BlogWarning: You’re losing money by NOT knowing the differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

September 1, 2020

So, then which one’s better for your business so you don’t make any costly mistakes.

If you’re like most people, then you wake up, unlock your smartphone and check your notifications.

Who doesn’t, right?

We all do it, and we all love our phones. Which means we’re in a full digital world and if you want to speak to people this is the most effective way to do it.

But, don’t make the mistake and forget about mobile devices.


Because mobile devices account for nearly 60% of paid-search clicks.

Further to the high usage of mobile devices and the need to optimise for these devices you need to think about how you’re going to speak or sell to your target market.

Do you use traditional website display ads? Or website banner ads?

Well, did you know, from 2018 to 2019 the total number of devices around the world with ad blockers jumped up from 142 million to over 615 million. Which means these display ads on websites are an utter waste of advertisers money because they’ll never get seen.

In a world where information is constantly being thrown at us in every direction we are actively switching off now, more than ever before. Here are reasons why people are using ad blockers in 2019.

Taken from a Blue Corona Measurable Marketing Solutions PPC statistics study completed in February 2019.

So when it comes to your advertising you need to turn to the two giants in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising for your ads to get seen.

  • Facebook ads
  • Google ads (previously Google AdWords)

These the giant industry leaders everyone knows, right?

Of course.

And, if you have the resources to focus on using both tools for your business, you’ll reap the benefits by maximising your audience’s reach.

But, if not and your business in its early days or not yet in a position to manage using both platforms efficiently then don’t make the mistake of taking on more than you can afford. Or, more than you can understand.

It’s best to start by implementing one at a time.

Taking time allows you the opportunity to understand each platform individually on a better level. Helping to minimise costly mistakes which can arise from confusion. Get your business to focus management of one platform. Don’t take on too much too soon. Otherwise, you could fail and make a mess of both.

Google ads and Facebook ads are similar in many ways, they’re both promoted as easy to get started with. But the reality is there’s comprehensive sets of targeted and advanced advertising features.

Each platform has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

The question is, how do you know which option to go with first?

Well, the answer, like many factors of running a business,  is not a one-size-fits-all.

It would be best if you chose the platform based on what’s ideal for your unique business the purpose of the campaign.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to work out the right answer once you have an idea of a few essential definitions and underlying concepts.

Disclaimer: We know memorising and learning new technical jargon is not everyone’s strong suit, so we’ve included a dictionary and glossary on pages 15-16 of all the Google Ads and Facebook Ads related words and abbreviations mentioned in this ebook.

You’re welcome.

You can come back and refer to them as these are words you’ll come across a lot once you set up your advertising campaign with either platform.

So, let’s kick this off with a thorough intro into,

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

If you’re new to PPC, then your priority should be researching to get a working understanding of your options.

So by reading this, you’re on the right track.

Good job.

We understand PPC advertising can seem intimidating at first, but it’s a relatively easy concept to grasp after some reading. Like everything worthwhile, it takes significant time and energy to be an expert on any PPC platform.

If you’re already an expert in PPC, but you’re here in the interests of your clients, (who want to be advertising everywhere but lack in their knowledge of Facebook or Google ) then share this ebook with them or refer any of our sections to help bridge the gap of information.

It would help if you let them know why you’re opting for one or the other as the best platform for them. So handing your clients this short guide or referring to the relevant sections to help them understand is a significant step in the right direction.

So, what is PPC / Pay Per Click Advertising? 

PPC stands for pay-per-click, which is a model of internet marketing. With PPC, businesses pay a fee to the advertiser. In this instance you’ll pay Facebook or Google for each time one of your ads is clicked on.

Think of it this way.

By paying these platforms, you’re getting the help of their power and authority to drive people to your website.

Instead of waiting for visitors to come organically.  Organically is the internet term used for getting a visitor to your website or social media platform without paying for it.

Both the platforms are flexible.

You can determine what you’re willing to pay and choose to spend more or less, based on your campaign’s results over time.


Because PPC operates as a bidding process where those who pay more for their site visits, will rank higher on search engine paid / sponsored results.

So, some ‘clicks’ end up being more expensive than others.

And, you’ll need to bid higher for more popular search terms in competitive markets. As search engines to distinguish who should rank higher out of their paid customers.

PPC is the highest percentage of digital ad spend

  • Google maintains 37.2% of the digital advertising market
  • Facebook maintains 19%

And, according to an article released by the ABC on the first of May 2019, Australian’s spent

  • $4.3 billion on Google Ads in 2018
  • More than half a billion on Facebook Ads in 2018

What Is Search Engine Advertising? Is It The Same As Search Engine Marketing or PPC?

The answer to all questions is yes.

One of the most popular forms of PPC is Search Engine Advertising, as some people may call it. However, it’s usually known as Search Engine Marketing or SEM. By utilising SEM for your business, you’re essentially paying to increase the visibility of your site with a higher placement of your business’s ad on search engine results based on keywords searched.

You’ll notice on search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ecosia the first couple of search results display as paid ads, indicated by a small tag which reads ‘ad’.


Here you can see the difference between the paid ad and the organic listing. 


Wait a minute.


Facebook isn’t a search engine, how does it fit into all this?


You’re right, it most certainly isn’t a search engine, but it’s an appropriate option in PPC advertising. Consider the wealth of personal and business profiles, interest groups and pages and all the information on consumers and markets accessible on Facebook.


It’s no secret.


Facebook is the world’s most popular social media site. So, when it comes to increasing visibility and traffic for your business, it’s a powerful advertising platform to use.


We look at this further in paid social.

Besides one being a search engine and one not, we have many more differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads to explore.

For a simple breakdown of Facebook and Google’s key differences in advertising, we’ve included the below infographic by AgencyAnalytics. Continue reading below for a more comprehensive comparison of the two and how each will benefit your business in its way.

Ok, So, What’s Really The Difference Between Facebook Ads and Google Ads?

First things first.

What’s the same?

When you use Google and Facebook, you’ll see ads.

Ads every single time.

And, as said above they both operate on a pay-per-click basis. This means when you create an ad campaign on either platform, you are essentially paying to increase your business’ visibility by setting a price for each click of your ad.

Now, back to the difference.

The Difference Between Paid Search and Paid Social

Google and Paid Search

Google Ads was originally known as a form of paid search. Paid search is paying to have your business listing featured on a search engine results page (SERP) like Google’s search results page.

When you use paid search, the placement of your ad on a SERP gets based on target keywords, instead of targeting a demographic or audience.

Here’s an example below of a common search below,

Wait a minute.

You’ve heard people fear paid search and say organic is better?

Don’t worry, we’ve heard this too but have a look at these stats.

From 2016 to 2017, only 7% of people in the USA viewed pay-per-click ads as bad. Which means they associate them with negativity.


From 2017 to 2018, only 1% of people in the USA viewed Google Ads as a negative thing.

The population is over 350 million people in the USA which means, there’s a lot of people who’ll click on a Google Ad.


In 2018, internet traffic driven through pay-per-click advertisements brought around 50% more lead conversions than organic web traffic.

Mind blowing.

The Range of Google Ads Tools

Today, Google Ads offers a lot more than just paid search, and the name change was a means of reflecting this broad range of advertising tools beyond paid search and keywords.

You can use Google Ads to create advertising campaigns around:

  • Google Search – We’re focusing on this feature when we talk about Google Ads.
  • Youtube
  • Google Display Network
  • Google Adsense
  • Google Maps
  • Google Play Advertising


Here’s an idea of what a Google advertising campaign may look like. Image sourced from

Now, you understand a bit about paid search and Google’s advertising tools, let’s compare it with what kind of advertising Facebook offers as a social media platform.

Facebook and Paid Social 

With Facebook Ads, you’re using paid social advertising. Similar to paid search, paid social allows you to get your business’s ad to surface and rank more favourably amongst all the noise on a Facebook News Feed.

Here’s an example of what Facebook Ads look like, image sourced from


Given the vast numbers of businesses, advertisers and creators already on Facebook and all the recent updates on the platform’s algorithms, it has become more difficult than ever for brands to reach their customers or followers and gain new leads organically.

With paid social; using Facebook Ads, you can pay to get your business in front of potential customers via Facebook, instead of trying to target them organically.

The Range of Facebook Ads Tools 

Also, again, like Google Ads has expanded to include several advertising tools and platforms in its range, so does Facebook. Choosing Facebook Ads allows you to advertise on:

  • Facebook News Feed
  • Instagram Ads
  • Audience Network
  • Facebook Messenger

Now you have an understanding of the difference and range of tools available with each option,

Let’s Compare.

Google Ads VS Facebook Ads – What’s Better in 2019?

01. Audience Size and Reach

Seriously, do you know anybody who isn’t  familiar with Google or Facebook?

They’re two of the world’s most talked about, most popular tech giants for a reason.

Their expansive reach.

Chances are, your target audience spreads across both platforms.

Think about this.

  • Daily, Google handles more than 3.5 billion searches.
  • Facebook has an estimated 1.45 billion daily active users and over 2.2 billion users in total.

IMPORTANT: Don’t overlook mobile engagement when considering your audience. People are reliant on their phones and give more attention to small screens. As consumer habits in 2018 showed us.

Facebook mobile advertising revenue made up approximately 91% of total advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2018.

Although both platforms have phenomenal numbers in terms of their reach, the type of attention they reach in their audiences is strikingly different. To determine which platform should be your priority based on your audience needs, think about which ads your audience is currently using and also consider the following.

Is my audience community-based and reliant on recommendations, information or engagement from my business to get sales?

Yes: Facebook ads

No: Google Ads

Is my product, or are my sales, search-oriented? 

Yes: Google Ads

No: Facebook Ads

Is my product new to the market and has not garnered a following or search demand yet?

Yes: Facebook

No: Google

If you resonate more with the community-based questions, new product questions or feel your point of sale is not overly dependent on your product or service search, then Google Ads probably shouldn’t be your priority. Even with their billions of searches carried out daily, they will not benefit your company so much if your product is not known or commonly searched for.

02. Buying Intent

You’ll come across words like ‘commercial intent’, ‘buying intent’ or even’ commercial intent keywords’. These all refer to the same concept – indicators of the consumer’s intent to purchase a product or service.

There are three types of keywords and how searches intend to purchase or search for a product or service. They’re described below in this chart taken from Freelancers Hub.


A typical example of keywords with a high level of commercial intent are ones which include ‘buy now’ or ‘order now’ related terms. In most cases, somebody wouldn’t enter these kinds of words into a search engine if they had no intent to purchase a product.

It’s important to note that although it can be important for sales leads, focusing on buying intent for paid search may not be the best way to generate leads for all business types.

Consider your business niche and your customers.

Do people tend to search for the products or services you offer when they’re ready to make a purchase or near the point of sale?

Yes: Google Ads May Be Your Real Deal

For example, if someone needs hygiene or safety-related services like pest control for their home or business, they won’t want to delay in finding a company which provides the service. Search ads on Google would place your pest control business in front of a potential customer at the exact time they need your assistance.

Customers probably won’t remember the business featured in a pest control advertisement that popped up on their Facebook Feed a year prior, back when they had no pest problem (unless it was the best ad ever). So if your focus is on converting leads at the point of sale or search, Google Ads is your winner.

In this process, Google Maps and Google Reviews can also enhance your credibility to one-up your business from your competitors and get you more leads.

No: You Value Following Over Urgency? Facebook May Be For You

Facebook ads are not as effective for converting leads in a fast, efficient manner. As a social media platform, the main aim of users is to socialise or entertain themselves during their free time rather than facilitating active shopping and getting things done immediately.

What Facebook is useful for is building your audience and a following. If you can create brand recognition and a sense of community on social media, your followers will be more likely to buy when they need your service or product.

This can also mean increased potential for new leads based on the reviews and customers who talk about and tag your product/service or page on Facebook.

So, if your campaign objective is to build a brand image rather than immediate conversions, Facebook is going to be the best choice for you.

03. Targeting Options

Google Ads and Facebook Ads both offer you numerous options for targeting specific audiences. On both platforms, you can target by demographics such as:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income level

Are you after advanced targeting options?

If so, Facebook is your unmatched clear-winner here.

Facebook Ads offers audience targeting based on all of the above, but its significant advantage is its access to diverse data. Just think of all the information on demographic interests and behaviours which get collected from their database of 2.27 billion users.

There’s a Facebook group, page, hashtag or post related to practically every topic under the sun. These are invaluable to businesses which address issues and interests in a niche area.

For example. Are you targeting teenage musicians who live in Australia’s East Coast, are on a low income and studying at university? Or, are you targeting vegan parents, who are in lucrative jobs and live in Eastern Europe?

Facebook has access to all these interest groups – and this information isn’t even particularly technical for their standards. You can target specific audiences and interests deeper and more specific than we’ve ever been able to before.

The intelligent platform also offers a useful tool called Lookalike Audiences, which and Custom Audience allows you to advertise to people similar to your existing audience. Facebook uses your audience’s existing data to match you to same followers and customers, potentially creating new audiences.

Without a doubt, it’s the preferred solution for advertising to a specific or niche audience.

04. Ad Formats

Let’s talk about the visible formats of the ads on Facebook and Google. Both afford you the ability to create custom ad content based on what you are advertising.

You’ve got more creativity on Facebook Ads for sure. This makes it a much better platform for building brand awareness and loyalty.

With Google Ads, although, they’ve introduced a few advances as of recently, you are a bit limited in terms of your ad format. Mainly, all you’ll have is a short block of text to catch potential customers’ eyes on the SERPs (search engine results page). You can use ad extensions for extra text and information, but overall, your format is going to be limited to text and specific word and character counts.

A more recent feature, Google Display Network, allows you to use imagery within SERPs and get your products in front of your customers earlier in the buying cycle.


Here’s an example of Google Shopping Ads. Searchers are able to view such things as selection, reviews and prices before clicking through to a website. Image taken from

Similarly, their affiliation with Youtube allows the thumbnails and titles of the video content displayed on Youtube to appear in SERPs also. It’s worthwhile exploring Google Maps, Google My Business and Reviews for customising how your business will appear in search results for more significant impact. Ultimately though, expanding your reach through Google Ads is based on looking in a search.

Facebook Ads, on the other hand, allows you a more customizable approach to your message by using image-based ads on users’ news feeds.  The platform rolls out varying ad formats over time and throughout the lifespan of your campaigns to avoid “ad fatigue”.


With Facebook, you can capture the attention of your audience with ad formats by including content like:

  • Videos
  • Images
  • Carousel ads


If your business is more eCommerce-oriented, the visual component of Facebook Ads should be a huge consideration when deciding your first choice of platform.

05. The Costs

The final point to consider is the price-point.

A cost analysis of the two is heavily dependent on your business’ specific preferences. Merely asking ‘which is cheaper, Facebook Ads or Google Ads’ will not provide you with a clear-cut answer. There are several ways to calculate which platform is “cheaper” for you.

The two main ways you can look at it is,

Which is cheaper based on the price of the actual ad and pay per click?

Which will provide me with a more significant return on investment (ROI)?

In most cases, you’ll find Facebook Ads to be considerably cheaper to use than Google Ads. The silver lining, though, it’s more likely to be less effective when taking into account direct sales or acquisitions.

When talking about PPC, both Facebook and Google offer rates as low as 1 cent. However, the chances of cheap-as-chips ads and bidding low prices, being useful for you are rather slim. Especially if you’re in a high-demand industry where all your competitors are using Google Ads,

So, the more you invest in PPC, the better your chances are of ranking higher and getting better results.

So the riddle-like answer here is Facebook Ads is usually cheaper in terms of PPC but with Google Ads, paying more is more likely to pay off in sales.

It would help if you kept in mind how many exceptions will impact your ROI results significantly.

If you’re in a specific niche industry, your PPC rates on Google Ads, even if you pay more, will likely be less competitive – but absolutely no match for the capacity you’ll have on Facebook to reach your market and get sales conversions.


This brings us back to the drawing board of why it’s essential that you understand your overall business objective and Google Ads and Facebook Ads’ functional differences. So, you’re able to choose between the two.

If one option hasn’t jumped out at you as more preferable than the other to your business, review points 1-5 above and ask yourself all the questions mentioned.

With the right guidance and strategy, you can create a cost-effective campaign on either platform. Just be sure you track your results and your ROI, so you can back up your decision or try out the alternative if you’re not satisfied.

For further clarification on any of the above concepts, ask our team of experts at Search Marketing Group because we specialise in,

  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Google Ads
  • Facebook Ads Management


Ad fatigue: Refers to a decline in the performance of an advertisement after an audience has repeatedly viewed the same ad for an extended period.

Audience Network: (a feature of Facebook Ads) Allows advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile sharing apps.

Adwords: (now known as Google Ads) also referred to as ‘Google Adwords’, is the online advertising platform developed by Google.

Carousel ads: An online advertisement which shows multiple images and has a call to action link.

Commercial intent: also known as ‘buying intent’ or even’ commercial intent keywords’. These all refer to the same concept – indicators of consumer intent to buy a product or service.

CPC: Cost Per Click advertising (also known as PPC) internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites, in which an advertiser pays a publisher when the ad gets clicked on.

Facebook Ads:  (Facebook Advertising) Refers to all types of advertisements on Facebook and

Facebook News Feed: The feature on facebook where users view all posted content and advertisements.

Google Ads: (Formerly ‘Google Adwords’, or ‘Adwords’) is the online advertising platform developed by Google.

Google Adsense: A feature of Google Ads, that allows you to monetise your website or Youtube channel using it for ad placement.

Google Display Network: Comprises of two networks, the Search Network and the Display Network. When advertising on the Search Network, businesses place text ads in the search engine results whereas, On the Display Network, companies place display ads on an extensive network of sites across the internet.

Google Maps: A web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets, real-time traffic conditions, and route planning for travelling by foot, car, bicycle, or public transportation.

Google My Business: A free Google feature which allows you to create a business profile to place in Google Maps and Google Search.

Google Play: Google’s official pre-installed app store on Android devices. It provides access to free and purchasable content, including apps, books, magazines, music, movies, and television programs.

Google Search: (also referred to as Google Web Search or only Google) is the web search engine.

Instagram: A photo and video-sharing social networking site owned by Facebook.

Keywords: The words or phrases within your online content that make your website visible in search engines.

Paid advertising: Any advertising that involves the marketer paying for ad space in exchange for the use of the space.

Paid search: (a form of paid advertising) Sponsored or PPC ads on search engines such as Google, Bing, Firefox, Yahoo

Paid social: (a form of paid advertising) Sponsored or PPC ads on social networks / social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn.

PPC: (Pay Per Click advertising) is an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to websites. Each time the ad is clicked on is when the advertiser pays.

SEM: (Search Engine Marketing) The form of internet advertising that involves the promotion of businesses by increasing their visibility in search engine results – mainly via paid advertising.

SERPs: (Search Engine Results Page) The page of results that appears when using a search engine.

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