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Facebook Ads vs. Google Ads: Which One Works Best?

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads
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Facebook Ads vs Google Ads- Which One Works Best_

Traffic. Leads. Sales.

We want all of these. But honestly—who has the time?

Even if you have the time, there are a gazillion tiny distractions around you. Thus, there’s only one solution:

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. Yes, it works.

In a single year one of our European clients, Mazuum, generated €1,089,634 ($1,165,000) in tracked revenue from a €246,809 ($263,800) ad spend. Trust me; this is just one of many success stories.

Are you ready to start your own success story?

Start by defining your objective clearly. Then take definite action steps to achieve dramatic results.

When it comes to paid advertising, you’re more likely to achieve better results if you narrow your focus. You don’t want to become muddled by conflicting priorities, do you?

It’s always confusing to choose the right ad network for your next PPC campaign.
Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are the two most used ad networks.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads - google adwords logo

Google is the most used search engine, serving over 40K searches per second and its ad network (Google AdWords) takes as much as 33% of global digital ad revenue, while Facebook has around 1.18 billion daily active users.

Which ad network works best?

Oftentimes, deciding on where to spend your ad budget can be confusing. But after reading this post, you’ll be able to make an informed decision that is right for your business.

In this article, both Google AdWords and Facebook Ads have been compared in detail, including their features, pros and cons, and differences.

There’s one purpose of this article—to ensure you always choose the right ad network for your business.

Exciting Facebook Ads Features

Facebook Ads platform started in 2004. Over the years, Facebook has made enormous changes in their ad network. For example, the Lookalike Audience feature was introduced in 2013 and native ads in 2014.

Facebook has several features that make it better than other ad networks (including Google AdWords). Here are some of the features that make it stand out:

#1 Visual Platform

Facebook, being a social network, is a visual ad network. You can’t use those boring text ads on Facebook. The ads are displayed in the audience’s Newsfeed. Therefore, they have to be visual.

This is a unique Facebook Ads feature which allows you to run ad campaigns that are visually appealing.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook ad visually appealing

The visual aspect to Facebook advertising is one of the most common reasons why businesses and marketers prefer Facebook ads. It gets easier to deliver the message with the help of an image or a video than with a text ad.

Visual ads convert at an exceptional rate.

#2 Layered Targeting

You can target anyone with extreme ease using Facebook Ads. Being the largest social network with over 1.79 billion active users, it has collected data about its users that no other network has ever collected.

For instance, you can target males living in a small town in London who speak English, Spanish, and German, have worked for a company for at least one year, are married, and own a Toyota ride. Your ad will only be shown to people who meet this criterion.

Such specific audience targeting isn’t possible with any other ad network, including AdWords.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook ad specific target audience

To show how deep and precise you can go in your Facebook audience targeting, you could target:

English-speaking men, between the ages of 24 and 45, located within a 17-mile radius of Houston, who run their own small business in the marketing industry, who have family members with upcoming birthdays within 60 days, who have traveled with a marketing app within the last month.

And this is just a small part of Facebook’s 2 billion global users that you can target. The opportunities are just endless.

The Lookalike Audience is another interesting feature that allows you to reach new people based on your existing audience. Based on people who have liked your page or who are already interested in your business, you can create and expand your audience by targeting people who share the same interests and behavior as your existing audience.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Lookalike audience

This is an interesting targeting feature that will allow you to reach people that might be interested in your products and services, even if you don’t have any personas and data about their interests and demographics.

#3 Less for More

Facebook ads are best for small businesses with a limited advertising budget. You can run a campaign for as low as $5.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook Ad Budget

This might not seem to be a big deal for large business. I mean if your monthly marketing budget is, say $10K, you will be accepted by any ad network. In fact, ad networks will make a request for you to join them.

But for small businesses with a tight budget, it’s a tough world out there. With a limited budget, most ad networks will not consider them.

For instance, the average cost per click in Google AdWords is between $1 and $2. With a daily budget of $5, you will receive no more than 5 clicks. That’s not good.

Compared to Facebook, a “Post Boost” campaign doesn’t cost you a lot of money. In fact, you can boost your post and get several clicks for $5. Though, bear in mind that Facebook ads often get expensive when the traffic leaves Facebook.

Reaching your target audience with a limited budget is possible with Facebook. This is something that should be appreciated.

#4 Lead Ads

Facebook Lead Ads is a new feature that helps you generate leads on Facebook. You can generate leads without sending traffic to your landing page.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook lead ads

Facebook doesn’t like sending its traffic to your website, even if you pay for every single visitor. This is the reason they introduced lead ads. Visitors stay on Facebook and you can collect all the information you need.


It’s a simple three-step process:
i). Set up and run a lead ad campaign.
ii). User clicks the CTA button.
iii). The user enters the details.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads How to generate facebook leads

The brands that have used lead ads reported a decrease in cost per lead and an increase in the number of leads per dollar spent. Land Rover, Stuart Weitzman, and Properati have shared their lead ads results here.

  1. Land Rover reported a 4x decrease in cost per lead.
  2. Stuart Weitzman reported a 52% more efficient cost per lead as compared to previous (traditional) lead-generation techniques.
  3. Properati also reported a 4x reduction in cost per lead along with a 3x increase in the number of leads.

Facebook Lead Ads will help you generate leads quickly at a fairly decent cost.

The Definitive Google AdWords Features

As your business starts to scale, it becomes increasingly essential to adjust your priorities through tight constraints. These will encourage quick and dirty iterations that, eventually, become fleshed-out ideas for your next Google Adwords campaign.

AdWords is the most used global ad network, with approximately $57.8 billion in net ad revenue in 2016. It offers two types of ads: search network (search ads) and display network ads. The good news is that both of these ad networks are equally powerful and have their purpose.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Ad word features graph

Some of the unique features of Google AdWords are discussed below to give you an idea of how powerful AdWords is and why it’s always compared with Facebook Ads.

#1 AdWords Is Huge

Google, its search engine, search ad network, and the display network are all massive. Google has well over 74% U.S. search market share and a global search share of over 60%. It serves over 2.3 million searches every second and AdWords is used by more than 4 million advertisers. That’s the definition of huge.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Ad words is huge

Not to mention that Google takes as much as 33% of the global digital ad revenue, which is much more than what Facebook ads take.

With such a massive reach, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t advertise on Google’s ad network. This is what most of the businesses think and this is why they can’t resist running an ad campaign on AdWords.

According to a white paper on Google’s display ad network, a display campaign has the potential to reach 80% of entire global internet users. The display network serves 6 billion ad impressions every single day.

This means a display ad campaign will allow you to reach as much as 80% of your target audience worldwide. This is because thousands and thousands of websites have joined Google AdSense program that helps Google serve your ads on its entire network of partner websites.

Google AdWords allows you to reach every corner of the world with just an ad. As long as your audience is there, Google AdWords will always serve you.

#2 Multiple Ad Formats

Google has launched several ad extensions that super-charge otherwise dull-looking ads. These extensions make text ads compelling, increases click-through rate (CTR) and conversions. Interestingly, all the extensions are free.

Multiple ad formats
Facebook Ads vs Google Ads

There are two types of ad extensions:

  • Manual
  • Automatic

Manual extensions have to be added manually to a campaign, while automatic extension appears themselves.

So what’s so special about these extensions?

While most of the ad extensions are quite common—like consumer ratings, site links, and customer reviews—some of them are really cool. Not just cool, but helpful in several ways.

For instance, Accor Hotels used various ad extensions during their ad-campaign testing. The ad extensions increased conversions by 14% and CTR by 19%.

Here’s a breakdown of how different ad extensions performed:

  1. Call extension increased CTR by 4%.
  2. Brand social annotations increased CTR by 6%.
  3. Local extension increased CTR by 9%.
  4. Review extension boosted CTR by 19%.
  5. Sitelinks and form extensions increased conversions by 14%.
  6. Sitelinks and image extension doubled the CTR from 13% to 24%.

Some of the best ad extensions include:

  • Apps extension
  • Call extension
  • Callouts
  • Message extension
  • Dynamic structured snippets

You can see all the available extensions here.

#3 Video Ads

Yes, video ads are the next big thing.

You must have heard a lot about how effective videos are at conversions and engagement, but Google takes advertising to a whole new level with its video ads.
So you just don’t have to promote the video, as you do on Facebook ads, but with TrueView, you can promote your products, business, and pretty much anything within a video.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Video ad example

There are two types of TrueView ads:

  • In-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads

In-stream ads play before or during another video. Your video will play for five seconds. The users can skip the video if they wish.

In-stream ads are great for capturing the attention of your ideal customers in the first five seconds of the ad. If you want to gain massive visibility for your ads, you can choose a Cost Per View (CPV), rather than Cost Per Click (CPC).

Your ad spend for this pay per view depends heavily on how in-depth and rich you want to penetrate your audience. You’ll be charged for the view after the ad is played in full or reaches 30 seconds.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Trueview in-stream ads

TrueView discovery ads appear on a search page, display network, and alongside other YouTube videos.

Truth is, TrueView Discovery Ads can fit into your ad campaigns perfectly.

The exciting aspect of this ads type is that you can leverage on the discovery opportunities that happens millions of times per day. You can easily target your ads to a focused audience, by researching and using specific keywords. This will ensure that your discovery ads are placed at strategic positions.

Initial studies by Google show an average 11% increase in click-through rate using the upgraded format of TrueView discovery ads compared to the preceding in-display format.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Trueview discover ad

This type of video advertising is unique to Google AdWords only and the fact of the matter is, these video ads work like a charm. Here’s an example from Burger King brand.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Google ad words burger king video ad example

HGTV tested different ad campaigns, including video ads. Video ads worked best for them. The video ad campaign helped the company reach 45% engagement selling NY.

#4 Google Map Ads

Google map ads allow businesses to target local audience easily. These ads are part of the Google search network, which means anyone who runs a query in Google might end up seeing your ad in Google Maps.

These ads are unique to AdWords and are not offered by any other ad network…yet.

There are two types of Map ads:

  1. In the search results
  2. On the map itself

These ads are the next big thing in PPC.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Google map ads

According to Google, location-based searches account for almost a third of all mobile searches and are growing at a 50% faster rate than other mobile searches. There are tons of benefits of a map ad; for instance, it shows direction, business logo, address, URL, phone number, and other types of information.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Location based google map ads

Premier Inn ran an ad campaign with an objective to reach new customers and to increase its bookings. The map ads worked exceptionally well. These ads outperformed search ads by 40%, yielded 300% higher return, and decreased cost per acquisition by 60%.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Google map ad examples

Differences between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords

The features discussed above might have helped you figure out some of the major differences between the two ad networks.

Besides these obvious differences, there are some other variations that are related to the performance of each network.

Let’s compare the two networks in detail.

#1 Average CPC

One of the major differences between the two ad networks is the average cost per click (CPC).

Average CPC, in isolation, means nothing. You can’t tell if $1 per click is good or if $5 per click is bad without looking at other factors (and metrics) like conversion rate, ROI, engagement, etc.

The average CPC for AdWords can move as high as $50, while for Facebook ads it remains fairly low. There are several variables that play a role in setting the average CPC for any given campaign, but just for the sake of comparison let’s take a deep dive into the numbers and statistics.

Facebook’s average CPC by industry starts from $0.08 and moves as high as $0.39. Some of the cheapest industries (in terms of average CPC) for Facebook include clothing and fashion, non-profit, technology, and finance.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook Ad Performance and Costs by Industry


Google AdWords’ average CPC by industry starts from $0.19 and goes as high as $5.88 for search, and for display network it starts from $0.18 and moves up to $1.66.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Google adwords industry benchmarks(1)


The average CPC for all the networks for search is $2.32, and for display, it stands at $0.58.

Facebook’s average CPC by industry is much lower as compared to Google AdWords (search and display networks).

What does this mean for your business?

Since the average cost per click for Facebook ads is much lower than that of AdWords, it’s much cheaper to run a campaign on Facebook compared to AdWords…generally.
More importantly, it depends on your industry.

For instance, let’s assume you have $100 to spend on ads and you’re in the travel industry. The average CPC for travel and leisure for Facebook is $0.35, for AdWords search network it is $1.55, and for display network, it’s $0.24.

You should run the campaign on Google display network to enjoy lowest CPC.

Similarly, the average CPC varies from industry to industry.

#2 Average CTR

The average click-through rate is another important metric that shows how many clicks your ad receives.

The difference in average CTR between the two ad networks shows how well your ad will perform in terms of clicks it receives, provided all the other factors remain unchanged.

Average CTR by industry for Facebook starts from 0.027% (dating) and moves up to 0.919% (telecommunication)

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Facebook Ad Performance and Costs by Industry


The average CTR for search network is quite high. It starts from 1.35% (legal) and moves as high as 3.40% (dating and personals). For the display network, it starts from 0.14% (employment services) and moves up to 0.84% (technology).

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads average clickthrough rate

Google AdWords search network is best at CTR and beats its own display network and Facebook ads by a massive margin.

The most obvious reason for a massive increase in average CTR is that the people who look for something in the search engine are interested in it and are looking for it, while on the display network and on Facebook, the ads are pushed to them.

#3 Average Conversion Rate

Measuring conversion rates for all types of Facebook ads is not possible because conversion depends on the objective of the campaign.

For instance, a Page Like campaign might have a huge conversion rate (let’s say 40%). This cannot compete with AdWords campaigns where the only goal is to generate leads.

Let’s start off with the average conversion rate by industry for Google AdWords and then the same will be compared to two randomly selected Facebook ads conversion rate case studies.

The average conversion rate for search network starts from 1.91% (ecommerce) and moves up to 7.19% (finance and insurance), while for display network it starts from) 0.37% (advocacy) and reaches 2.19% (home goods).

Google AdWords search network has the highest conversion rate.

So Which Ad Network Is Better?

The simple answer is: it depends.

Or I should say, both.

It depends on your industry, budget, country, objectives, audience, and several other factors.

Even if you know that the CPC for Facebook Ads is less than that of AdWords, it doesn’t mean you should blindly invest money there.

CPC isn’t just linked to the industry but it’s also linked to the country. AdEspresso has a detailed case study on this.

Australia has the highest CPC, while Taiwan has the lowest. Running a campaign for Australia on Facebook might not work well for you because you will end up paying a much higher CPC than what you expected.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads CPC by country

Similarly, the average CPC varies hugely based on the campaign objective. Reach and impression campaigns have much higher CPCs as compared to link-click campaigns.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads CPC by Campaign Objective

You have to understand when you have to use Facebook ads and when AdWords will be the best choice. Using the right ad network is more important than sticking to a single ad network.

Massimo Chieruzzi, the founder of AdEspresso, rightly said that:

“Facebook is very different from Google. While on Adwords you can keep the same ad running for years, in Facebook the design’s effectiveness tends to degrade pretty quickly and you need to be ready to take actions.”

There are times when you should use Facebook Ads because they fit well. There are other times when you should use nothing but AdWords.

What you can achieve with Facebook Ads, you cannot with AdWords.

Let’s figure out when to use Facebook Ads and when to use AdWords.

When to Use Facebook Ads

It’s high time you step forward and give Facebook advertising a shot. Based on the main features of Facebook ads and how it differentiates from Google AdWords, there are certain types of campaigns that will likely do well on this channel, especially for the following 4 reasons.

#1 Low Budget

Since the average CPC (as discussed above) is significantly lower for Facebook ads, a company with a limited advertising budget can turn to Facebook Ads to do the trick.

You can set a daily budget of $1 and can still get clicks and engagement. (Did you know that the minimum ad spend on Facebook in the UK is just £1 a day? In the U.S. it’s only $1 a day.)

The truth of the matter is, you can spend this little and still get results; you can reach tens of thousands of your ideal customers that meet incredibly specific targeting criteria. On AdWords, you may not be able to get one targeted click for that sort of spend. Oops!

Brian Carter has shown small businesses that they can run Facebook ads for as low as $1 per day. He ran an ad campaign for 30 days and spent $1 a day. He reached 120K people in a month. The campaign had a 3% CTR and an average of $0.21 CPC.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Low budget cpc facebook ads

Not bad, right?

Think of it in terms of brand awareness or reach.

#2 Specific Targeting

The best feature of Facebook ads is its specific targeting. This allows businesses to show their ads to the most appropriate people.

For instance, if you are promoting a local business such as a restaurant to a specific group of people like those who love eating potatoes, this will do well on Facebook ads instead of AdWords. Because on AdWords, you can’t show your ad to potato-lovers like you can on Facebook.

Here is an example of a type of an ad that performed very well on Facebook. A local company used the following video ad to generate leads. It converted at 10%.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Example of high performing facebook video ad

This was a successful ad because it was targeting a specific group of people in a specific location with a video.

If you’re looking for more ideas read our 5 Advanced Facebook Targeting Strategies blog post to get more insight!

#3 Unique and Innovative Products

Facebook works best for unique, innovative, and out-of-the-box products that need to be expressed visually. For instance, if you’re selling a product that needs a visual demonstration, you have to run a campaign on Facebook.

Anything that has the potential to go viral—whether a product, a business or even an image—should be promoted on Facebook.

Similarly, when your ad seems to be incomplete without a photo, it should be on Facebook. NatureBox used the following ad to drive traffic to its website. Though the idea isn’t unique or new, the image is visually pleasing.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Natur Box Facebook Ad Example

Imagine the same ad on search network without an image.

Doesn’t look appealing, right?

#4 Brand Consistency

The best thing about Facebook ads is that they are consistent with your brand. The ads are linked to Facebook Pages, so if you are running an ad campaign, people can link it to your brand with or without liking your page. They see your logo, URL, image, profile picture, and can relate.

The following Facebook ad by Google is consistent with their brand and thus is effective. Even if you don’t click on such an ad, you still know it’s by Google.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Google Adwords Ad example

This makes Facebook a perfect ad network for brand awareness. Repeated ads with different images and the same theme will help people identify your brand and your Facebook Page better.

When to Use Google AdWords

The term “Google AdWords” is synonymous with online marketing.

When consumers are looking for a product, service, or information online, they’re likely going to search for it on Google. Trust me, consumers are desperately searching for you and your business, and Adwords gets you found.

So when should you use Google AdWords?

Let’s have a look.

#1 You Mean Business

Google ads have a high CTR and convert at a better rate than all other ads. This is because your ads are triggered when a potential customer generates a query. Your ads do not interrupt them.

The audience sees ads when they are looking for your product.

It’s like a potential customer knocking at your door.

Johnathan Dane from makes it quite clear.

“I think two of the biggest differences between AdWords and Facebook are these:

1) People are searching for what you offer on AdWords search, so there’s hardly (if any) ad fatigue that ever happens and the basics have stayed the same for a long time. New people constantly enter and leave the target audience.

2) For Facebook Ads, you’re sometimes targeting a static audience with very few people who enter or leave the audience, so ad fatigue rates are much higher, which means that you need to keep the creative up.”

Besides, AdWords puts you at the top of the SERPs. You beat your competitors in real-time.

Let’s assume you can’t beat your competitor that’s on the first page of Google for all the primary keywords. I’ve a simple advice for you: If you can’t beat it with SEO, do it with PPC.

It works.

#2 Mobile Ads

Mobile ads with all the ad extensions put your brand and ad everywhere on mobile. As the number of mobile users is increasing rapidly—with more than 60% of all searches are done on mobile—your AdWords mobile search ads will put you in the right position where you need to be to make an impact.

In the UK, interestingly, people spend more time with their smartphones than they do with laptops and PCs.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Time spent online stats

Google map ads, video ads, call ads, etc., are the features that Facebook Ads does not have. As an AdWords user, you get access to your customer’s mobile device and engage them.

#3 You Need Massive Reach

Google serves more people on mobile and desktop than Facebook (as discussed above). In terms of searches a day, partner websites, mobile searches, and global ad revenue, Google AdWords is everywhere.

So if your campaign objective is to reach as many people as possible, AdWords is the right ad network to use.

#4 Sell Anything

Google AdWords isn’t about selling unique and innovative products, you can sell anything there and with a decent ROI, like Danny Mola who ran a campaign for one of his clients in the medical niche with 250% ROI.

You think selling medical products is hard, well, it isn’t on AdWords because you will always find people searching for your products even if it’s something as simple as salt.

Which One Works Best?


As long as you know when to use Facebook ads and when to use AdWords and when to use both simultaneously.

Yes, you can use them simultaneously.

A case study by Kenshoo showed that paid search audience were retargeted with Facebook ads, which resulted in an increase in 30% return on ad spend and significantly increased order value.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads Retargeting with facebook example

How about setting a campaign in AdWords for your Facebook fans?

Use Facebook’s lookalike feature to target the same audience with your AdWords ads.
How about using Google Analytics to target on Facebook?

In reality, the two ad networks have more differences than similarities between them.
Google AdWords and Facebook Ads may not complement each other very well, but they supplement each other.

This is how you can take advantage of the real power of pay-per-click advertising to grow your leads, generate sales, and increase revenue.


All in all, use retargeting to maximize the impact of both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords. You’ve seen it, I’m sure. You visited a landing page/website, browsed around and left without doing any other thing. But it didn’t end there.

The next day you keep seeing ads for the same website or company. This is retargeting at work.

To ensure that your ad spend isn’t wasted, you need to take retargeting seriously. Whether you’re a small business owner or you manage a larger team, follow your customers, educate and nurture them. With Facebook Ads, it’s super easy.

Once you’ve built up a strong relationship with your customers, running a PPC ad campaign will become a lot easier and result-oriented.

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