Just like the never-ending arguments of who the “Greatest of All Time (GOAT)” is; particularly in sports – whether it’s between Christiano Ronaldo and Messi or Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, a similar “rivalry” seems to exist between the two giants of digital advertising, Google Ads and Facebook Ads. In this case, the bone of contention is which would give the better return on investment (ROI).

Let’s take a cursory look at each of them so we can put this argument to rest once and for all, if possible.

While Facebook Ads is suitable for paid social campaigns on Facebook (and its network including Instagram), Google Ads is used for ads that show up in Google search results, display ads on Google Partner sites and video ads on YouTube. They both feature ads on separate channels and often target users at different stages in the buyer’s journey.

Benefits of Facebook Ads

Facebook is the number one social media platform with over 2.7 billion monthly active users, according to a 2021 Statista report. In addition to this, Facebook has access to a very detailed information of its users which allows for specific targeting options that cuts across interest, behaviours, life events and demographics.

This is why most marketers have reported that Facebook  offers the highest ROI and better Click-through rates (CTR).

However, the latest updates on iOS 14, which allows users to opt out of anonymous tracking, has resulted in a limitation in tracking conversions from iPhone users. Although Facebook responded by providing aggregated event measurements on users with those devices, some marketers have reported a decline in results from Facebook Ads.

Recently Google announced that it will be discontinuing cookies (a tag that collects user activity data on websites) on its products, it is imminent that it will negatively impact Facebook Ads. 

Benefits of Google Ads

Formerly known as Google Adwords, Google Ads has evolved from simple text-based search ads to include reviews, detailed contact information, a shopping function, and mobile optimization.

In Q1 of 2020, Smart Insights found that Google search ads had the highest CTR at 1.55% when compared to display ads and Facebook ads. This is likely because Google prioritises ads based on relevance.

With Google Ads, it’s not all about the amount you are willing to pay for a desired outcome. The results you get depends on other factors like your landing page, the quality of your creatives and the user’s search intent.

Also, Google’s powerful remarketing feature gives advertisers the ability to reconnect with users who have engaged previously. For example, someone visits your site, adds an item to cart but doesn’t make a purchase. You can retarget them with specific ads.

Both Facebook Ads and Google Ads are extremely crucial advertising platforms that are useful to virtually every business. It is important to view the two platforms as complementary, rather than adversarial. For example, paid search and paid social used together can be an effective advertising strategy. It however necessitates a dual advertising strategy that aligns with the strengths of each respective platform.

Above all, it is vital to understand how best to use each platform for maximum ROI and business growth.

Factors to consider when deciding on which ads platform to use

  1. Your campaign objective

Are you trying to create awareness or do you want to get more sales?

Facebook Ads is more suited for users at the top of the funnel (i.e brand awareness) while Google Ads is better for users that have a high purchase intent (i.e conversion)

  1. Your Budget

The goal of every advertising campaign is to maximise return on ad spend (ROAS). So for every campaign, you have to consider the budget and what it will get you in terms of outcome.

You have to look at the competition for the keywords, target cost-per-click, target cost-per-action etc. For example you have $100 to spend but the cost for your keywords is $10 per click. That gives you 10 clicks. However, with that same budget you are likely to reach more people on Facebook.

Other factors to consider include historical data and competitors’ activity. Get to know what has worked in the past, what your competitors are doing with respect to ads. Why are they doing those things? This can help as a benchmark and highlight opportunities that exist for you.

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