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PPC 18 min read January 14, 2021

Facebook Ads Or Google Ads: Which To Use In 2021 + Infographic

facebook ads or google ads
Vlada Malysheva
Olusola David
Founder of Torchbankz
Are you stuck choosing between Facebook ads and Google ads? As a marketer, you want to get the best ROI from your advertising budget. To assist you with that, here's a detailed comparison of both platforms.
Statistics have it that the average advertisers on Google make $2 for every $1 spent. On the other hand, Facebook has an average conversion rate of 9%.

Both look promising but for most small businesses, this is still a tight decision to make because they:

  • have a tight budget
  • are just getting started with PPC advertising (and are scared to just dabble into it)
  • aren't getting results yet
While Facebook ads and Google ads are the two biggest pay-per-click advertising companies, you want to ensure you are getting the best ROI on your advertising budget.

Facebook ads or Google ads? Let's review the two together.

What are Google Ads?

Google ads (also known as Google AdWords) is the oldest and best pay-per-click advertising platform.

Owned by the biggest search engine itself, Google AdWords allows advertisers to run paid ads using a search algorithm to display ads.

These ads are displayed to searchers when using any Google products or associated third-party sites and apps to find information.

What started as part of the SERPs result has grown to offer various ad types on other Google products and networks.

Google delivers its ads via two major networks: Google Search Network and Google Display Network.
Google Search Network: Google search network controls ads displayed across search-related websites. These ads appear when people search for keywords related to your ads.

Google search is a big part of the Google search network. Whenever someone searches something on Google using a keyword related to your ad, there's a high possibility for your ad to appear on the first page.
It's a probability because many factors control your ad's position on Google SERPs, like your bid and competition.

Ads on the search result page can be recognized by the Ad added beside the URL, as seen in the image below.

Besides the Google search result page, shopping ads, text ads, dynamic search ads, and few others also belong to the Google Search Network (GSN).
google ads
Google Display Network: Google display network presents visual ads on third-party websites and platforms in association with Google.

Unlike the Google Search Network, which requires your target audience to search on any related Google products, the display network naturally shows your ads on websites they are browsing. It does this by targeting niche websites that are associated with Google.

Here's an example of such ads:
google display network
Most display ads have an exit sign at the top. This gives viewers the option to stop viewing these ads.

Besides image ads, others like video ads, youtube ads, and Gmail ads are also part of the Google Display Network (GDN).

That said, below are some key features offered on the Google Ads platform:

  • Offers various ad types
  • Has a keyword diagnosis and research tool
  • Allows you to split-test ads to find winning ads
  • Offers ads remarketing
2 Hours → $ 38 → 41 Conversions: How To Create An Advertising Campaign Quickly And Safely

What are Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads platform is a pay-per-click advertising platform that displays ads within news feeds. Like Google ads, Facebook displays ads on several other platforms like Instagram news feed, messenger, and audience network.
facebook ads
The major difference between both platforms is their advertising algorithm. Unlike Google ads, which use a search algorithm, Facebook displays ads based on users' interests.

Some key features on the platform are:

  • Facebook ads manager (where you get to run and manage your campaigns)
  • Facebook Ad Pixel for retargeting
  • It offers advanced targeting options
  • Numerous ads formats
While Facebook is the leading advertising platform for paid social, Google rules the paid search. They are both kings in their sector.

However, from a business standpoint, you might want to pick one over the other. This leads us to the head-to-head comparison of both advertising platforms.

Facebook Advertising Tips That You Need To Know To Generate Leads

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads: differences

Audience size

Starting from the obvious, both Facebook and Google have a large user base. However, Google has more users compared to Facebook.

As of the second quarter of 2020, Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly users. In comparison, Google has over 4 billion monthly users and gets about 3.5 billion searches per day.

However, you'll find your target audience on Facebook, likewise for Google, irrespective of your product or niche.

Making a decision based on their audience size won't work here as both platforms are big enough to accommodate any business or niche.

The only exception will be if you're entering an entirely new niche where you're probably the pioneer. In that case, there is a high possibility that there's no search demand for your product on Google.

And in that case, Facebook ads would come in handy to generate awareness. However, this is quite rare. For many, this wouldn't be a deciding factor. Let's look into other differences.

Average CPC

One of the factors that influence your decision as a small business is your budget. Comparing the average cost of advertising is necessary.

The average cost-per-click is the amount you are charged per each click you get on your ads. And that estimates the average number of clicks you get based on your budget.
Both Facebook ads and Google ads have varying average CPC. The average CPC on both platforms is dependent on some variables.

It depends on the industry, ad placement and formats, ad relevance, your current bid, and many others like seasonality.

The average CPC of Google Ads is $2.69 for search, but this varies depending on the factors above, especially based on the industry.

For instance, the legal industry has an average CPC of $6.75 for Adwords, and the eCommerce industry has an average CPC of $1.13.
average cpc
Based on types, the average CPC (cost-per-click) of Google display ads is lower. For instance, the eCommerce industry costs $0.45 for display ads.

As expected, for video ads, the cost would be higher. Similarly, if you are running YouTube ads, the average CPC differs.

Lastly, because of the structure of the PPC ads algorithm, competitors also influence the average CPC. If your competitors are bidding high for the same keyword, the average CPC will rise. Because Google believes you're obtaining more value from the ads.

On the other hand, Facebook ads offer a lower average cost per click compared to AdWords. For instance, the average cost-per-click for Facebook ads is $1.72.

But as expected, several factors also influence the CPC of your Facebook ads. Industry, bidding, competition, seasonality, and many others are relevant factors.

For instance, the legal industry has an average CPC of $1.32, which is very low compared to AdWords.
cpc for facebook ads
In terms of affordability, Facebook offers a cheaper cost-per-click. But the average CPC shouldn't be your only deciding factor here.

Besides CPC, we have cost-per-action (CPA). The cost-per-action is an advertising model that helps advertisers get the best out of their campaign.

As its name implies, it's the cost you are charged for every specified action. That could be registering for your course, buying a product, free trial of a product, joining your mailing list, and many more.

This is the bottom of the funnel ads that are goal-oriented. As expected, it doesn't come cheap. Compared to the CPC, CPA ads cost more.

The average CPA in Google ads for search is $48.96 while the average CPA for Facebook ads is $7.85.

Finally, for both CPA and CPC ads, Facebook appears cheaper.

Ads targeting

Ads targeting is another element of pay-per-click advertising. How well can your ads be targeted to the right audience?

Both Facebook and Google offer a good solution to ad targeting. However, Facebook still has the best ad targeting tool.

Google allows you to target your prospects using both their content targeting tool (keywords targeting) and audience targeting feature.

With Google ads targeting, you get the following options:

  • Demographics
  • Custom intent
  • In-market
  • Affinity (for advertisers running Tv campaigns)
  • Remarketing and similar audiences
  • Content targeting

For instance, you can target people already searching for similar products like yours. And for those who have interacted with your ads, you can remarket to them.

Despite the targeting features offered by Google, Facebook does better. Facebook offers advanced ad targeting for advertisers.

For Facebook ads, there are several filter options to adjust your ads to the right audience.
google targeting
Besides the obvious targeting features like demographics, remarketing, Facebook allows you to target prospects based on their interest and status.

You can target your audience prospects based on their annual earnings, marital status, family size, etc.
detailed targeting
For instance, you can be as specific as targeting diabetic patients by choosing diabetes research and similar topics as their interest.

In terms of ad targeting, Facebook takes the lead here.

Brand awareness

Identifying your purpose of running ads is quite important. If your goal is to generate awareness for your brand, then Facebook ads are the best.

Facebook users are on the platform to socialize and make friends, at least the majority. And as a social platform, Facebook allows you to follow, Like, share, and comment.

These engagement features make it easier for brands to excel on Facebook. You can build a strong social following on Facebook, which indirectly leads to brand awareness.

However, Google can be likened to a marketplace where you search for information and not a place to make friends and build brand awareness (although you can generate awareness).

Once Google users search on Google, they go with whichever seller (websites ranking on Google) that appeals to them best.

And on some occasions, Google users might not remember the site name they got the information from.

But on Facebook, once you get them to follow your page or join your Facebook group, the relationship continues, and you have a brand.

While you can get some brand awareness on Google, it cannot be compared to Facebook, where you can build followers.

But how vital brand awareness is among your advertising goals matters a lot.

For instance, eCommerce and dropshipping stores highly prioritize brand building. You want to build a brand where you can sell other new inventories to your audience and not just a one-time sale in the future.

This explains why most dropshipping stores use Facebook ads more compared to Google ads.

However, for agencies, brand awareness might not be at the top of your priority list. But it's essential for eCommerce stores.

Buyer intent

Google users have a clear intent. In this comparison, Google is an obvious winner. Google ads are hyper-targeted to buyers, and it is classified as a traffic generation method for the bottom of the funnel.

For instance, running paid ads for a keyword like "electricians near me" is a clear win because most people using this phrase intend to hire an electrician.
near me query
This is a major targeting feature on Google. You can be very specific with the terms your prospective customers are searching for on Google.

Compared to Google Adwords, Facebook ads have low buyer intent. As we do know, the majority of Facebook users are there to make friends.

They might not be interested in an electrician that moment your ads were displayed on their newsfeed. And that limits the interaction with your ads.

And this explains why Google ads have a higher click-through-rate compared to Facebook ads.

Google ads are displayed to your active audience searching for a solution instead of Facebook, which shows ads on the newsfeed.


In terms of Ads engagement, Facebook ads appear to generate more engagement compared to Google ads. In an advertising survey, 52% say their target audience is more likely to interact with their ads on Facebook than Google.

Likewise, 45% of advertisers say their audience is more likely to interact with their ads on Google than Facebook.

Conclusively, Facebook ads get more engagement compared to Google ads. However, what's worth asking is, does the higher engagement mean better ROI compared to Google? Not really.

And that's because Google ads have a higher CTR compared to Facebook.

While the average CTR for Facebook ads is 0.9%, the average CTR in Google AdWords is 3.17%.

Possibly, the higher ad engagement on Facebook can be accredited to comments, likes, and shares. And this backs up the fact that Facebook is where you should be if brand awareness is part of your advertising goal.

Advertising ROI

Lastly, another factor that cannot be neglected is the returns on investment. Many of us are willing to spend more for the best returns on investment.

While Facebook offers a decent ROI, it cannot be compared to Google. As you might have figured, Google has a better return on investment than Facebook.

And this can be accredited to the high buyers' intent Google Ads have. According to Google, on average, for every $1 spent advertisers make $8. And that's superb 800% returns on investment.

On the other hand, various statistics revealed the average ROI of Facebook ads to be between 4-5X. Which means $4 to $5 for every dollar spent.
How to Improve Your Google Rankings Without Getting Penalized: 5 Tips And Tricks

Facebook Ads and Google Ads: better together

Instead of choosing either of the platforms for your business, you should focus on using both platforms together.

If Google Adwords and Facebook ads are correctly used, you're bound to see a better ROI on both platforms.

Facebook Ads will help you establish your brand reputation and build awareness, while Google ads will help you sell your high-priced products.

You can take advantage of both as they are proven to generate high ROI.

Facebook Ads and Google Ads are both powerful platforms for advertising, and you should use both.

Choose Facebook Ads if brand awareness is at the top of your list. And choose Google for better ROI and high-priced products.


To sum everything up, I prepared a handy infographic:
google ads vs facebook ads
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