Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads – Which One is Best?

advertising facebook marketing social media Sep 03, 2019

What’s the difference between Google ads and Facebook ads? And which one is going to get you the best results?

Well, I think most businesses would be smart to use both! 

However, they are totally different kinds of advertising so first you need to understand the difference between them (and strategically place them in your marketing funnel) to get the best benefit from each platform.

One of the biggest mistakes I see businesses doing is treating ads as a one-stop marketing shop. 

What I mean by this is that they don’t develop an ad strategy that syncs the ads into their broader marketing funnel, they instead rely on the ads to replace the whole funnel in one go, thinking only about the sale at the end – which is essentially why they don’t find success with ads. 

So let’s back up a minute and look at how ads engage people. 

When do you get exposed to online ads, and why?

When you use Google you’re intending to find something… 

It’s likely when you’re searching for something, like a solution to your problem, you do this by typing in keywords along with actionable phrases such as ‘How to’ or ‘What is’.

You’re telling Google exactly what you’re searching for. Google is then able to provide you with the organic search results that best match your search, and show you the most relevant paid ads from companies bidding on your search words.

This is the point where you’re more likely to react to an ad that relates to the thing you’re searching for. This is why Google ads are considered to be “intentional marketing”. 

But Facebook is a whole different story… 

When you’re browsing your Facebook feed you’re not specifically looking for something right then and there. 

Most likely you’re catching up on a friend’s wedding pics or first baby pics, or commenting on a post in your favourite group. 

So when an ad appears in front of you, you’re likely to be thinking of other things other than buying. In fact, the thought of seeking out a solution to a problem you might have, may not even have entered your mind.

What’s more… you may not even be aware you have a problem!

So, Facebook ads are considered “interruption marketing”. 

When it comes to considering which ad type to use that speaks to your ideal customer, you need to approach them in two different ways: SELL vs. VALUE advertising.

How can you use each ad type for your business?

When someone is searching Google, you know that they’re actively seeking something out, so you can get more direct with your sell because people are already looking to buy what you and your competitors are offering. 

To get YOUR brand top-of-mind, and get more clicks on your Google ads – your marketing strategy needs to include brand awareness activities, such as adding value on your social feeds and engaging your email subscribers.

You’ll get more conversions from people who already know your brand because they know you, they trust you, they see your offer and then, bam! They buy.

On Facebook, value-based advertising works much better for warm and cold audiences. 

If you’re targeting a cold audience, i.e. people who don’t know your brand, first you need to let them get to know you. Using a value based ad will help you achieve this. For example, you can offer a free PDF download, or a super relevant blog post that your ideal customer would be interested to read. 

Your goal for Facebook ads is to get them to take their FIRST step to getting to know you either through signing up to your email list, or liking your Page. This then enables you to retarget them later on, via your email channel, or with new Facebook ads.

Here’s two types of funnels you can use for Facebook ads…

  1. Ad > free PDF download > subscribe to email list > Retarget via Facebook ad OR email > BUY
  2. Ad > super relevant blog post > retarget via Facebook ad > BUY

The shorter funnel looks more appealing, but the top one may result in more sales because you’ve taken the time to build the relationship. 

You may not need to run the retargeting ads if you use your email marketing to funnel them to the sale, but it doesn’t hurt to have multiple touch points!

How to structure your ads

Every letter counts with Google Ads

I love Google Ads for helping you get more visibility on your website and products or services BEFORE your SEO has a chance to kick in. 

Google Ads have limited space available so every character counts! Think wisely about the words you use for each element so you maximise your space.

Try not to repeat words, and make sure that the words they’ll see first are what the person is looking for (not usually your company brand unless you’re Apple or Nike…!).

The main thing to remember with Google Ads is that your ad copy needs to be relevant to your target search keywords AND relevant to your landing page.

The closer connection between the three, the more relevant your ad and better visibility you’ll get.


Creating your ad on Google

Here’s some tips for how to structure each element: 

Your headline

Ensure it is attention grabbing by using your main keyword here so people know they’re in the right place.

Your description

Every word counts! You want to give them the right message that gets them interested to click and find out more.

Your call to action

Every ad needs a call to action – funnily enough the simple words are what gets somebody to act! Make it relevant to the ad and your customer journey.

Examples: Buy Now, Download Now, Choose Your Ideal Package…. you get the idea!

Your link and where to send them to

Display a friendly, shortened version of your link rather than the actual page url which can be too long and take up valuable space. Always use your own domain, as opposed to a link for example, as people are more likely to trust the source when they click through.

I definitely recommend sending them to the sales page, shop page or product page you’re promoting. DON’T send them to your homepage for them to find their own way to the content they’re seeking – you’ll get them bouncing right back out again. 

People searching are time poor. They want to find what they’re looking for in the least amount of time – less clicks the better. Send them to the relevant page, just make sure that it makes sense with your ad. 

Bonus tip: Consider using the ‘click to call’ feature. With more and more people using mobile phones to search and browse, having the option to click and call directly from your ad cuts down the steps in the journey and converts more leads to you. 


Budgeting and optimising your Google Ad

With Google, the amount you bid does effect where in the ranking your ad will appear, however – you can’t simply buy your way to the top with a crappy ad. 

Google is committed to giving their users relevant and high quality sites in the search results so the more relevant your ad is to the keyword you’ve bid on, and the site you’re sending people to – the more priority your ad will get. 

You can test and tweak your ad to optimise it. I recommend trying different bid amounts, test different wording and copy to find what delivers the most clicks. 

Many people don’t realise you can bid different amounts on each keyword. You can also check the success of each keyword in your campaign and switch off the low performing ones. 

 In your Google Ads dashboard, go to Keywords > Auction Insights to see the specific stats for each keyword. 


Engaging content is key on Facebook

Facebook is a social engagement platform so keep in mind that you’re interrupting someone’s social time with an ad – don’t be annoying! 

You’re aiming to stop someone scrolling, but also to make their experience enjoyable. Your ads should be more conversational, entertaining offers, with value they actually want.

When you go to create your ad, first think about your objective as this dictates your approach. 

Think about these things…

Where will it fit in your marketing funnel? 

What type of audience are you targeting? Have they heard of you before (warm)? Or are they unknown to you (cold)? [Read more about your target audience types here: 

What is your goal of this particular ad? 

  • Are you wanting to drive traffic (that you can retarget)?
  • Or sign them up to your email list?
  • Or perhaps even sell your service (to your warm audience)? 

My biggest tip for Facebook is to be specific with your audience and with your goal.

Don’t try to achieve your entire marketing funnel in one ad – you’re unlikely to get a cold prospect to buy instantly. Instead think about how your ads can support your existing marketing activity and push people through your funnel faster. 


Creating your ad on Facebook

Here’s some tips for what your Facebook ads should contain:

1. Start with a question, or a slightly controversial statement. You’re aiming to grab their attention and get them reading on. If you ask a question, say something your ideal customer will say ‘YES’ to – this is positive reinforcement and has been shown to increase conversions.  

2. Be conversational and friendly (Facebook is ‘social’ media), and create connection by illustrating you understand ideal customer’s needs and you know what they want.

3. Use words like “today” in your copy to make it super relevant for that moment – we all know how disposable social content can be! 

4. Make sure whatever value you’re offering them is enticing enough for them to click. Whether it’s a blog post you’re using to drive traffic to your site, or a freebie to get email subscribers or your latest product range – you’ll need to make sure it’s clear to them what they’ll get if they click through. They have to WANT to click – this is the job of the ad.

5. Provide a clear call to action, e.g. are they to Read more…, Learn more…, Watch now, Download …etc. Often this can be replicated in the Button on the ad, however make sure you include the instruction in your post too! 

6. Use an image that grabs attention and will stop someone from scrolling. Don’t over-design your image, keep it simple and relevant. If possible, carry the same image through to your landing page. The closer your ad is related to the content on your landing page – the better quality FB will deem your ad to be. Which means more reach and lower ad cost.

TIP: Use an image that contrasts with the blue branding of Facebook so it stands out.

Did you know that you can use an existing post as the content for an ad? When you’re in the campaign creation, select “Use existing post” instead of “Create post” and you’ll be able to choose from eligible posts on your page. 

Why use an existing post? Well, assuming you’ve created a post that has the right content for an ad, the advantage of using an existing post is that it will show any engagement you’ve already had on the post once it’s turned into an ad.


Budgeting and optimising your Facebook Ad

Facebook’s algorithm is designed to give their users the best experience possible, and that includes the ads they see. You can optimise your ad so it gets better results just by understanding how to improve the experience according to Facebook. Check out my blog How to understand the Facebook algorithm and use it to your advantage to learn more.

The more money you invest doesn’t necessarily mean better results!  

You can’t buy your place in the feed – you have to earn it through creating an ad with an experience that meets Facebook’s guidelines. Ads that meet their guidelines perform better, which in turn gives them higher priority. 

Read more about the new relevance metrics which give you insights about what part of your ad needs to be improved for better results.

You can run a hugely successful ad for just $5 a day. I recommend starting low rather than putting your budget in at the start. You want to test and adjust the ad while the budget it small, to get it optimised and working.

Once you have an ad that’s working, you can try scaling it by incrementally adding budget – but not too much too soon! Just 15% at a time, every few days.  

TIP: Resist the urge to edit creative on an ad that’s working! If you want to try something else, duplicate the ad or campaign and do your changes there. 


Choosing the right ad objective delivers better results

During campaign set up, think about what the purpose of your ad is, and where it fits in your marketing funnel to choose the best objective that fits the style of ad and what you want to happen when people see it. 

Facebook’s algorithm will optimise your ad based on the objective you choose – so choose the right one to achieve your goal for the ad.

An Engagement objective will mean they show it to people most likely to engage with your ad, a Video Views objective means they’ll show your ad to people most likely to watch a video – based on their past actions. 

If your ad’s purpose is to drive people to your website, then the ‘Traffic’ objective is your obvious choice. Facebook will deliver your ad to people in your target audience most likely to click through to your website.

Lead objective means your ad will be set up as a Lead ad – where Facebook provides an opt-in form directly on their platform.

If you want to send people to your own sales page, use Traffic objective, or Conversion objective.

Tip: Only choose the ‘Conversion’ objective once you’ve had at least 25 conversions a week. This is because Facebook needs that conversion data to find other people who are similar and have a history of buying online in your target audience to show the ad to. 


The golden rule with Facebook ads

Don’t start optimising the ad until the ‘learning phase’ is over.

In the first few days after you launch your ad the algorithm is testing different things to find out who engages with your ad most so they can deliver it to similar people and get you the best results possible. 

It’s so hard to wait, but be patient! Don’t watch your stats like a hawk, let it do its thing and then review a few days in. 

Ok, so what’s the best strategy?

I like to use both Facebook and Google ads together.

For example, Google is great for finding cold audiences who are ready to act. You can then retarget your website visitors with Facebook ads to bring them back to your site. 

Regardless which platform you use, it’s worth your time to do your research first before jumping into creating your ads. 

For Google you need to research keywords that are relevant to the audience you’re targetting, and relevant to your content. 

For Facebook, you need to research your audiences and set them up beforehand so they have time to populate. Make sure your website pixel is set up and any conversion points are correctly tracked so you get relevant data to review.

For both types of ads, it’s essential to know who your Ideal Customer is and what stage of the buying funnel they are currently at – so you know what you need your ads to achieve. 

If they aren’t aware they have a problem yet, there’s no point doing an ad promoting your offer, it’s much too soon! 


Read more about Facebook Algorithms and targeting:


How to easily understand the Facebook algorithm and use it to your advantage. 

Facebook’s new Relevance Metrics for Improving your ads 

The 4 Types of Customer – What you need to know to sell effectively