Many clients ask me if they should invest in Facebook ads or Google ads. While these platforms are great for reaching potential or even current customers, I really think it depends on your business objectives and budget.

Both advertising platforms reach billions of people every day, and they deliver superb results. Advertising can impact brand awareness, buyer behavior and organic purchase pathways on your website. Google ads reach people according to search engine results. Facebook reaches people according to their interests and profile.

Recently, Facebook started to test search ads in an attempt to either compete with Google ads or to try out new monetization ideas. This means that certain advertisers can pick the placement of search results in the Ads Manager. While this potential change allows social advertisers to dive deeper down the conversion funnel, it really isn't a direct comparison to Google Adwords. Here's why:


Drives users to your website

Facebook search ads don't allow advertisers to pick specific keywords. Instead, their brand can show up for search results based on specific topics. Search intent is a very important part of Google search. Typically, the type of keywords that a Google user enters into the search engine will be further down the conversion funnel, meaning that the user is evaluating to make a potential purchase.

While I've used Google Adwords to reach other stages within the funnel or to do some audience testing, lower funnel targeting is ideal for businesses who are concerned about their budget. Keep in mind that I'm referring to the Google search network. Google's display ads can retarget based on web browsing; thus, those ads target users higher in the funnel.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a social network. Therefore, the intent of use is different than those searching on Google. Facebook ads are better for demand generation. These users don't know what they want and are using the platform to socialize with friends or to engage with brands they love.


Every social network has an algorithm, and those algorithms operate differently than Google's platform. While Google's algorithm will evaluate a brand's trust based on social signals, the two platforms don't run the same.

RankBrain is Google's machine learning algorithm. If the algorithm isn't familiar with your used search term, it uses artificial intelligence to insert guessed keywords. This is why search intent is more important than ever as you get further into 2019. The Google algorithm tries to figure out what a user means and finds pages that cover the concept.

Facebook's algorithm, which ranks content in your news feed, prioritizes content from friends, family and groups. The purpose of their algorithm is to focus on posts that contain meaningful interactions. This is why brand's need to be strategic with their Facebook advertising efforts by not only doing typical advertisements about deals. They need to do advertisements based on increasing engagement.

While both algorithms are paying attention to providing valuable content, I really don't think they compete with each other. Facebook ads cost less than Google ads, and they are not used the same as Google ads. Both target users at different stages within the buying cycle.

Ashley Jones
Ashley Jones owns Marcom Content by Ashley, LLC ℠, and she believes in having an integrated marketing approach, incorporating strategy, digital, copywriting and communications.
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