as brand loyalists. So, when users see your advertisements, they do not see a company that they recognize; however, when they see your competitor's advertisements, they do a company that they do recognize. As a result, they see success in your competitor's advertisements, which leads to a higher click-through rate.

All you need to do is build your brand up. This can easily be done through Facebook advertisements as well as other channels. Do this before moving into Google AdWords. This will drastically improve your odds of success when you do decide to use AdWords.


As you have likely figured out, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to the question asked at the beginning of this article: Which do you choose? Facebook advertisements or Google AdWords? It all depends on a number of factors, as outlined above. To decide on the answer, you need to sit down and take a long, hard look and what you are wanting to achieve from your advertisements and your available budget for marketing. Those are probably the two most crucial factors when deciding which advertising platform is best suited for your business. The others are simply supporting factors.

If you are still uncertain which is best for your business or brand, feel free to reach out to us at WebDetail for guidance or to simply hand over the reins and let us handle your digital marketing and advertising for you.