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Google Ads or Facebook Ads: Which Is Best for Your Clients?

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Communications & Content Director on Jan 26, 2024

You know the power of digital advertising and how much it can help your clients’ businesses grow and increase profits. But when your marketing agency’s clients are mostly small businesses, you need to provide them with effective marketing on a budget. This may leave you worrying about the wisdom of using Google Ads or Facebook Ads. When should you use one over the other? When should you use both?

As the owner of a marketing agency, understanding the nuances, strengths, and weaknesses of each platform is crucial for tailoring successful advertising strategies for your clients. This comprehensive comparison will guide you through the distinct features of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, helping you make informed decisions on where and how to invest your clients’ advertising budgets.

Each Platform in Broad-Brush

Google: The Search Engine Powerhouse

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that allows businesses to display ads on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs) and its vast network of partner websites.

It’s a certainty that whoever your client’s audience is, they are using Google

  • 54% of global searches are on Google.
  • There are 5.9 million Google searches per minute.
  • Top-ranking Google search results garner a 22.4% click-through rate.

Facebook: The Social Media Behemoth

Facebook Ads operates within the Meta ecosystem, which includes not only Facebook but also Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Targeting Capabilities

Google Ads

Google’s strength lies in intent-based targeting. It excels at reaching people who are actively searching for products or services. This platform is ideal for capturing demand, as it targets users based on the keywords they input into the search engine.

For example, a user searching for “best running shoes” is likely in the market to buy. This intent-driven targeting can lead to higher conversion rates as the ads align with the immediate needs of the users.

Facebook Ads

Facebook offers a more diverse set of targeting options than Google, which may come into play when deciding Google Ads or Facebook ads. Options include (among others) age, gender, location, interests and behaviors. This level of granularity allows for the creation of highly customized audiences. For instance, a sports apparel brand can target users who are interested in running, fitness and outdoor activities. This broad but relevant targeting is particularly effective for brand building and engaging potential customers at different stages of the buying journey.

Ad Formats and Placement

Google Ads

Google Ads offers a range of ad formats, though not as many as Facebook. These ads appear on Google’s search results page, websites in the Google Display Network, YouTube and Google Shopping.

Some types of ads include

  • Text-only ads that appear on search engine results pages. Factors in when and where your ad appears include the relevancy of the ad and the amount you paid for the chosen keywords.
  • Google display ads appear on various pages of the Google Display Network, Googles vast network of partner websites.
  • Google shopping ads, which can show users a photo of your product, plus a title, price, store name, and more from your product data.
  • Video ads

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads provide a wider array of ad formats than Google Ads. These include (among others)

  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Stories ads

These visually appealing formats are conducive to storytelling and brand engagement, making them ideal for businesses looking to establish a strong brand identity and emotional connection with their audience.

They can appear across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger if you so choose. From within the WhatsApp Business app, you can even create Facebook and Instagram ads that lead to a WhatsApp chat with your client’s business.

User Intent

Google Ads

Users on Google often have a higher intent to purchase or find specific information than those on Facebook. They are often specifically searching for what advertisers are selling. This makes Google suitable for direct response campaigns.

Facebook Ads

Facebook users are primarily on the platform for social interaction and entertainment. They usually aren’t searching for a particular product they are ready to buy. That means that Facebook ads are often more effective for brand awareness and engagement rather than immediate conversions.

Cost and ROI

Budget considerations are paramount in any advertising decision. The cost of advertising on both platforms varies depending on several factors such as industry, competition and targeting specificity.

Google Ads

Google Ads are often seen as more expensive than Facebook Ads. However, this may be worth it to your client due to the quality of traffic due to users’ high purchase intent and the higher likelihood of conversion.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads generally offer lower Cost Per Click (CPC) than Google, but the ROI can vary depending on how well the ad targets the audience and the campaign’s relevance to their interests. If you carefully use tools for optimizing results, Facebook ads can be an attractive option for businesses with limited budgets or those aiming to maximize their reach and frequency of visibility.

Measuring Success

Google Ads and Facebook ads have different focuses.

Google Ads

Google Ads provides robust analytics focused on metrics like Click-Through Rate (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC), conversion rate and return on ad spend (ROAS). These metrics are invaluable for evaluating the direct response effectiveness of campaigns.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads offer detailed insights into user engagement, including likes, shares, comments, video views and more. This provides a holistic view of how users interact with the ads, which is essential for measuring brand engagement and social reach.

So, Google Ads or Facebook Ads? And When?

When to Choose Google Ads

Google Ads is the best choice when your client’s goal is to capture existing demand. It’s particularly effective for

  • Businesses with specific products or services that people are searching for currently
  • Campaigns aimed at driving immediate sales or actions
  • Industries where purchase intent is high, such as home services, legal services or healthcare.

When to Choose Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads are ideal for building brand awareness and engaging with a specific audience. They work well for

  • Brands that want to build a community or engage with a particular demographic or interest group
  • Products or services that benefit from visual storytelling. Examples include fashion, food and travel.
  • Campaigns aimed at a longer sales cycle where nurturing leads is essential

Combining the Strengths of Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads

The reality is, you often will not be trying to decide “Google Ads or Facebook ads.” The most effective digital marketing strategies often involve leveraging both. By using them in tandem, agencies can cover the entire marketing funnel. Marketing is more effective when several channels are used. Here’s how you might use both.

Consider using Facebook ads for your client’s audience who is at the top of the funnel. Build awareness and interest through targeted storytelling and engaging content.

Use Google Ads to reach your client’s audience who is at the bottom of the funnel. Put your client’s ads in front of them when potential customers are searching for related products or services.

Google Ads or Facebook Ads? Let Us Help

The choice between Google Ads or Facebook ads should be guided by a clear understanding of the client’s business objectives, target audience, and budget constraints. Both can be highly effective under the right circumstances.

By leveraging the strengths of each platform and possibly integrating them, marketing agencies can craft successful, results-driven advertising strategies that propel their clients’ businesses forward.

For a free consultation about Google Ads and Facebook advertising white label services with Umbrella experts, go to the Umbrella website or call (866) 760-2638.

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