Facebook Ads Vs. Google Ads: Where to Invest Your Ad Money?


Google Ads and Facebook Ads are the two reigning champions of PPC Ads. No other platform comes even close.

Despite having different advertising models, the two have long held an adversarial position. 

It’s quite obvious that the two platforms have always been in direct competition – with each fighting to usurp the other and dominate the PPC landscape.

And the happiest group about this are the advertisers that want to make the most of their PPC ads. 

So, asked to choose which platform to utilise for your PPC ads, which one should it be?

Read on as we try to compare the two and offer some perspective on their strengths and weaknesses.

A better version of the question should be, “between Google Ads and Facebook Ads, which is better?”

And the right answer is, “it depends.” 

When comparing the two, you have to understand that they each operate differently. 

So, a more fitting question should be:

  • Which one fits my budget best?
  • Which one gels well with my product?
  • What stage of the buyer’s journey works best with Google Ads or Facebook Ads?

There’s so much to be discussed between these two types of Ads. 

What’s Google Ads?

Google Ads (formerly known as Google AdWords) is Google’s version of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads. It’s a Google-owned and managed advertising platform for paid ads. These ads will then appear on Google’s search results or the websites signed up with Google’s Display Network. 

How Google Ads Work

Google Ads are served based on the Search Network. Technically, businesses are allowed to serve ads to users that are actively searching for their products or services. 

Keywords are the lifeblood of your search campaign. 

You begin by doing thorough keyword research to find a list of relevant keywords relating to your products or services. When a user queries any of the keywords, Google will respond by serving your ads to them, and only bill you when they click on the ad. 

While setting up the Ads, Google will require you to set the “Max CPC” to indicate the maximum amount you’re willing to spend on each click.

Overall, the main reason for running Google ads is to direct users that are actively searching for your product or service offerings to your website. 

Why Google ads?

Why would a marketer want to skip all the other ad options and settle for Google Ads? What makes it so special?

Here are the reasons:

Over 5 Billion Search Queries in a Day: Over 5 billion people use Google to find solutions. Moreover, Google has been around for close to two decades now, gaining seniority in terms of paid advertising.

Users Have Buying Intent: When a user runs a search query, you can bet they have confirmed interest in your products or services. They’re interested in a solution or product on your site. 

A chance to Make $8 from Every $1 You Spend: It’s been found that for every $1 you spend on Google Ads, you’re likely to make about $8 in returns. 

The reasons are rife. We only managed to cover a few in this section of the article. But the main reason ought to be the fact that your competitors are using it to promote their business. 

If you’re a big fan of PPC ads, then Google Ads should be part of your strategy for paid ads, unless otherwise. 

Does Google Ads Work?

Of course, yes. 

Google Ads work.

Just learn how to optimise your ads, and you’d have created a high ROI ad campaign. 

6 Key benefits Google Ads

Here are 6 exclusive benefits of Google Ads:

Extensive Audience Reach: Google handles an excess of 75, 000 search queries with every passing second. Moreover, the platform has been on for more than two decades now. This gives them seniority status over any other advertising platform out there. It also boasts the greatest potential of all advertising platform. Not to mention, their searches have been increasing over the years.

Intent: With Google, you gain access to an unlimited number of prospects who are actively searching the internet for information on your product or service offerings. These are people with a real interest in your offer. 

Ad Format Options: Google has a range of ad format options to choose from. They also have an endless list of add-ons that you can use to optimise your ads for even better results. Their ad format options include text ads, image ads, add promotion ads, call-only ads, showcase shopping ads, responsive search ads, video ads, product listing ads, and app promotion ads. 

Not Limited to One Particular Industry: Unlike other advertising platforms that cater to a specific audience, purpose or domain, Google has room for almost any industry out there. After running your ad with Google, your chances of dominating your industry increases dramatically, regardless of your domain. 

Equal Advertisement Potential: There is no special favour in the manner at which the ads are served. Whether you’re a small business or a well-established brand, Google will serve your ads equally. Google doesn’t even look at your ad budget. They only care about relevance and the quality of your ad. User experience takes precedence, and that means serving them with the most relevant of ads.  

An Effective Advertising Strategy for B2B: If you’ve been wondering about what marketing strategy would work for B2B, then look no further than Google Ads. When your prospects run a search query, you want to make sure your business is among the results that appear in the search engine result pages. 

What’s even better, Google Ads work instantly. Their traffic is almost instant — or as long as people are searching for your products or services, Google will immediately begin directing them your way. 

Pros and Cons of Google Ads

There are so many advantages and disadvantages to using Google ads. We plan to shed some light on a few of them in this section of the article:

Pros of Google Ads

Enhanced Visibility

Ever wondered why SEO has grown to be so popular nowadays?

That’s because it’s all about visibility, exposure, and ranking.

Come to think about: your website plays a secondary role in the world of marketing. Before someone visits your website, it must first be made visible to your target audience.

And that’s exactly where Google Ads come in. 

Quality Google Ads will appear on top of organic search results, thus increasing your site’s visibility. 

Instant Traffic and Leads

SEO takes time. You have to work and then wait for search engines to crawl, index, and rank your website. 

It might take days, weeks, or even months before your effort pays off.

But that’s not the case with Google Ads.

Your link should appear in the SERPs immediately you launch your ad campaign. 

More Conversion

With Google Ads, users that click on your ads already have a buying intent.

It’s, therefore, safe to say that they generate better quality traffic than SEO or Facebook Ads.

Running a Google Ads campaign presents you with an ample opportunity to boost conversion. 

And by optimising your campaign, you’ll be helping Google to better comprehend the quality of leads you’re interested in. 

Budget Control

The most important part of running Google Ads is the fact that you can control your Ad budget to avoid overspending or wasting it. 

With Google, you can easily set your daily ad budget. 

Once Google hits the specified threshold, your ad will automatically stop running. Keep in mind that you’re only billed when a user clicks on them. 

That means you get to enjoy free impressions. 

Cons of Running Google Ads

No Guarantee for the Top Position

It’s a common misconception that Google Ads must always appear at the top.

That’s not true considering Google has to look into your quality score and bidding amount to determine your ad position. Meaning, there’s a fair chance your ad might not even appear on the first page. 

A poor-quality score and low bidding translate to poor visibility. 

Good Ad Copies Don’t Guarantee Your Success

Good ad copies aren’t the only deciding factors in your ad success.

You have to think about conversion, which goes beyond getting clicks to the quality of your landing pages.

As you run competitive Google Ads, make sure you’re also optimising your landing page for conversion. 

Fierce Competition

It’s like every company in Singapore wants a piece of paid traffic, and they don’t mind outbidding you no matter how high you go. 

That explains why the CPC for the most relevant keywords in your industry will always be high, unless otherwise. 

You may be forced to allocate an enormous budget for PPC ads if you plan to maintain the top position. 

What are Facebook Ads?

Quite similar to Google Ads, Facebook Ads refer to Facebook’s version of paid ads. You guessed it right – the ads appear on Facebook — on users’ newsfeed, right-hand column, messenger inbox, Facebook marketplace, and Instagram newsfeed.

Facebook Advertisers are charged based on the number of clicks, actions, and impressions.

Today, paid ads are ranked third as the go-to advertising methods, with Google and Facebook holding the largest market share. 

In Singapore, Google is still the leading search engine, holding 95.81% of the market share. 

It’s the same with Facebook, the leading social media network in the country – with over 4.45 million users (81% market share). 

How Facebook Ads Work

Facebook ads are one of the most laser-focused targeting ad options you’ll ever come across anywhere.

They’re designed to target users based on their interests, location, profile data, and demographic. 

As an advertiser, you’re charged every time your ad earns a click, impression, or purchase. 

How much you’re charged will vary depending on your ad budget and bid, as set by you when launching your ad. 

This is the most basic our explanation can get. Now let’s throw in some meat by walking you through some of the details.

The Main Components of Every Facebook Ad Campaign

Here are the main components of every Facebook ad campaign: 

Creative: Creative refers to every bit of your creative work. It includes visuals (photos and videos), as well as your ad copy. It’s the part where you get creative with attracting your users’ attention.

Targeting: Targeting is where you specify your audience or the people that see your ads. Facebook allows you to narrow down your audience based on their interest, demographic, gender, location, and so on. 

Placement: Facebook ad placement is what determines where your ads appear –users’ newsfeed, right-hand column, on messenger, and so on. 

Bid: Your bid refers to the maximum amount you’re willing to be billed for each click, purchase, or view. 

Budget: Your budget refers to your maximum spend over a specified period, say a day, week, or even months. 

Schedule: Schedule is where you specify the length of time or for how long you want your ads to run. It could be a day, week, month, or any specified number of days. 

These are the elements to deliberate on whenever you’re running Facebook ads.

Why Facebook Ads?

Why would anyone want to run Facebook Ads and not Google Ads or any other type of Ads?

Here are a few of the reason an advertiser would prefer Facebook Ads over any other type of ads:

Largest Audience Size: Facebook has the largest audience size, boasting an excess of 1.13 billion daily active users. No other platform comes even close in terms of audience size.

Attention: 88% of Singaporeans are online. Active Facebook users account for about 74.4% of internet users. Speaking of which, an average Facebook user spends about 2 hours 8 seconds per day on social media. And you can bet half of that time goes to Facebook.  

Facebook Organic Reach is on a Sharp Decline: A while back we could have advised you to consider working on your Facebook organic reach. But things have significantly changed over the years. If you’re serious about making it work with this platform, then pay-to-play is the name of the game. 

Incredible Targeting Options: No other platform can hold a candle to Facebook’s targeting options. Facebook offers you a chance to narrow down to a very specific audience, based on their demographic, location, interest, gender, and so on. 

Do Facebook Ads Work?

Yes, they do. 

And they work incredibly well. 

Facebook is (by far) one of the most affordable, or should we say cost-effective, advertising platforms you’ll ever come across anywhere. 

They have a generous ROI. But following their range of available ad options, the question of ROI largely depends on what type of Facebook ad you choose to run. 

6 Key Benefits of Facebook Ads

Both Google and Facebook Ads boast their own share of unique benefits. While Google offers you a chance to target prospects with a real interest in your product or services offering, Facebook is all about laser-focused targeting. 

That being said, here are the exclusive benefits of running Facebook ads:

Large Audience Network: Facebook has an excess of 1.82 billion active daily uses. These are the people that actively log into Facebook every day to connect with their peers, update their status, and actively participate in groups discussions. 

Unmatched Visual Platform: The online community has a strong preference for visual content. Whether it’s video or image, research shows online users prefer visuals over text – and what other platform appears to have perfected on act better than Facebook? Facebook ads allow you to incorporate powerful visuals into your ads to attract viewers. It’s even better because the ads have been designed to seamlessly blend with any type of visual – whether it’s an image, video, meme, gif, you name them. 

Amazing Targeting Capability: Facebook is the undisputed king of social media, connecting billions of users. And that’s not all. Their ad platform offers unparalleled targeting capabilities. Come to think of it: people share huge amounts of revealing information about themselves on this platform. With this information, advertisers have a lot to work with when targeting users.

Lookalike Audiences: Facebook introduced this incredible feature a few years back. It’s a powerful targeting option if well utilised. With this feature, advertisers can upload relevant information on their current customer base and Facebook will trawl their database and produce a similar audience. The generated list will contain users with similar interests and behaviour. 

Budget-friendly Ad Platform: Facebook is the most affordable advertising platform with a relatively lower cost-per-click. This makes it the go-to advertising platform for start-ups and businesses operating on a lower advertising budget. 

Better ROI: Facebook is all about creating beautiful, highly targeted and engaging ads. Their system has been tested and found to offer incredible returns. 

The Pros and Cons of Running Facebook Ads


Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is about exposing your brand to an extensive audience. 

It’s about reach-maximisation, and it’s only viable if the platform is swamped with loads of active users. 

For a platform that has attracted 2.32 billion active users, it’s safe to say no other platform bests Facebooks in terms of brand awareness. 

It’s the most appropriate platform for making your business known to customers and attract new ones. 

Amazing Targeting Options

Facebook outdid themselves when they developed their targeting system. 

Suffice it to say they have the most laser-focused targeting system you’ll ever come across online. 

With their targeting options, you can easily fetch the most relevant audience on Facebook to serve your ads. 

Whether it’s by gender, location, interests, and so on, the Facebook ad platform makes it possible to find the most relevant audience for your ad. 

Keep the Audience Engaged

There are about 1.52 billion daily active users on Facebook. 

A day hardly slides by without 1.52 billion people logging into their Facebook accounts and interacting with their peers, groups, or brands. 

The more these people see your brand, the more they’re likely to warm up to it.

Nothing beats this approach. 

People don’t necessarily have to be interested in your product. But the more they look at your ads, the more their interests build up – hence, more conversions.  

Open for New Leads

Facebook works great where you’re looking to win over new customers.

First, they have lookalikes that you can use to find people with similar interest to the customers you’ve served or interacted with in the past. 

Generating new leads on Facebook has never been easier. 

And the fact that you can sift through your audience and remain with only relevant one means you’ll not be wasting your time and resources. 

The Cons of Facebook Ads

Ingenuine Clicks

Not every Facebook user is genuine with the information they give. Facebook is still struggling with the issue of fake profiles, and until that’s fixed, then not every click you get will always amount to something.


Facebook users tend to easily get distracted. 

They have so much going on around them. They’ll be chatting with their friends, engaging with their relatives, and engaging in other online activities. 

There’s a fair chance that your ad may go unnoticed or even ignored. 

Lower Purchase Intent

Unlike Google Ads, people don’t log into Facebook to buy anything. 

So, whatever buying decision they make will be on impulse. 

Size of Audience

Both Google and Facebook enjoy an extensive reach. While Google handles an estimated 6 billion daily searches, Facebook has an excess of 1.75 billion users that actively log into their account to engage with other users. 

It’s, therefore, safe to say a significant number of your target audience can be found on both platforms. It’s for this reason that it’s hard to choose which platform would be a better fit for your type of audience. 

The only way around this is to ask yourself if your product is social or search-oriented. 

Google Ads are only effective where your prospects are searching for a specific product or service. That demands that your prospects have some knowledge about the product. But where you’re releasing a product that’s relatively new – and which many people aren’t aware of, then Facebook could be the right advertising platform for you. 

Purchase Intent

Google is the undisputed king of purchase intent. Facebook can’t even hold a candle to them where buying intent is the decisive factor. 

When someone searches for a particular product or services, then it’s common sense that they have every intention to purchase it. What search engines do is place your product and services in front of your target audience at that exact point in time that they need it.

There’s therefore a high likelihood of them going through with a purchase. 

Ad Formats

You’re also provided with a range of ad formats to choose from when launching the ads. What Google does is provide you with the most eye-catching block of text for your targeted users. But overall, your ads will be more text-based as opposed to image-based. 

Facebook, on the other hand, has enabled image-based ads that add a visual impact to your marketing message. They’re more attention-grabbing and more likely to be read or viewed. 

This should help you with the decision you make. If your campaign requires a more text-based approach, then Google is the platform to choose. However, if your approach requires a visual-oriented approach, then Facebook is the absolute winner. 

Targeting Options

Both platforms feature a range of targeting and retargeting options to exploit. You can target audiences based on their location, gender, age, and so on. 

However, asked to choose the winner in this, then we can bet Facebook will have everyone’s votes. 

Facebook has one of the most advanced targeting options you’ll ever come across anywhere. 

That’s because it allows you to create an audience based on a super-long list of interests and behaviours, thanks to the massive amount of information it collects from billions of its users. 

When you have no way to describe your target audience, then Google Ads make the best choice. 

But if you have the slightest idea of who your target audience is or happen to know something specific about them or if you’re targeting a specific niche, then Facebook Ads are the way to go.

Cost and Returns

The average cost-per-click (CPC) on Google Ads tends to vary from one industry to another. 

The second factor that influences the cost of running an Ad on Google is Ad placement. 

While e-commerce businesses may be working with as low as $1.15 per click, businesses in the legal sector have to part away with about $6.75 per click. 

Facebook ads, on the other hand, are comparatively way less expensive than the cost of running an ad on Google. But then again, the CPC cost tends to vary from one industry to another. 

For example, while businesses in the fashion industry will be paying as low as $0.45 per click, insurance businesses have to part away with a whopping $3.77 per click.

Suffice it to say, the CPC cost of each platform will (for the most part) be varying depending on the level of competition in your industry. 

But if the cost is your major decisive factor in this, then it helps to mention Google is a little bit more expensive than Facebook. 

Audience Engagement

It’s simple logic: when running any ad, you have to weigh your options and make sure you’re running your ads where they’re most likely to engage the audience. 

About 52% of marketers think Facebook ads are better placed to engage with the audience than Google Ads. 

Testing Google Ads and Facebook Ads to Determine the Right Ad Platform for Your Business

We understand it’s a tough call to choose between these two gorilla PPC advertising platforms. But how about you test them both?

Find out which one of them performs better or is better suited to help you grow and increase your returns. 

Remember you’re not just testing them for one marketing aspect. Test them to find out which one of them is better suited to generate brand awareness. You also want to look at their returns and engagement rate. 

As you’re soon to find out, the relationship between these two PPC ad platforms doesn’t necessarily have to be an adversarial one. Try asking any serious marketer about the two and they’ll be quick to point out that they complement each other. 

While Facebook ads are great for generating brand awareness, Google Ads are an excellent choice for closing deals. 

A 3-Step Formula When Using the Two Platforms (Google Ads and Facebook Ads)

The best approach in any digital marketing strategy is where you look at everything holistically. Learn the strength and weaknesses of each platform, and how to make the most of them.

Here’s a simple formula we developed that increase your chances of success:

Use relatable Listicles to Drive Cheap Clicks

Don’t online users just love listicles. 

For example, if your business sells waterproof agents, you could create a listicle along the lines of “15 Non-boring Ways to Stay Dry When You’re Out Camping in the Rain.” 

Such a list will allow you to target campers using a series of camping-related search terms. This is one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to your website without overstretching your budget. 

Now, try combining that with a content upgrade, where an online user is allowed to access even more of your content by opting into your email list. 

A Direct Offer to Present to Interested Customers

You can start by creating three custom audiences on Facebook:

  • Those who have engaged with your page 
  • Those who clicked your link to go to your website
  • Those who opted into your email list

Now target the three custom audiences with your direct offer. Since the idea is already primed on your idea of staying dry, they’re more likely to convert, which brings your overall cost of the conversion down. 

Keep in mind that Facebook ads cannot be run on your regular Facebook profile. You need a Facebook page for that. 

Hush All the Doubting Thomas’s with Google Ads

A few of your prospects will see your ads on Facebook, but instead of making up their mind and proceed to purchase your product or services, they’ll rush to Google to confirm if you’re legit.

Some will see your ad, but postpone buying. 

That why it’s important to make sure your product or company link can be found on any major platform your prospects dare look. Go to Google My Business and make sure you’ve claimed your business (if you haven’t already done so). 

This is a simple three-step process to help you stretch your marketing dollar. It’s not a matter of deciding on whether you should run your ad on Google or Facebook, but making sure you’re leveraging the best of both platforms. 

The Difference Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads (in a Table Format)

After comparing the two platforms, let’s contrast them to see what exactly gives each one of them an upper hand over the other.

Undeniably, Google Ads can also be referred to as “Paid Search,” while Facebook has deservedly earned the right to the title, “Paid Social.” 

Ad Feature Google Ads  Facebook Ads
Platform  Google Ads Facebook Ads manager
Audience Size Has the potential to reach 91% of all internet users Has the potential to reach only 51% of all internet users
Average Cost Per Click (CPC) $2.69 $0.97
Average Conversion Rate (ACR) 3.17% 0.90%
Return on Investment (ROI) $8 for every $1 spent $2.5 for every $1 spent
Ad Format Types
  • Text ads
  • Image ads
  • Video ads
  • Responsive ads
  • App Ads
  • Shopping Ads
  • Call Only Ads
  • Image Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Slideshow Ads
  • Collection Ads
  • Instant Experience Ads
Ad Targeting Options
  • Location
  • Keywords
  • Demographics
  • Affinity
  • In-market
  • Placement
  • Topics
  • Remarketing
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Behaviour
  • Demographics
  • Connections


Ad Placement
  • Google Search Network
  • Google maps
  • Google Display Network
  • YouTube
  • Google Play
  • Facebook Newsfeed
  • Instagram Newsfeed
  • Right-hand column
  • Messenger Inbox

What Are Google Ads Best For?

Google ads can make an excellent choice of ads if you’re more interested in getting your leads to convert. 

The word on the street is that PPC are two times more likely to purchase your products or services than organic visitors. They have a 50% more conversion rate than SEO-generated visitors. 

That’s because these visitors aren’t randomly Googling stuff like some people assume. They know what they want and their quest to search online is just a matter of finding the right business they can work with. 

Google helps to connect them with your business. 

When they run a search query, Google will present them with a list of links to check out, depending on relevancy. If they’re persuaded by your ad, they’re free to click on it and check your offer.

If they think you’re a good fit for the needs they have, you’d have earned a conversion. 

With their remarketing options, you can even target users that previously did show some interest in your business or product, but weren’t convinced enough or quite ready to take action. 

What Are Facebook Ads Best For?

Facebook ads make an excellent choice if you’re looking to gain new leads and brand exposure. 

They won’t entice your prospects enough to a point that they’ll want to convert. But they’ll get them to follow your page and perhaps check out your site or landing page. 

Facebooks ads will help you gain new leads because they inspire a sense of familiarity – and the more people see and interact with your business, the more they get comfortable with it. 

Here are a few more ways to use Facebook ads:

  • Generate traffic to your site, app, or Facebook page
  • Attracts views to your YouTube, Facebook, or any other video
  • Raise engagement on your Facebook post
  • A great way to get your prospective customers to message you
  • And more


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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