Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: Which is Best? Cost & ROI

Google and Facebook Ads are the two most used advertising platforms in the world. While for most businesses both channels are perfectly suitable for some one channel may be more suited than the other.

These two platforms have transformed the way businesses reach their target audience to generate leads and sales, each with its unique strengths and advantages. When it comes to deciding between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, it’s crucial to consider your specific business needs and objectives.

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads
Google Ads vs Facebook Ads

Google Ads excels in delivering intent-driven advertising, making it the go-to choice for businesses aiming to capture users actively searching for products or services. On the other hand, Facebook Ads harness the power of user data and interests, allowing you to tap into a massive user base with precise targeting.

To make an informed decision, you need to understand the cost dynamics and return on investment (ROI) associated with both platforms. Each has its unique pricing structure and performance metrics.

This guide will do a detailed comparison of Google Ads and Facebook Ads, focusing on cost considerations and ROI potential. By the time you finish reading, you’ll be equipped to make the best choice for your business’s advertising strategy. So, let’s embark on this journey to unravel the intricacies of these advertising behemoths.

Understanding search vs social

The distinction between search and social platforms is fundamental to understanding their advertising dynamics. At a glance, the differentiation might seem clear-cut: search engines are where users go to search for information, products, and services, while social platforms are the realm of social interaction and content sharing.

Google, the undisputed king of search engines, boasts a colossal user base that relies on it to find answers, solutions, and products. Users arrive with specific queries, demonstrating their readiness to engage with your offerings. This search intent makes Google Ads the preferred choice for businesses aiming to capture high-quality leads actively seeking their products or services.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have Facebook, the champion of social platforms. Users on Facebook engage with a diverse range of content, from personal updates to shared articles and videos. The platform thrives on understanding its users’ interests, behaviours, and connections, allowing advertisers to target precise demographics. Facebook Ads leverage the power of social data to deliver ads that resonate with users based on their personal preferences and online behaviour.

Google’s advertising empire encompasses not only Google Search but also other platforms like YouTube, Gmail and other partner sites. The extensive Google Display Network (GDN) offers a broad reach across websites, mobile apps, and video platforms.

Facebook’s influence extends beyond its flagship platform to include Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger etc. This expansive network empowers advertisers to connect with audiences across multiple digital touchpoints.

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads, formerly known as Google AdWords, is an online advertising platform developed by Google. It offers businesses a powerful tool to promote their products or services through paid advertising. Google Ads allows advertisers to display their ads on Google’s search engine results pages, as well as across its vast network of partner websites and platforms.

Key advantages of using Google Ads

  • High Intent Targeting: Google Ads allows advertisers to target users with high intent. Ads are displayed to individuals actively searching for specific keywords related to products or services, making them more likely to convert.
  • Vast Reach: Google is the most widely used search engine globally, providing advertisers with access to an extensive audience. Google Ads can reach potential customers on various platforms, including Google Search, YouTube, Gmail, and partner websites.
  • Flexible Budgeting: Advertisers have control over their budget and can set daily limits. This flexibility allows businesses of all sizes to participate in Google Ads, whether they have a modest budget or a sole trader.
  • Measurable Performance: Google Ads provides robust analytics and tracking tools. Advertisers can measure the performance of their campaigns in real time, allowing for data-driven decisions and optimisations to improve results.
  • Quick Results: Unlike organic search strategies, Google Ads can generate immediate results. Once a campaign is set up, ads can start appearing to users actively searching for relevant keywords, providing a quick avenue for attracting potential customers.

Main ad formats of Google ads

  • Search Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Image Ads

What is Facebook Ads?

Facebook Ads is the advertising platform of the world’s largest social media network, Facebook. It enables businesses to create and display ads across Facebook’s family of apps and services, including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger etc.

Key advantages of using Facebook Ads

  • Detailed Audience Targeting: Facebook Ads offer extensive audience targeting options based on demographics, interests, behaviours, and location. Advertisers can reach specific demographics, ensuring their content is seen by users likely to be interested in their products or services.
  • Visual Appeal: Facebook is a highly visual platform, and ads can include engaging images and videos. The visually appealing nature of Facebook Ads can capture users’ attention more effectively than text-based ads, potentially leading to higher engagement.
  • Wide Platform Reach: Facebook Ads extend beyond the Facebook platform itself and include Instagram, Messenger, and Audience Network. This broader reach provides advertisers with access to a diverse audience across various platforms.
  • Powerful Remarketing Capabilities: Similar to Google Ads, Facebook Ads allow for effective remarketing. Advertisers can target users who have interacted with their website or app, encouraging them to revisit and complete desired actions.
  • Flexible Ad Formats: Facebook offers a variety of ad formats, including photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more. Advertisers can choose formats that align with their goals, whether it’s showcasing products, telling a story, or driving app installations.

Main ad formats of Facebook ads

  • Image Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads

Pricing of Google Ads and Facebook Ads

Both these platforms work very differently when it comes to pricing.

Google Ads operates on a pay-per-click (PPC) model, meaning advertisers only pay when users click on their ads.

Facebook Ads offers both pay-per-click (PPC) and pay-per-impression (CPM) pricing models, making it a versatile tool for achieving a wide range of advertising goals, from increasing brand awareness to driving website traffic and conversions.

Google Ads cost

As mentioned above when you will advertise on Google, generally you will pay by the click. Google has a keyword planner tool that will give you insight into the CPC for various keywords.

We have a dedicated page about Google Ads cost in Australia which you can refer to learn more.

Facebook Ads cost

You generally pay by the impression when you advertise on Facebook Ads. Generally, the cost per impression is very cheap but you would need a decent impression to get a click and it is also impacted by the quality of your ads and your offerings.

Learn more about Facebook Ads cost for a detailed understanding.

The minimum budget needed to run a successful campaign

As discussed above there is no minimum limit to advertising on either platform. As AI plays an important role in both Facebook Ads and Google Ads, you will need to allocate a decent budget to run a successful campaign as machine learning takes time to find the right audience and get conversions.

Important points

  • Google Ads: With Google Ads, you can run successful campaigns with a very low budget. For example: Let’s say you provide a “First Aid Training” course, you can get started with as little as $20 per day which may give you a few leads every day.
  • Facebook Ads: Generally, speaking the baseline budget should be a little higher to start getting conversions. In the “First aid training example”, you may need to have a minimum of $40. You will often struggle to get conversions with very lower-budget Facebook campaigns.

The AI impact

AI and machine learning is an integral part of Facebook Ads and Google Ads.

  • Facebook Learning Phase: A healthy way to run Facebook Ads is to make sure your ad sets are not in the learning phase. One of the best ways to get out of the learning phase is by running a campaign with a healthy budget and aiming to get a minimum of 50 conversions every month.
  • Google Ads: Google Ads generally start to perform in a lot shorter time but auto-bidding campaigns still need more time to match the right audience and perform to their potential.

Reaching Search, Cold, Warm and Hot audiences

Search Audience: When it comes to targeting search-related audiences, Google Ads reigns supreme. It is the go-to channel for businesses looking to tap into users actively seeking information, products, or services. Through Google Ads, you can bid on keywords that are highly relevant to your offerings, ensuring that your ads appear when users enter these search terms. This laser-focused approach makes Google Ads an invaluable tool for driving increased traffic and, ultimately, conversions. It’s all about meeting the audience where they’re already engaged in search.

Cold Audience: When it comes to reaching a cold audience – those who may not be familiar with your brand or offerings – Facebook Ads takes the lead. With Facebook’s robust targeting capabilities, advertisers can create campaigns that zero in on user demographics, interests, and emerging trends. Recently, Google has introduced Performance Max (PMax) campaigns, which are gaining traction in this area. However, Facebook’s long-established dominance in targeting cold audiences remains a strong contender.

Warm & Hot Audiences: Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer the power of remarketing to re-engage with warm and hot audiences. However, Facebook excels in this domain, especially when it comes to enticing these audiences to return to your website and complete their desired action, such as making a purchase. Facebook’s dynamic and visually engaging ad formats are particularly effective in reminding users about products or services they’ve previously viewed, adding them to their cart, or showing interest in. This makes Facebook a top choice for businesses looking to guide their warm and hot audiences back to the conversion path.


The cost per conversion or ROI on both channels may be similar or may vary drastically.

The ROI is impacted by a few factors in both Google Ads and Facebook Ads:

  • Overall competition in your niche
  • Quality of campaign building

Limitations of Google Ads and Facebook Ads

Google Ads limitations

  • Competition and Bidding Wars: In highly competitive industries, bidding for keywords on Google Ads can become expensive, leading to bidding wars that might strain smaller budgets.
  • Dependency on Search Volume: The effectiveness of Google Ads relies on search volume for specific keywords. In niches with low search volume, the impact may be limited.
  • Click Fraud: Click fraud, where competitors or malicious entities click on ads with the intention of depleting the advertiser’s budget, can be a concern for Google Ads campaigns.
  • Limited Ad Formats: Google Ads primarily rely on text-based ads, and while there are some extensions and variations, the visual appeal is generally not as robust as other platforms.

Facebook Ads limitations

  • Limited Search Intent Targeting: Unlike Google Ads, Facebook Ads may not capture users with high search intent actively seeking specific products or services.
  • Ad Fatigue: With the potential for high-frequency ad exposure, users may experience ad fatigue, leading to reduced engagement and effectiveness over time.
  • Visual Competition: The visual nature of Facebook Ads means that advertisers need compelling and visually appealing creatives to stand out in a crowded environment.
  • Not Suitable for Small Budget Campaigns: Facebook Ads work better if you allocate a decent budget. As you pay by impression, a smaller budget campaign may use its daily budget and struggle to generate any kind of impact.

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