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8 Differences Between Facebook Ads and Google Ads

by Nedim Talovic · Updated 15 Aug 2021}}

What are differences between Facebook and Google Ads is a really common question. Differences are huge, but both platforms have their pros and cons that I’ll explain you in this blog post.

Small businesses are usually struggling with a choice between these two platforms because their marketing budget isn’t big enough, so they can’t spend thousands of dollars on testings.

In fact, Entrepreneur published that an average small and medium businesses spend $400 each month on marketing.

You can spend it in a day, so that’s the reason why you need to carefully read this blog post. Some types of businesses are not for Facebook at all.

For example, if you’re a local electrician, then advertising on Google is a better a solution because you can offer your services in the moment of searching.

That’s what we call intent.

#1 Reach

One of the biggest benefits of Facebook and Google advertising is reach.

You can reach almost everyone thanks to these two platforms. For instance, Facebook has more than 2 billion monthly active users.

Number of monthly active Facebook users

It’s extremely hard to find a person who’s not active on Facebook and every day the number of active users is increasing.

The number of smart TV users in the United States is also rising. In 2012, there was only 27.3M smart TV users. Today, there are 72.7M users and the number will continue to grow.

The number of smart TV users in the U.S. in millions

Why’s this important? Every smart TV user has a YouTube app installed which means that you can target lots of people while watching a TV.

That’s cost effective, a lot. In fact, a Google study has shown that combining TV and YouTube will increase a reach by 42%, compared to TV alone.

Combining TV and YouTube

As you know, ads on YouTube are part of Google AdWords, but let’s see how what’s the reach of Search and Display Network, so we can compare it to Facebook.

According to Google, Display Network enables you to reach over 90% people on the Internet.

It can help you reach people while watching YouTube video, browsing a favorite site, checking Gmail account, and so on.

Furthermore, Google Search handles 5.5B searches per day or 2 trillion per year, which is definitely amazing.

#2 Demographics

As for demographics, Facebook is a much better option because of the following data:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Relationship status
  • Likes
  • Behaviour

and many others. Targeting all married females between 25 and 35 years who are frequent travelers is possible.

You can learn more about demographics data when you open Audience Insights.

Audience Insights

In fact, you can see it to filter customers by location, age, gender, interests and so on.

Here’s how it looks.

Audience filter

Furthermore, you can target customers by traveling behavior.

Audience filter behaviour

With Google, things are a bit complicated. There are lots of users who just use Google search and who haven’t provided such a precise information.

Google knows what they’re searching for, what they patterns are, but they don’t have information such as do they like McDonald’s, for example.

Of course, there’s a group of users that Google knows what’s their gender, age, parental status and so on. But overall, Facebook is more precise.

Ads has enabled you to gain insights and understand how your ads are doing overall with the demographics you select.

AdWords demographics

You can know which group of consumers clicks the most, which converts, etc. As for YouTube, here’s how their demographics look like.

YouTube unique visitors by age

It’s obvious that the majority users are between 25 and 34 years old.

#3 Intent

Whenever you search for buy a domain name, Google knows that you want to buy a new domain.

Buy a domain name

Your query was transactional which is one of three query types:

  • Transactional
  • Informational
  • Navigational

Transactional queries have the highest conversion rates.

Transactional - Informational - Navigational

Informational queries will always convert a bit less, and navigational is just there to open a specific website. Google is much better than Facebook when it comes to the query intent.

They can provide a solution to their users in the moment of searching. Facebook can’t.

How could you sell a domain by advertising on Facebook? You can create target all U.S. users who have expressed an interest in or like pages related to Domain name.

Detailed targeting

Potential reach is 770,000 people. Lots of potential customers. However, acquiring a new customer would be much higher than Google’s.

#4 Costs

Google AdWords is 11x more expensive than Facebook when you want to 1000 people, says Moz.

Cost to reach 1000 people

The source suggests that Google will charge you $2.75 to reach 1000 users, and Facebook only $0.25.

Lots of advertisers are actually paying their ads per click because it gives them more control. Here are average CPC costs for Facebook.

Facebook Ad performance and costs by industry

Here’s for Google.

AdWords CPC Data

How much you’ll pay depends on various factors, and one of the most important is CTR. CTR is the percentage of people who click on your ad.

For example, if your ad is shown 1,000 times and you get 30 clicks, then your CTR is 3.0%.

CPC - CTR - Relevance Score

As you can see from the photo above, as long as targeted users are interested in your ad, you’ll pay less per click.

The math is simple. For both companies, it’s better to display an ad of company A, 1000 times that has 5% CTR than ad of company B which has 3% CTR. Even if company A offers $0.2 per click which is lower in compared with $0.3, it’s still better.

  • 1000 impressions x 5% = 50 clicks x $0.2 = $10
  • 1000 impressions x 3% = 30 clicks x $0.3 = $9

As you could see, Google is a bit expensive, but you’re fine as long as your CLV is higher than acquisition cost.

#5 Relevance Score vs Quality Score

Although both platforms give you a few ways of paying (per click, per impressions, per video view, etc.), the majority of advertisers choose to pay per click.

Google and Facebook want to display ads that users are willing to click. To achieve that, they’ve invented the following two metrics:

  • Relevance Score
  • Quality Score

The relevance score is a metric created by Facebook and it’s actually based on positive and negative feedbacks.

Relevance score performance

Positive feedback depends on your marketing objective. For example, if your marketing objective is to drive traffic to the website, then a high CTR will definitely have an impact on the relevance score.

Campaign whose marketing objective to increase an engagement will have a higher relevance score when your post gets likes, comments, and shares.

Negative feedback is whenever someone hides your ad because it’s boring, non-relevant, offensive, etc.

Help us understand what's happening

Whenever that happens (and will happen), your relevance score may go down.

Quality score is a component of the following three:

  • Expected CTR
  • Ad relevance
  • Landing page experience

In the past, we were able to see what our current quality score is, but today, that’s changed.

Historical Quality Score

For example, you can change a headline and check how quality score increases or decreases. 1-point quality score increase (from 6 to 7) will result in 14.3% savings, according to WordStream.

Google AdWords Quality Score

That’s why quality score matters.

#6 Fan Base Building

Facebook Page is a great way when a brand wants to communicate with its clients.

Building a fan base is possible with Facebook Ads by advertising your Facebook Page, and for Google, it’s possible when you want to advertise a YouTube channel.

Here are average engagement rates by industry.

Average Page Engagement Rate by Industry

As you can see, Automotive, Fashion, and Alcohol industries are top three industries when it comes to Facebook Page engagement.

However, these percents are decreasing every day. Facebook wants you to advertise. It’s funny to see how Facebook stock price increases while average organic reach decreases.

Facebook Stocks and Organic Reach

Facebook organic reach doesn’t depend only on the industry brand belongs to.

It also depends on the number of likes.

Facebook Organic Reach

For example, pages that have between 100k and 500k likes should have organic reach below 20%.

Here’s how to increase the number of Facebook Page fans by advertising.

You only need to set Engagement as your marketing objective, and it will collect you lots of new fans.

Engagement marketing objective

After you select Engagement, you can choose between Post engagement, Page likes, and Event responses. 


Of course, you’ll pick Pages likes, and after that, you’ll target your potential customers.

This way, your potential customers will stay with your brand for a while. Building a fan base with Google Ads is possible by promoting a YouTube channel.

The big difference is that building a fan base on YouTube is much expensive.

According to, semi-professional video (1-2 minutes) for the web costs between $1,500 and $3,000.

Furthermore, the professional video may cost between $5,000 and $20,000. This is extremely expensive, but you have no choice.

With Facebook, you have. You don’t need to share a video because you can share links to blog posts, photos.

#7 Video Ads

Although video production is really expensive, videos are really a powerful tool for many reasons.

Here are two most important:

  • Brand awareness
  • Driving traffic

According to Consumer Barometer, 1 in 10 Internet users watch DIY or How-to videos in a typical session. 

Meet The How-To-Video-Users

The source says that How-to videos are an appealing method for marketers and brands to find a focused and captive audience.

Next, How-to Video users are brand advocates, even 46% of them like to tell others about the brands they love.

Simply said, increase brand awareness, drive lots of traffic, and you can be sure that almost half of the viewers will talk about your brand.

Facebook video ads allow you to pay per 1000 impressions or per 10-second view. Newcomers should always choose to pay per 10-second view because that’s less risky for them than paying per 1000 impressions.

Facebook recommends the following four tips when using video on Facebook:

  • Upload your videos directly to Facebook
  • Create for mobile
  • Capture attention quickly
  • Design for sound off

It’s impossible to say which top seems more important.

For example, Facebook’s growth is entirely fueled by mobile. Making videos without optimizing it is for mobile is a bad practice.

Facebook revenue by segment

Ads gives you multiple options for YouTube advertising:

  • TrueView ads
  • Bumper ads

TrueView ads

  • In-stream ads
  • Video discovery ads

In-stream appears before, during, and after the video starts.

In fact, it’s the most used advertising option because you only pay if someone watches more than 30 seconds (Skip Ad button) or engages with an interactive element.

TrueView Ads

But not only that because there are also 23x more chances to visit or subscribe to a brand channel, watch more by that brand, or share the brand view.

YouTube Ads Study

As for Bumper ads, they are six-second videos that are good when you want to share an important message to the targeted audience.

#8 Retargeting vs Remarketing

Both platforms have an amazing feature that lets you drive visitors back to the site.

For example, if someone spent a few minutes on your site, but haven’t bought anything, then you can drive them back by using retargeting or remarketing.

According to WebSpeek, 66% people have seen an ad on another website for a product that they have recently viewed. Also, 64% clicked that ad.

Remarketing View and Click

It works in a very simple way. Whenever you visit a site, a cookie will be placed on your browser for the next 30 or 60 days.

During that time, you’ll see ads everywhere. In order to start with remarketing/retargeting, you have to place a small piece of HTML code on your website.

The best practice is through Google Tag Manager. It works in a very simple way. In the workspace, click on New Tag.

New tag

Next, you’ll need to choose a tag type.

There are lots of possible options, but the most used are Universal Analytics and Custom HTML tag.

Here’s how it look when you paste Facebook Pixel Code.

Tab Configuration

If you don’t know how to find a Facebook Pixel Code, I suggest reading our Facebook pixel implementation guide. Next, Google offers two approaches:

  • AdWords
  • Analytics

AdWords approach is about building remarketing list from the data collected by the remarketing tag and Analytics remarketing comes from the data collected by Google Analytics.

In other words, you can target the following visitors:

  • Whose bounce rate is lower than the average
  • Who spend between two and four minutes on your site
  • Who came from Google search

Or whatever you want. Also, you can combine these two lists.


As you could see, both platforms are great and both of them have pros and cons.

Facebook is more about brand awareness while Google is about providing results at the moment of search. It really depends on what type of business you’re actually running.

While Google is better when it comes to intent, Facebook is much better with demographics.

They simply have more the data because of our likes and shares. Also, don’t forget that YouTube videos may grab a portion of traffic by ranking in Google Search results.

Don’t forget that Google is YouTube’s owner. Finally, Facebook costs less which might be interesting to those with a smaller marketing budget.