Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads: Which To Use In 2023

Facebook Ads Vs Google Ads: Which To Use In 2023

13th October 2023

So, you’ve got a business that’s ready to go big online. You’ve polished your website, nailed your SEO, and you even have a killer product or service that should practically sell itself. Only, it isn’t. 

You’re staring at your analytics, and the numbers are less exciting than a 3-hour lecture on paint drying. Let’s face it, just because you build it doesn’t mean they’ll come.

To get in front of your potential customers, you need to invest in digital advertisingConsider this: in 2021, Google dominated the search ad market, raking in over $146 billion in ad revenue. 

On the flip side, Facebook isn’t exactly a wallflower at the party, either. The social media giant captured 25.2% of the digital ad market and generated about $84 billion in ad revenue. And with the ever-evolving algorithms and features in 2023, these numbers are shifting sands under our digital feet.

Why does this matter to you? Because these stats aren’t just numbers; they’re a testament to where consumers are spending their time and what platforms businesses trust for their marketing spend.

Google’s search-dominance suggests that if you’re in the business of ‘now,’ like emergency services or ‘last-minute gifts,’ then Google Ads could be your go-to platform. However, if you’re focused on lifestyle, relationships, or anything that thrives on community engagement, Facebook’s massive share indicates that’s where you might want to be.

But, and it’s a considerable ‘but,’ what works for the market might not work for you. Hence this article, aimed at helping you make an educated choice tailored to your business needs, not the industry trend or buzz.

Your choice could very well dictate the success of your ad campaign, and ultimately, your business. Stay with me.

Why the Choice Matters: An Overview of Stakes

Think of your ad budget as a well-crafted latte. Whether you like it or not, every drop of espresso—or dollar in this analogy—counts. If you go too heavy on one platform without assessing your needs, you may as well pour that latte down the drain. 

Google Ads and Facebook Ads have different cost structures, and the ROI varies too. Google Ads can get pricey but often brings in people with higher purchase intent. On the other hand, Facebook Ads might be less expensive for impressions but could deliver a more engaged audience.

Here’s where it gets serious. Aligning your ad strategy with your business goals isn’t optional; it’s essential. If your goal is brand awareness, perhaps the visual-centric universe of Facebook is your arena. But if you’re all about that bottom line and converting leads ASAP, Google’s search-focused approach might align better.

Key Differences Between Facebook Ads and Google Ads

Before you go ahead and throw your marketing dollars into the digital abyss, it’s crucial to understand what sets these two ad giants apart. And no, it’s not just the logo color.

What Sets Them Apart?

In a nutshell, Google Ads capitalizes on intent, while Facebook Ads focus on interest. Google Ads pop up when someone is actively searching for a product or service. In contrast, Facebook Ads appear in users’ social feeds, targeting based on their interests, online behavior, and yes, those dog memes they keep sharing. Google says, “You want this? Here it is.” Facebook says, “You didn’t know you needed this, but trust me, you do.”

Audience Targeting

On Facebook, it’s about as granular as making a customized spice blend. You can target by location, age, gender, interests, job, relationship status, and even political leanings. Have a product for single, 30-something dog owners who enjoy camping? Facebook will find them for you.

Google, however, plays a different game. Its strength lies in keyword targeting. When someone types “best camping gear for dogs,” Google Ads makes sure your product is what they find. It’s less about who they are and more about what they’re looking to buy or find, right at that moment.

Budget and ROI

Let’s talk money. Google Ads often demands a higher budget, especially for competitive keywords.

How Google Ads Spend Works
Source: Google

But it tends to offer higher ROI for businesses that rely on in-the-moment decisions. Need a locksmith? Google. Last-minute flowers for an anniversary? Google.On the flip side, Facebook Ads are generally more cost-effective in terms of reach. You might pay less per click or impression, but the audience might not be as ‘ready to buy.’

It’s like the difference between window shoppers and people who run into the store because they forgot an anniversary gift. In short, your budget isn’t just about how much you spend; it’s about what kind of return you’re gunning for.

Each platform offers unique advantages, and your choice should align with what you’re looking to achieve. So, curious about how to capitalize on both? Stick around; we’re just getting to the good part.

Pros and Cons: Facebook Ads

We’ve been through the nitty-gritty, so now let’s dissect what really makes Facebook Ads tick—or not, depending on what you’re after.

Reach and Engagement

One of the compelling pros of Facebook Ads is its unrivaled reach. With over 3 billion monthly active users as of this year, let’s just say you’re fishing in an ocean, not a pond. 

Source: Statista

And not just any ocean—an ocean where fish voluntarily tell you what they like. The engagement rates can also be remarkably high, particularly because the platform is designed for social interaction. 

However, there’s a flip side. With such a huge audience, your ads could get lost in the sea of content. Unless your targeting is precise and your content genuinely engaging, the reach might not translate to meaningful engagement.

Ad Formats

Variety is the spice of life, and Facebook Ads have it in spades. From image and video ads to carousel and slideshow formats, you’ve got plenty of canvases to paint on. And let’s not forget Stories, a vertical video format that’s perfect for mobile users. It allows for some genuinely creative marketing campaigns.

However, with great choice comes great responsibility. The plethora of formats means you have to work harder to ensure your creative is not just good but tailored to each specific type of ad. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work here.

Analytics and Reporting

Facebook’s analytics and reporting are like a Swiss Army knife for marketers. It offers insights on reach, engagement, click-through rates, and even tracks conversions if you’ve integrated it with your website.

This data can be invaluable for tweaking campaigns and understanding your audience better. You can also conduct A/B tests to determine which elements of your ad are pulling their weight. 

However, it’s a double-edged sword. The depth of data available can be overwhelming. And, here’s the kicker, if you’re not savvy about interpreting these metrics, you can end up misallocating resources or chasing the wrong objectives. So, there you have it—the good, the bad, and the data-intensive about Facebook Ads. But hold your horses; we’re not done yet. Google Ads has its own story to tell, and it’s coming up next.

Pros and Cons: Google Ad

Alright, we’ve dissected Facebook Ads, but what about Google? Does it wear the crown or play second fiddle? Let’s dig in.

Search Intent

Google Ads capitalizes on something quite valuable: search intent. When someone types “best winter boots,” they’re not casually scrolling; they’re likely in the mood to buy—or at least research. This makes your ads extremely relevant, enhancing the chances of conversion. However, the pitfall here is competition. With businesses bidding on popular keywords, costs can skyrocket. Plus, if you’re not meticulous with your keyword planning, you could end up wasting money on low-intent searches.

Ad Formats

Google might not offer as many flashy formats as Facebook, but what it does offer is laser-focused. 

Ad formats google

From text-based search ads to image-rich display ads, there’s something for every kind of campaign. Then there are video ads through YouTube, and let’s not forget shopping ads, perfect for e-commerce businesses. 

The drawback? The formats available are generally tailored to specific stages of the customer journey. That means you’ll need a clear understanding of what you want to achieve with each ad type, or you might misfire.

Analytics and Reporting

If Facebook’s analytics are a Swiss Army knife, then Google Ads analytics are more like a full-fledged toolbox. You’ve got options. You can track everything from click-through rates to cost-per-acquisition, and you can get so granular that you can even see how long someone hovered over your ad without clicking. Seriously. 

But, of course, with great power comes great complexity. The dashboard can be intimidating, and if you’re not clear on which metrics are most meaningful to your goals, you might find yourself drowning in data without actionable insights. So, there’s the skinny on Google Ads — powerful but not without its complexities. You’ve got options, yes, but those options come with their own set of challenges.

By now, I hope the fog’s lifting a bit on this whole Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads conundrum. Ready for the grand finale? Let’s discuss how to harmonize these two platforms for an ad strategy that sings. Stay tuned.

Navigating Choices: Which Platform for Which Purpose?

Alright, let’s get down to brass tacks. Knowing what each platform excels in can be your roadmap to making an educated decision.

When to use Facebook Ads


If you’re in the e-commerce game, Facebook is your playground. Its granular targeting allows you to reach those niche audiences that are itching for what you’re selling. Think of it as the sniper rifle of digital advertising.

Brand Awareness

Because of its sheer user base and the ‘social’ nature of the platform, Facebook is excellent for creating brand buzz. It’s like throwing a party where everyone’s invited and mingling—ideal for getting your name out there.

When to use Google Ads

Local Business

If you’re a local business, Google Ads is your bread and butter. Searches like “emergency plumber near me” are your golden ticket. It’s like having a neon sign that only lights up when someone’s looking for exactly what you offer.

High-value Products

With Google Ads, you can target people who are further down the sales funnel. For high-ticket items where customers usually spend time researching, Google can put you right in their line of sight.


With Google’s new Performance Max campaigns, eCommerce is now easier than ever. Once you pair it with Google Merchant Center, sales are almost guaranteed (depending on your niche).

Why Not Both? The Case for an Omnichannel Approach

Synergies between Facebook and Google

You know, Facebook and Google are a bit like wine and cheese; they can complement each other beautifully.

For instance, you can use Google to capture demand and Facebook to create it. Retargeting across both platforms can also amplify your message.

How to Decide if This Approach Fits Your Business

The trick to nailing the omnichannel approach is understanding your audience and their customer journey. If your customers frequent both platforms at different stages of their buying process, going omnichannel could be your best bet. So there you have it. It’s not an either-or situation; it’s about knowing when to use what, and sometimes, it’s about using both.

When All’s Said and Done: Making Your Choice in 2023

By now, I hope your head isn’t spinning too much from all the information we’ve covered. So, let’s wrap this up. Your decision between Google Ads and Facebook Ads should primarily hinge on your business objectives.

Are you trying to build brand awareness or are you attempting to capture high-intent shoppers? These are the types of questions that should guide your strategy. But don’t etch any of this in stone. Digital marketing is always changing, especially in the breakneck year that is 2023.

Your best ally is adaptability. Keep an eye on your metrics, reassess your strategies periodically, and don’t be afraid to pivot when needed. So, whether you choose Facebook, Google, or both, just remember—keep aligning your efforts with your business goals. There’s no one-size-fits-all; it’s about crafting the perfect fit for you. Happy advertising!


Written By
Josiah is a multi-award-winning digital marketing consultant and former journalist for the Australia Times. He now writes for JRR Marketing, helping start-ups and Fortune 500s use Google Ads to market their businesses online and generate sustainable, predictable growth.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.