Facebook Ads Vs Google AdWords: Which is Better?

Keying in the above headline Google will return thousands of articles, posts, comments, links and videos on the great Facebook vs. Google battle. It is an interesting debate since both the Facebook Ads and Google AdWords have provided marketers with never-before access and tools to grow their business with small marketing budget.

AdWords is successful primarily because the ads are linked to keyword searches. So if the keywords happen to be,”canon auto focus camera, mumbai” and you happen to be a dealer in Mumbai who’s selected these keywords, your ad will show up. It’s an almost perfect mapping of ‘intend to purchase’ and your company.

That, however, in the theory. In practice, AdWords’ incredible success could also be the cause of its downfall. Most popular keywords have been purchased at very high CPC (cost per click) rates, and their cost increases every day. You could analyze the long tail and buyer cheaper keywords, but that is a time-consuming task best left to experts-in other words it involves more cost.

AdWords began as a perfect solution for small businesses, but has since been swamped by the multi-billion dollar budgets of big corporate. In the example state above, you could be competing with the same keywords with canon, Nikon, Sony, Samsung, Croma etc., thereby increasing your cost. Still AdWords unique ability to serve up relevant ads to its searchers and connect its audiences with unprecedented. With over 60 billion searches happening everyday, AdWords is not going away any time soon.

So, where do Facebook Ads come in? Facebook offers a unique ability, that of narrow targeting. Because of all the information we provide Facebook at the time of setting up your profile, the company is able to offer unprecedented targeting options. Continuing our earlier examples of cameras, if you want to target 20-something professionals in Mumbai, male or female. You can reach your exact target audience. This level of targeting has not been available earlier, and it’s the USP of FB Ads. But you reaching a passive audience; they may not be in the market for a digital camera.

Another drawback of FB Ads is the state of mind of the user. When we are facebooking, we are probably there only to socialize. An Ad at that time won’t achieve high click through rate (CTRs).FB has partly solved this ad by providing both CPC ads (you only pay when user clicks on your ad) and CPM ads (cost per thousand impressions: you pay irrespective of click). ACPC ad insures that only those seriously interested in your product will click on it, and therefore increases ROI. CPM ads are useful for marketing campaigns where visibility, not leads, is a priority.

Another advantage of FB ads is the fact that you can use the ad to build fans on your company’s/products FB page; i.e., you could actually use them to increase your fan base. How so? A fan of your FB page is a long term prospect. Getting one person to like your page also increases the potential of his or her friends becoming aware of your page, thereby increasing the networking impact. Google AdWords has no such impact. It will drive traffic your way when your ads are running, but its back to square one when your campaigns end.

Eventually, your ideal platform would depend on your objective and budget. Here’s a quick clue: FB ads are relatively new and, therefore cheaper than Google AdWords. But that could change very soon. So, hurry.

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Azad Shaikh

Azad Shaikh is an internet geek at heart. Azad like to write about anything related to computers, internet, hacking, business and marketing. He is a computer engineering graduate and certified ethical hacker.

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  • Hi Azad,

    Recently I have heard a client complain about how much money he has to spend on PPC ads and the poor ROI he is getting. A few years ago they could afford it, but now times are bad for some people and it is becoming a burden to them. Some ads which used to cost 50 cents now cost 30 dollars. If you are selling something worth 20 dollars and your profit is 5 dollars, then it is no longer effective unless you sell hundreds or thousands of those items to the one customer who you get through PPC.

    • Azad Shaikh

      And which is not possible. I had tried Facebook Ads and got 600+ fans for $40. Currently facebook is more affordable than Adwords.

  • I think it depends on what you are advertising, your budget and geo-targeting. Facebook is cheaper, but people on Facebook are there mostly for socializing. They are not really looking for your product. Google ads on the other hand are geared to specific keyword searches -- they are more targeted to what people are searching for.

    So for a a faster return on investment we would still go with Google adwords or even PPV. In time if you brand yourself well with Facebook and have a product geared to a targeted location you might do better on Facebook.

  • I don’t know any business that would want to use Facebook because Facebook is all about “I” when a website can be about “We”

  • Yasin

    I think Google ads are much better. Though costly, Google knows its business. Search engines lead us to what we call “SEO” and Google is the “GIANT” in that concern. According to me, Facebook ads does not provide the proper environment to market. It seems to be more artistic and creative.

  • William MATAR

    I used both since years, But I always get much better leads through Google ADWORDS. So from now my budget is 80 percent for Google and I keep not more than 20 percent for facebook and only for my page in facebook.. not my websites…. people in FB likes more to keep staying inside it…. while Google is an open project it is a road a platform for sites (world wide web) a free road not a mentality of selfish keeping people to stay inside (fb). So that my experience.

  • Sonia

    According to me facebook ads are more benificial for increasing fb page like not for the selling of product. In google adwords, if an individual search for a perticular keyword it means he/she is finding smething related to that. 6 out of 10 people not search for buying purpose but you can directly target to the 4 people.

    • Azad Shaikh


      I agree with your point. Both of them have pros and cons. Which one you are using?

  • Richard

    I think any successful business on the internet needs a mix of marketing going on. To stick with Facebook only, which is a social platform, would be severely limiting your business. 600 Likes for $40 is great, but how many of those actually turn into sales? Just because they click Like does not mean they have any intention to purchase anything.

    As for google adwords and bing, people are usually looking for an item to buy on the internet myself included. I’ve never gone on Facebook to look for an item to purchase, or a company from which to purchase an item I’m seeking. Facebook search is just not made for that.

    Personally, I spend a lot of money on Google Adwords (but I sell a very unique product, so CPC isn’t super high). I also spend money on Facebook. I’m looking for a marketing mix that will bring customers to my website (Google Adwords) and retain them and send constant communication and build my brand (through Facebook).

  • Hey Azad, great article!

    I was hunting around for some comparative points on AdWords vs FB Ads and you (and the other comments) have made some good points.

    It seems the main draw back with the FB audience is that they aren’t on Facebook to shop, per say, but with the right angle i.e. not selling on FB but using it as a lead nurturing funnel to your money site, the outcome could be quite lucrative.

    • Azad Shaikh

      Hi Elijah,

      Yes agree with you. FB can be more used as branding rather than selling. Nice to see your comment here.

  • @Azad -- Yeah, FB is great for branding and increasing visibility.

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