Google AdWords vs. Facebook Ads – Battle Royale

When it comes to online advertising, Google is the most dominant platform that companies turn to. While the online ad revenues of Google in 2012 were $43 billion, Facebook’s online ad revenues amounted to only $4.28 billion. This superiority of Google is not just because it has been in the market for much longer but also because it is perceived to be more effective. However, that might change soon as the Facebook Ads gear up to give tough competition to Google AdWords and surprisingly enough Facebook might take the lead in the future.

Ideally, if you want to have a perfect marketing campaign, you’d want to use both AdWords and Facebook Ads. I really want to stress this. A proper marketing campaign contains several marketing channels to introduce your product/service to potential clients.

There are some similarities with the platforms as well as differences between the two each being an effective way of advertising depending on the results you expect. If you are merely looking for more traffic, you might like Facebook a bit better, but if you are looking to boost online sales, Google might be the right platform for you. So, how do you decide? Let’s take a look at some functional characteristics of each platform to understand better:

Advertising Environment

Assessing the environment in which the ads run is important. Google AdWords ads are only displayed when a visitor types in a specific keyword-based query. This means that these ads are designed for people who already need them and have prompted a demand action. The competitors in this case are all pitching against the similar keywords making it a highly competitive platform. Facebook ads, on the other hand, are displayed to people not only when they are looking for something specific but at other times as well. These ads are displayed to the audience on the basis of their attributes and interests. Even if they are not specifically looking for them, they’d still be interested enough to respond to the ad.

Audience Targeting

Targeting options on both the platforms are quite easy to understand. If Google AdWords is displaying an ad on the Google search page, the key consideration would be the keyword.

laptop   Google Search

However, when the Google AdWords’ display network ads are displayed on partner websites, visitors’ interest is used as the basis for targeting, taking into account the visitor’s browsing history. Facebook ads are targeted based on the information derived from user profiles. An example of Facebook “Right Column Ads” is below:

Facebook Ads

On both platforms, factors like demographics, geographic location, and user’s browsing history are used for targeting ads.

Advertising Performance

When it comes to average CTR or click-through rate, Google is a clear winner. The average CTR for Facebook in 2012 was 0.041% while at the same time a Google display network ad had an average CTR of 0.4%.

On the other hand, page-views per month on Facebook amount up to 1 trillion on average while the ad impressions served each month through Google AdWords is 180 billion. In the end, the selection of the right advertising option depends on your advertising goal. If you want increased brand awareness and visibility, Facebook Ads are your thing but if you are looking to sell products, Google AdWords is the right option for you.

Matthew Goulart

|3 minutes read

Matthew Goulart is the founder of Ignite Digital, a Canadian digital marketing agency. Through Ignite Digital, Goulart works with Fortune 500 companies and advertising agencies from around the world and has helped launch profitable and highly successful digital marketing initiatives for his clients.