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Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: The Long-Standing Feud

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Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: The Long-Standing Feud

With the birth of the Internet and the resulting irreversible change of consumer behavior, businesses seek to increase their virtual exposure with PPC (pay-per-click) advertising. Over time, the PPC market grows and “settles down”, leaving two big names in the mind of any online advertisers: Google Ads vs Facebook Ads.
Which yields more results in shorter time? Which consumes less resources but produces more? Together, let’s answer the big question: Google Ads or Facebook Ads for your sustainable business?

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Get the Basics Straight

Google Ads – Paid Search

Started in 2000, Google AdWords, now Google Ads, is paired with the term “paid search”, as no other PPC advertising platform can rival it in popularity and scale.Advertisers on Google usually need to take care of two primary networks:

The Search Network: It consists only of google.com as a search engine, so keyword bidding is the key here. Your ads will appear at the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) if it’s relevant to the user’s query.Even if you don’t buy Google Ads, your site can still appear on the first SERP of Google if it works well. And don’t be swayed by the rumor that SEO is a story of the past, as we have debunked this SEO myth in a recent blog post.
The Display Network: As Google defines, this is a collection of “more than 2 million websites, videos, and apps where your ads can appear”, with the reach of over 90% online audience over the world. This is where you can post more visual ads such as banners.

There’s a common misunderstanding that Google Ads is limited to text, so can’t be appealing. In fact, though remaining text-based, Google Ads have many features to make it more enticing to prospects, such as ad extensions, sitelinks, reviews, location targeting, and much more. But this is hardly the end of innovation for Google Ads, as they’re researching to introduce other interactive ads formats, integrating rich visual elements.
Fun fact: “Facebook” was the most globally searched query on Google in 2019.

Facebook Ads – Paid Social

The biggest social media platform in the world, Facebook hosts 1.73 billion global daily users in 2021. In Vietnam, there are nearly 70 million Facebookers as of January 2021, earning the country the 7th place in the list of countries with the most Facebook users.
Born seven years later than Google Ads in 2007, Facebook Ads doesn’t choose to go head-to-head against Google Ads on keywords. They look into the users’ interests and their online behaviors, so a totally different level of audience granularity.

Unlike “Paid Search” of Google, “Paid Social\’\’ is how Facebook Ads works – showing sponsored ads on users’ News Feed based on their relevance. With Facebook Ads, your ads will appear on many channels: Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Audience Network.

Facebook ads are highly visual, because that’s how the platform was made even before the advertising feature was born. Though visuals take much less time to digest than text, “ad fatigue” exists and reduces the effectiveness of marketing campaigns on Facebook.
<pFun fact: On their help page, Facebook teaches their advertisers how to best utilize Google Ads

Unlike “Paid Search” of Google, “Paid Social\’\’ is how Facebook Ads works – showing sponsored ads on users’ News Feed based on their relevance. With Facebook Ads, your ads will appear on many channels: Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Marketplace and Facebook Audience Network.

Facebook ads are highly visual, because that’s how the platform was made even before the advertising feature was born. Though visuals take much less time to digest than text, “ad fatigue” exists and reduces the effectiveness of marketing campaigns on Facebook.

Their Purported Battle

The names Facebook Ads and Google Ads make it easy to think of these two tools as direct competitors. Many have long waited to see the end of the “Google Ads vs Facebook Ads” battle.
But to their disappointment, if you consider these “enemies” as “Paid Social” and “Paid Search”, that battle may not even exist to begin with.
As we go deeper in the next parts, you will understand that they are not mutually exclusive. You can leverage both tools for many business goals. But it’s true that most of the time, one is a better choice than the other.
Let’s learn the real differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads and how they help your PPC campaigns perform the best.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Questions You Should Ask

You may not like the answer “It depends” given by most marketing agencies to many questions you bring to the table. However, before having sufficient information, no reliable agency can promise you any result. That’s why we have compiled a list of important factors for you to consider before making the final decision. Let’s take it down one by one:

GoalsAre you looking to run a marketing or sales campaign? Is your focus on branding or revenue? The answer means a big difference.Since this requires a detailed answer and explanation, we have dedicated the whole next part to guide you through this.
IndustrySome industries are more social and cater needs more related to special occasions in a person’s life, such as graduation, wedding, anniversary, celebrations in general, and so on. These moments are shared on social media, making this place a lucrative opportunity for specific businesses.
Business TypesDifferences between B2C and B2B can guide your choice towards Facebook Ads or Google Ads. For B2C, Facebook may be a better choice because more impulsive buying takes place there. On the other hand, Facebook Ads may not be so effective for B2B purchases, which usually take a much longer time and involve more than one decision maker.
Product/ServiceIs your product/service more search-intent or social-intent (Beware that your ad content must change according to your audience content)? Is it a completely new product with no competitors in sight? Is it demographic-sensitive (e.g. only groups with specific demographics are interested in it)?

Buyer Journey or the FunnelThis is also related to your goals: if you want to target the top of the funnel – awareness, problem recognition, interest generation, etc., Facebook Ads will do a great job. If you’re aiming at the last stage of the buyer journey, Google Ads will not disappoint you with its shorter time in closing deals.
BudgetThere’s a common belief that Facebook Ads is more suitable for tight budgets because CPC (cost-per-click) for certain keywords on Google can be very expensive for certain industries, such as insurance. However, with constant updates of Google algorithms, you can still get more with less, as long as you understand deeply your target audience’s online behaviors.
Technical CapabilitiesBetween Google Ads and Facebook Ads, there are certain differences in their requirements for technical capabilities. For example, if you don’t know how to create visually appealing ads, don’t wildly go for Facebook. Even when your ads manage to appear in the target user’s Newsfeed, they can still ignore it just because it doesn’t look nice.This is also one of the reasons why companies hire experts to manage their Google Ads or Facebook Ads campaigns. No matter how easy it looks (or is made to look), the treasure belongs to who knows best how to wield their weapons.

facebook ads
facebook ads

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads: Match the Tools with your Goals

When you decide on one option, make sure it is the best to serve your purposes. Therefore, the decision to invest more on Google Ads or Facebook Ads greatly depends on what you want to achieve in the end.

Goal 1 – Reach / Targeting

It’s easy to think that Google is the go-to option for the goal of increasing reach thanks to their enormous audience size, hence higher exposure.
But does it mean more relevance or better targeting? Hardly. Because apart from keywords, Google Ads’ audience targeting is based on location, basic user demographics (e.g. age, gender…) and device. There is also an option to retargeting with Google Ads – reconnect with people who previously visited your sites or apps.
On the other hand, Lookalike Audiences is one powerful feature of Facebook Ads. Advertisers can create a “lookalike” audience based on their own uploaded customer database. Now, advertisers can target new customers who look very alike to their existing customers, hence much higher chance to success.

Goal 2 – Sales / Conversion / ROI

If a person is researching information to make a purchase, where do you think they will go first, Google or Facebook?
The answer is clear: Google serves well as an information hub for people with a buying intent, while Facebook users don’t expect to shop when they scroll down their newsfeed. Therefore, if you’re looking to increase sales in a short time, Google Ads is your favorite partner.
So Google Ads generate more quick sales, how about its relevant costs, in other words, ROI? You may be surprised to find that ROI is actually one attractive selling point of Facebook Ads due to its lower required investment.
While Google offers a higher CTR (click-through-rate), CPC (cost-per-click) of Facebook is generally lower, especially in “hot industries” with “hot keywords”.
Pro Tip: The CTRs of both Google Ads and Facebook Ads will increase if you leverage their unique ad placements. With Google, it’s the Shopping ads, while with Facebook, it’s the Messenger ads.

google ads
google ads

Goal 3 – Brand Awareness

Before the launch of Uber, there was no such word as “ridesharing”. People may ask Google about the cheapest taxi or vehicle rental services in their areas, but they don’t search for “ridesharing” or similar words.
Of course you can still use smart keywords related to pain points to appear on Google SERPs, but if the users haven’t heard of you before, they are more reluctant to click.

Also, as Facebook ads are highly visual, it serves better the purpose of attracting new audiences, who have been shown the ads because their favorites and online behaviors match with the ad content. It’s also easier to tell your brand story on Facebook.

Google Ads and Facebook Ads: It Takes Two to Tango

Now when we have reached this point, let’s be honest: despite many differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads, what’s “competing” here are not Google and Facebook or their wonderful PPC tools, it’s your own resources – budget, time, and effort. But even if you have unlimited money and personnel to spare, there’s no way to take back the time you lost in a less-than-optimal investment decision. And your competitors don’t wait for your recovery either.
So, the good news is you don’t need to answer an either-or question, just the question of “How much for each?” Though fortune favors the bold, there’s also the old saying “don’t put too many irons in the fire” (especially if you’re not a blacksmith). In other words, there should be a thorough plan to distribute your resources over time on Google Ads and Facebook Ads to create the highest impact.
There are more than one way to combine Google Ads and Facebook Ads to make the journey through your funnel an even more enjoyable experience. Learn and leverage each one’s strengths to your advantage, but keep in mind that these two giants don’t stay the same. To future-proof themselves, they will continuously evolve together with technology advance, social transformation and new consumer behaviors.

different between facebook ads and google ads
different between facebook ads and google ads

Bury the Hatchet to Welcome a New Future

It’s time to put an end to the long-standing battle due to differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, because we have learned a better way to create more value for all: a partnership. A wise investor knows how to best allocate assets in their portfolio. Similarly, a resourceful businessperson knows how to best distribute their limited resources to achieve highest results.
In other words, you don’t need to view Google Ads and Facebook Ads in an adversarial way, as usually exacerbated by technology media and the misguided. The question shouldn’t be, “Which one?” as you can’t have a healthy funnel by caring only for the top (Facebook Ads) or the bottom (Google Ads). The question then should be, “What’s the right mix?” and “In which order?”
To answer these practical questions and increase your chance of getting it right at your first step, your wisest choice would be to seek the help of experts. Because even both Google Ads and Facebook Ads always pitch themselves as easy-to-use, it’s another story to master the tools and reap the highest possible rewards.
With a verified track of records in PPC services, On Digitals is ready at your side on the journey to build a sustainable online brand and ultimately realize extraordinary results. If you are looking to expand your business to the Vietnam market, no need to look any further, talk to On Digitals for unique local insights and unparalleled support.

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