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Google AdWords vs Facebook Advertising – what is right for your business?

Are you unsure about where your business should be focusing its digital marketing spend? Are you unsure whether you should be using Google Adwords or Facebook advertising?  We’re not surprised!  So many digital marketers are almost evangelical when it comes to the benefits of a specific advertising tool or provider. This makes it challenging as a business owner to know which route to go down, or which agency to work with.  Below are the answers  to many of our client’s frequently asked questions when it comes to paid social advertising (Facebook) versus paid search (Google AdWords).


What is the real difference?  

Google AdWords helps your business find new customers, customers who are looking to buy and customers who are at the bottom of the sales funnel – the low hanging fruit.

Facebook is key for brand awareness, lead generation, social proof but does require some planning.  You should view Facebook Advertising as romancing potential customers, building trust and a relationship.  This isn’t a set and forget style of advertising.

So the key difference between Google Adwords and Facebook advertising is as follows:

Think of Facebook as a party, people aren’t there to be overtly sold. They will, however, take recommendations and are interested in what their friends are doing.  Google AdWords is more like a shopping mall and buyers have their wallet in hand.

For most NZ businesses, both of these audiences are important, so it is crucial your digital marketing specialist understands that these are complementary rather than fighting against each other.


Often the biggest criticism of Facebook advertising by digital marketers is is that Facebook’s reach is only limited to it’s own social network. Comparatively Google has a much broader potential reach – which results in a focus only on Google AdWords.

But it’s not quite that simple…

Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising Audiences

While Google AdWords offers volume of potential audience, Facebook advertising is focused on finding the right people…not finding as many people as possible.  There is no question that Facebook has far superior granular audience segmentation and better custom-audience creation than AdWords.

Our favourite example is:

Your business sells razorblades

  • Do you want to target any prospect looking to buy razors online, they are looking for your product already and have their credit card ready – Google AdWords
  • Do you want to target anyone in your target audience (every male between 15-65yrs in your geographic area)  – and let them know about your business and product for when they are in the market (which may or may not be right now) – Facebook Advertising

Sales Funnels for Google Adwords or Facebook Advertising

When we develop a market proposition with a client we ensure we discuss and document their unique sales funnel.   When it comes to digital advertising, Google AdWords targets those who are ready to buy, who are at the bottom of the sales funnel

If you want to target everyone in the sales funnel then you need to be investigating Facebook ads.  Often it’s still worth targeting those in the rest of the funnel!

B2B or B2C

It’s a common misconception that Facebook ads are ineffective for B2B companies but this doesn’t take Customer Lifetime Value or the sales funnel into account.

We definitely recommend that our B2B clients target potential customers that are lower in the funnel using Adwords.    However, it’s key to remember that Cost Per Click (CPC) is often higher for B2B keywords. This is why we often suggest starting with a full marketing strategy with our clients we ensure Customer Lifetime Value makes the higher CPC worth the marketing spend.

More often than not we recommend that B2B companies still use Facebook to generate top of funnel leads – you can test this yourself by creating a lead generation ad and testing it with appropriate B2B audiences.

Generally B2C businesses should be focusing on Facebook’s cheaper Cost Per Click ads, unless your product is expensive, or is incredibly niche making it challenging to find an effectively sized audience on Facebook to market to.

Landing Pages

Landings pages are crucial when using Google AdWords for two reasons

  • Even the best AdWord setup in the world can’t convert traffic to sales if your landing page and website aren’t doing their job
  • Google has been known to increase CPC by 600% for ads with low quality scores – you will pay more for your ads than your competitor does for a poor landing page (among other quality indicators!)

Your landing page may not be as important when using Facebook Ads. Depending on the Ad you may be sending someone purely to your Facebook page, or to a lead gen form, and they may not be ready to buy yet but most of all  your CPC won’t be affected by a poor landing page (conversions will be however!)

In summary, landing pages should be considered for Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, but have more impact for Adwords.

Mobile Relevance of Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising

There are more than eight options for mobile advertising on Facebook. Historically, they have been ahead of the curve when it comes to adoption of new techology used by your customers. This makes sense as almost half of Facebook’s users will use the platform from a mobile phone only. While mobile devices accounting for just over half of all paid clicks, Google AdWords offer a limited number of mobile specific options.


Facebook offers the ability for you to interact with potential customers, offer additional information and identify barriers to consumption. The more people engage with your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you. Google does encourage you link your business and product views to ads but it’s not like the engagement that can be created on Facebook.

We haven’t even touched on re-targeting, video marketing and conversion results!   But the message is still the same, there is never a single solution or one size fits all approach.  Make sure you’re working with people who understand the bigger picture. You need the right solution for your business.

If you feel you need to talk through the options, we’d love to help you out.

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