For many entrepreneurs, the question of Facebook Ads vs. Google AdWords is a big one. Where should you focus your efforts? Which will be most beneficial for you?

The reality is that both of these platforms cover a very large user base and can be used very successfully to execute powerful advertising campaigns. That said, though, there are some general guidelines that can be used to determine which platform is better for your business.

Viewer Intent

What are people doing when they see your advertisement? What are they looking for in their lives at that time? Do they know what they need such that they are actively looking for it, or are they suffering without knowing what the solution to their problem is?

If people know what the solution (or a solution) to their problem is, they will most likely go to a search engine such as Google to try to find someone who provides that solution, and you as an entrepreneur can target them based on what they know (or think) they need. This is where the Google AdWords platform really shines.

In many cases, though, people can be found in any of the following situations:

  • They haven’t realized that they have a problem.
  • They know they have a problem, but they don’t know what it is.
  • They haven’t realized that there is a solution to the problem.
  • They don’t know where to look to find that solution.
  • They have tried some solutions, but they are frustrated at the results.

These are the people you can reach more effectively through Facebook Ads.

Your Business Strategy

Are you looking for a lot of one-off sales, or are you trying to build relationships from people who will buy again and again, possibly walking them up a value ladder in which they will pay increasingly high fees for increasingly high value?

If your business strategy is simpler such that you are looking for one-off sales – or if you plan on nurturing relationships but don’t plan on using digital marketing to do that past the first interaction – then Google AdWords is probably the better channel for you.

If your business strategy involves creating content through various additional channels such as email marketing, chatbots, and ad retargeting, Facebook Ads provides a platform that is more conducive to this. The platform allows you to retarget people who have been to your website, who have progressed to a specific point in your sales funnel, who have viewed specific videos you have posted, etc. This creates an entire automated system for establishing relationships and building trust.

Your Ad Content

Google AdWords serves relatively simple ads: text and maybe some small images. Facebook Ads have more text content and larger images. They also may be videos. (Google does provide video ads through YouTube, but that is a separate platform.)

As we have noted previously, one very effective tactic with Facebook Ads is to run a video views campaign to build an audience and then run a conversion campaign to target the people who watched that video. This is not something you can do on Google.

So basically, if you want to make video a part of your advertising strategy, the better platform for that is Facebook Ads.

Your Current Traffic Volume

This one is a close call between Google and Facebook, but it is still worth mentioning.

Both Google and Facebook allow retargeting/remarketing to people who have visited your website already. However, Facebook has a more robust ability to use that function to engage with people in various ways, such as by showing them videos, sending them chatbot messages, etc., whereas Google simply continues to serve simple text ads or banners.

If you have a large volume of current website traffic, Facebook will likely provide the better channel for making the most of those website hitsĀ  you are getting by continuing to serve advertisements to those people in more engaging ways. One approach you may take is to use AdWords to drive initial traffic (preferably to various specific sales funnels that are all hosted on your domain) and then use Facebook as a powerful retargeting platform.

In Summary

If you are managing your own ads and you are skilled at either of these platforms, the better platform to use will probably be the one in which you know what you’re doing.

If people are already specifically looking for what you offer, focus on Google AdWords. If they aren’t, use Facebook Ads.

All things considered, the Facebook Ads platform offers the potential for much more cost-efficient conversions than what you can get with Google AdWords. However, this usually means creating a more complex marketing system comprising several levels of engagement, and some businesses may find that more difficult than others.