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Facebook Vs Google: Where to Focus Your Digital Ad Efforts

When it comes to paid ad campaigns, most marketers find it difficult to choose the channel. So Darcy Bickham from SOCi has penned some tips to ease this selection process
Facebook Ads Manager

When it comes to digital advertising, the big question is, where should your business focus its efforts? There are so many channels – it can be impossible to decide where to spend your valuable time and money. Let’s start with the big ones and investigate the key differences between Google and Facebook ads to help you determine which ads best fit your business’s goals. Facebook and Google ads have a lot of similarities. For instance, both have billions of active users with countless targeting options. If your business only has the budget to run ad campaigns across one of the two platforms, though, it’s essential to look at the high-level differences between the two.


Facebook advertising is managed through Facebook Ads Manager and has the tools needed to create ad campaigns across multiple business locations. You can deploy localized creative, copy, CTAs, etc. for each location you serve with various campaign objectives. Facebook ads are ideal for campaigns that increase brand awareness, drive engagement, generate leads, and increase registrations to events.

It’s important to note that some of Facebook’s targeting options are changing due to Apple’s iOS14 update. The new update includes an opt out of data tracking when users download an app. There will still be various ways to choose your target audience on Facebook through profile data, location data, and demographics. Ad campaigns can be split by Apple and non-Apple users and by mobile and desktop audiences. While Facebook Analytics shut down in June, Facebook has other reporting options that provide in-depth analysis of ad performance.


There are many types of Google Ads, however, we’ll focus on the Google Ad Words pay-per-click advertising that allows businesses to display their ads on Google’s search engine results pages (SERP). When you search on Google, the results you see at the top of the page are typically ads. For your business to appear in the ads, you must bid on keywords that are relevant to your business or industry. Your bid is part of what Google considers when deciding whether to show your ad on the SERP, but the ad’s relevance is also a big factor. The more related your ad is to a Google search, the more likely it is to appear on the SERP.

Google has ad options that are great to test at the local level as well. Google also offers local service ads and local inventory ads. Both ad types are based on a pay-per-lead, not a pay-per-click model. They rank businesses on the SERP based on positive reviews and proximity to the searcher. As you can see, Google ads are a great way to drive more traffic to your website and increase brand visibility.

While there are benefits to both, it isn’t easy to choose one over the other without looking at a few factors your business should consider.

Maximize Your Budget 

Consider how you’re charged for the ad. While Google Ads charges on a pay-per-click or pay-per-lead basis, budget allocation can be a little more flexible on Facebook. Facebook allows advertisers to evenly spread budgets across a selected timeline and can be set to achieve certain objectives. So instead of bidding on keywords, you could be paying for cost per engagement or reach. If the keywords your company wants to bid on through Google Ads are expensive, your money may go further on Facebook. Of course, if the keywords are inexpensive, it may be worth testing an ad campaign on Google. Each platform allows you to set a daily budget, but it’s up to you to determine where your money is best used.

Next, consider what type of advertising will resonate most with your audience most. Facebook will enable you to conduct more experiences and decide what types of campaigns most efficiently engage your target audience. Google AdWords, has simple text-based ads, but you can target specific keywords, which typically means that you reach people who are already interested in what your business has to offer.

Follow the Buyer’s Journey

If your business wants to run a brand awareness campaign, Facebook is the place to go. Facebook is not a platform where people have the intention to buy a product or find a service, but a localized social presence is vital to drive upper-funnel brand awareness and establish authentic connections with your local customers and community. This area of marketing has become essential for new product and service discovery, making it a great place to advertise to people who are in the awareness and consideration phase of the buyer’s journey.

Google is on the other side of the spectrum. Google receives over 3.5 billion searches every day. This vital marketing area is the first place consumers turn when they have a defined need. If your multi-location business wants to reach an audience that is further down the consideration stage or even in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, Google is the place to advertise.

Learn From Your Past

Impactful digital advertising takes a lot of learning and adapting from successes and misses in the past. The ability to assess real time data and make shifts in strategy make it superior to passive advertising of more traditional channels like print or broadcast.

Have you already tested various types of advertising campaigns? What has worked best for your business in the past? If you haven’t already used digital advertising, is there any competitor data you can look at? Knowing what has worked best for your business or others in the industry can help inform your decisions. Testing is for engagement and efficacy always recommended but finding what works and repeating it is always a strong strategy.

Build a Winning Ad Campaign

You’re now equipped with all the information you need to make an informed decision on whether Facebook Ads or Google Ads would better suit your business’s needs. If you don’t find success in your advertising campaigns right away, give it time. It can often take a period of trial and error to get your campaigns up and running effectively.

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Darcy Bicham
Darcy Bickham is a graduate from Texas A&M University and has worked in education related fields for the past four years. Over the years she has developed experience writing on a variety of topics including business, local politics, transportation, and both primary and higher education.

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