So, you’ve got X amount of dollars in your marketing budget, and you’re trying to decide how best to spend it. You recognize that advertising is essential for your brand. But you’re not sure where to put those advertising dollars so that you get the most bang for your buck. You’re decently tech and social media savvy, but when it comes to choosing between platforms like Google and Facebook, you still need to learn a lot. So the real question is this: Which one will win out in a battle between Facebook ads and Google ads?

That’s okay. You’re not alone. Online advertising can be pretty confusing, and it’s hard to determine what will do you the most good. It’s also important to recognize that there’s not always one answer to questions like “Do I advertise with Google or Facebook?”. Sometimes the answer is “it depends,” while other times, it might differ from year to year.

Of course, the main difference is clear. One is a search engine, and the other is a social media platform, so there will be noticeable differences. Let’s take a look at some of the basics first, and then we’ll offer some reasons why one might be better than the other for YOUR business.

Google ads

Google is, by far, the most popular advertising platform in North America. Data shows that Google ads channels about 40 percent of all digital ad spending in the United States and Canada.

Google Ads (once called Google AdWords) is a “paid search” platform, which means that if you’ve placed an ad, it will appear in search results. When you choose pay-per-click ads (PPC), they appear above your organic search results or sometimes to the right. Advertisers only pay when someone clicks on their ad, hence the name.

Facebook ads

Facebook can be a wonderful place to advertise. Why? Because the average Facebook user clicks on between 12 and 15 ads per month. Furthermore, the audience you’re reaching is very diverse and hails from around the world, so if you craft ads well, you can garner a massive audience through this popular social media platform.

With Facebook ads, you can be very specific about your budget and the people you reach. For example, you can select how much you spend per day or over the lifetime of the ad (i.e., $10 per day for seven days). You can also target a specific audience. For example, if you’re advertising something that appeals to middle-aged, suburban women, you can choose parameters to reach that group.

So, which one makes sense for me?

To figure that out, let’s look at some of the differences a little more closely.


Targeting is the main difference between Facebook and Google. Google ads target users based on keywords. With Google, you know what your potential audience is searching for and have crafted the ads knowing they’re looking for your product or service. With Facebook, you are more focused on demographics, interests, past behaviour, and more. Targeting is very precise, though the people you reach may not SPECIFICALLY be looking for you or your product. However, if you’ve set up your targeting parameters correctly, you should be able to get your ad in front of those who will likely take action.

The buying “journey.”

Because Google ads pop up based on keyword searches, chances are those who click on these ads are further along on their buying journey or their research. That makes them more likely to click because they are consciously looking for your product or service. Conversely, with Facebook, you’re positioning your ad in front of someone unfamiliar with you and who isn’t specifically looking for what you offer. Because they didn’t seek out your product, they might be interested in more information but not yet ready to buy. With Facebook, you rely more on impulse buys to generate income.

The ultimate goal

With Facebook ads, you’re getting your brand out there. Because your Facebook audience came to FB to chat with friends, not to buy your product, it’s more likely you are building brand awareness rather than generating lots of immediate sales. However, with a Google ad, your main goal is to sell, sell, sell. Those searching for keywords related to your product know what they’re looking for and are likelier to click.

Who’s the winner?

There isn’t a clear overall winner, though there may be a winner for your type of business. If you can picture how either Facebook or Google can help you realize your goals, then you should choose one over the other. Some companies try both, at least for a while, to determine which works best for them.

At Watershed9, we can help you decipher the sometimes-confusing world of internet advertising. Let us sit down with you and help you figure out whether Google or Facebook works best for your type of business and your budget. For a no-obligation consultation, call us at 604-337-1449 and speak to one of our marketing experts or fill out our contact form.