Online Advertising: Facebook vs. Google

By Rachel McRae | Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Learn about the key difference between these two online advertising giants.

Both Google and Facebook are pretty big names in the online world. Many people ask “what is the difference between Facebook and Google advertising?” So here, our aim is to dispel the myths and outline the key differences that exist between Facebook and Google advertising.

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click (or PPC) advertising means that the advertiser only pays when a user clicks on an advert. If the ad is not clicked, then there is no cost incurred. Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads primarily use the PPC model. However, Facebook also offers the option to pay for other objectives, such as reach (how many people see the ad), post engagement, or even event reponses.


Google Ads primarily target their advertising by context of what the consumer is searching for – known as the the search queries or keywords. Targeting can be filtered further by location, device and demographic. Facebook on the other hand primarily targets consumers by demographics, such as age, gender, interests, and engagement with particular Facebook pages.

Target Market

Facebook’s majority of users sit in the 18-44 age bracket, whilst Google has a much wider age demographic using Google for searches. If a consumer uses Facebook, the likelihood that they also use Google is quite high. However, when compared to Google, Facebook is slightly more limited in the pool of consumers it has to market to. Keep in mind that Facebook is a banned site in China, and not so big in some other countries, so if your target market is international, Facebook advertising may not be the way to go.

Advert Content

Facebook adverts include the use of video, images or logos, whereas Google Search Ads do not allow for images. Google advertising consists of only text (headlines, descriptions and URLs), intended to link to your website. However, they can also add additional information such as a phone number or address. Facebook Ads are much more visual, as images and video are much more prominent than text. If you would like to use visual content through Google, you can create Display image ads and Video ads, which display on third party websites and video sites respectively.

Marketing Tools

Both Facebook and Google offer free marketing tools by way of Facebook pages and Google My Business listings. These can be used to extend a campaign, maintain momentum and increase exposure following a campaign.

User Intent

Facebook users are often on Facebook to catch up, see images, videos, and information about their friends. Google user are there for a particular reason; to search for something. They are there to find a solution to a problem or answer to a question. This generally makes Google users a lot more receptive to advertising than Facebook users, where an advert may be slightly more intrusive.

Overall both Facebook and Google Ads can add a valuable marketing medium to a campaign. They both have the ability to be highly targeted, and clearly measure ROI. Facebook may be better for branding or non-specific campaigns, however Google wins when wanting to sell something specific to people who are looking for it.

Author: Rachel McRae

Rachel is the founder of Dubzz with qualifications in Marketing, Business, Science & Maori. She is proud Mum to Hugo, and serves the community as a Justice of the Peace. In her free time Rachel enjoys cooking, gardening and walking her dog Henry in the Redwoods.

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