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Google Ads (Paid Search) vs Facebook Ads: Which one is right for your business?


You may wondering about the differences between Paid Search (Google Ads) vs Social Media Advertising (Facebook) for business. In this article, we’ll explore the differences and similarities to give you a better idea if which one might be right for you.  For the purposes of this article, we will touch on Google display ads which, in fact, share some similarities with Facebook Ads but the primary focus with be Google Paid Search Text Ads.  Google and Facebook are not direct competitors but Google is king in the search engine arena while Facebook is the most popular social networking site.  So when is comes to competition they are both competing for business advertising dollars. In this article we’ll provide an overview of how each works and then detail some of the differences and advantages of each platform.

What are Google Paid search ads?

Google’s Paid Search Ads (Text Ads) look almost identical to the organic results presented after performing a search query, however the paid search ads are identifiable buy the small “Ad” text to the left of the ad. See the example below. In this case, the ad shows up at the top of page above the local results.  Keep in mind your ads can show up anywhere on the first page and that includes top and bottom of the any Google search engine results page.  The goal for paid search ad position should always be above the local listings at the top of page position but their are only 4 spots typically available that “the top of page”. The final ad position is determined by a couple of factors which are in your control but out of the scope of this article.  An experienced Google Ads specialist will understand how to make sure your ads are showing at the top of page.  One thing you do not want is to have your ads consistently showing at the bottom of the page or on the 2nd and 3rd pages of search engine results. If they are, you will struggle to find success and end up wasting your advertising dollars. Below is a paid search ad listing for a GO. client.  If you notice, the ad is top of page above the local listings (3-Pack).


How do Google Paid Search Ads work?

Google Paid search ads are driven by user search queries.  Google is different than Facebook Ads in this respect.  For example, a person seeking a product or service is going to type into the search box what they which products or services they are interested in. In this way, google is going to match those queries with ads that match the users search intent. What makes the google platform so amazing is it’s reach and the ability to match ads, bids, and user search intent in real time to then show ads that will best meet the user’s search intent.  Google decides which ads are shown in search results based on a couple of criteria. The first aspect is what is referred to as ad quality.  Ad quality is determined by keyword match, Headline, description, landing page experience and several other factors.  The second determining factor is the bid strategy or bid amount.  Both factors will determine the position of the ad on the search engine results page. Ads of lower quality and lower bids will show in a less than optimal position.  Google says that ad quality and bid are equal factors in determining ad placement. As a result, they level the playing field somewhat in that high bidders with low quality ads will not dominate ad impressions and position. Google like Facebook offers some capability in determining the target audience although the focus is less granular.  Google ads are billed per user click (just like it sounds) while Facebook ads are billed per impression (# of times ad is shown) or ad per click depending on the advertiser’s choice. The biggest difference between Facebook and Google Ads is that Google Ad users are paying for keywords and search terms entered into the search the box to find new leads and customers for their business.

What are Facebook Ads?

While Gооglе іs  arguably the #1 Search Engine Giant, Facebook is clearly the dominant force in Social Media. Although they are not direct competitors, they are both major players in pay per click advertising. The Facebook platform also has an enormous reach and while both aim to achieve similar goals the way they go about it is slightly different. Facebook does not work like Google Search Ads which are shown on the Search Engines results page after a user makes a search query. Essentially, like previously mentioned consumers are making search queries and google is attempting to match with them with high quality, relevant ads that match the user’s search intent. Facebook, on the other hand, takes a different approach.  Facebook allows ad users to target their audience at a very granular level. Both platforms share some of the same targeting characteristics but Facebook because of the enormous demographic data captured is able to filter down the audience with a much narrower focus.  In addition, Facebook shows ads on a users home page, timeline, and Instagram. Below is an example of a Facebook Ad. In this case, the ad represents a company that targeted me because I have shown interest in the topic of digital marketing and SEO.


The main difference between the two lies in the fact that Facebook Ads are shown to people even if they are not necessarily actively search for the products shown.  Instead, Facebook Ad users create ads with images, rich media, headlines, and descriptive copy and target consumers they feel will be most responsive to those ads making Facebook a very powerful digital advertising option. Fасеbооk has an enormous amount of data regarding consumers using their platform.  Google does offer slightly more targeted advertising ad platform referred to as display advertising. Display advertising on Google allows you to define the ad audience by age, gender, and types of websites visited and interests of your ad audience. Rich Media and text Ads are then shown across the ad platform, news sites, Gmail, and google partners like YouTube. So that brings us to the question of what are the biggest differences and which is right for your business?

Key differences between Google and Facebook Ads:

  • Gооglе paid search text ads rеquіrе kеуwоrd queries on their search page with limited demographic targeting whіlе keywords are орtіоnаl on Fасеbооk.
  • Yоu are limited to targeting the ad audience by lосаtіоn, age, gender аnd kеуwоrds іn Gооglе, with little opportunity to narrow demographic focus.
  • On FaceBook yоur аd іs рlасеd dіrесtlу оn thе usеr’s рrоfіlе раgе whіlе Gооglе рlасеs уоur аds on the Google.com search engine results page, partner sites, news sites, gmail inbox and some more аmbіguоus, undіsсlоsеd wеbsіtеs.
  • Whеn іt соmеs tо mаrkеt sаturаtіоn, thеrе аrе fеwеr аdvеrtіsеrs оn Fасеbооk sіnсе іt’s nеwеr соmраrеd tо thе аlrеаdу сrоwdеd Gооglе.
  • Google can be quite expensive depending on the vertical, niche and keywords.

GO. recommends exploring each platform for a few months to track results, web inquiries and phone calls from both advertising platforms to understand which works best for your business.  We many have clients that use one or the other and some use both.  If you have questions or need recommendations based on our experience with clients, their verticals and the success on each feel free to call us for a consultation.

GO. Atlanta SEO is a Website Design and Digital Marketing agency for small and medium sized businesses.  Our services include SEO, Paid Search, Facebook Advertising and Social Media Marketing to improve your online presence and get more business leads.  Our service area includes the metro Atlanta area including the following cities: Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Marietta, Norcross, Decatur, Buckhead, Kennesaw, Duluth, Snellville, Brookhaven and Lilburn.   In addition, many of our clients have multiple locations and are also located out of state.

If you are looking for an Atlanta SEO Agency or SEO Consultant to help with your Facebook Advertising or Google Ads call us at (770) 863-8884 or contact us.

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