May 12, 2022

Google versus Facebook Ads: What’s the Difference?

Are you trying to decide where to spend your ad dollars between Google Ads and Facebook and Instagram ads? At McLernon & Co., we are often asked by businesses which platform is right for their brand. 

The short answer to this question is this: each platform serves a different purpose and meets users at very different stages of their buying journey. When considering the two platforms, it’s an apples-to-oranges comparison.

When consumers are searching for a product or service on Google, they already have a high intention to make a purchase. They are in a buying mindset and already near the bottom of the sales funnel, and Google Ads are designed to capture that demand.

On the other hand, users on Facebook and Instagram are not on the platforms with the active intention to buy. However, they do explore, discover, and share interests with others, which makes these excellent platforms for building brand and product awareness.

But this doesn’t mean you should spend all of your money on Google! While you likely will see a higher conversion rate from people who click through your Google Ads, you should examine your return on investment (ROI) and consider how much competition you are facing on Google.

Chances are you have many competitors in your industry fighting for the same keywords on Google as you are. Pay-per-click (PPC) works as an auction: the more demand for a keyword, the higher your cost-per-click (CPC) will be. 

For example, If you are a Denver-area gym with a budget of $100, and are hoping to capture people searching for “Denver gyms” on Google, your CPC could be $10 - $20, meaning your budget will earn you five or ten clicks by people who may or may not join your gym. That’s a terrible ROI.

Alternatively, awareness ads on Facebook and Instagram can cost you as little as a penny per user, meaning you can gain exposure to 1,000 people with your $100 budget. This is one of the reasons why Facebook is currently ranked at the top for ROI by marketers according to a 2021 HubSpot survey.

Another advantage of Facebook and Instagram advertising is the ability to target key behaviors and demographics. As you build awareness and engagement through your ads, you can retarget these users with another ad designed to cultivate your relationship with them, provide useful resources and education, and move them down the sales funnel. You can also create a lookalike audience that shares key demographic information with those who have engaged with your brand, enabling you to generate a whole new audience at the top of your funnel.

If you have a large budget, a combination of Google Ads and Facebook/Instagram Ads is the ideal strategy, as this will enable you to best capture existing demand while generating and cultivating new demand. If your brand awareness is already strong, greater emphasis on Google Ads may be the best way to go, while layering in retargeting ads on Facebook and Instagram. If you need to build brand awareness or you are in an industry with heavy keyword competition to the point where Google Ads become cost-prohibitive, emphasize Facebook and Instagram more heavily while reserving your Google Ads budget for the most effective keywords.