When Should You Use Google Ads vs Facebook Ads?

Updated: October 24, 2022
When Should You Use Google Ads vs Facebook Ads?
google ads vs facebook ads

Trying to maximise your advertising dollars? Knowing when and where you should allocate limited advertising resources is crucial in not only maximising your budget but also getting the best return on investment. How so?

We’re all trying to get the best ROI when we launch a new campaign–but ad spend isn’t the only metric used to track its success. Among the many factors that influence successful ad campaigns are the decisions made before launch–including how and where to best connect with your audience based on target personas.

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. We’ve outlined some of the key considerations that could influence your decision to spend on Google Ads versus Facebook Ads if you’re deciding between the two. Read on to learn more about strategising the best campaign for your audience and setting up for the best ROI.

Understanding the Difference Between Social Media and Google Search Ads

At a top-level, social media platforms and the Google Display Network seem like excellent digital marketing opportunities for brands looking to extend their reach and connect with new consumers. To that effect–they are! A scalable, effective way to connect with existing customers, find new leads, and convert potential buyers into paying customers, digital ad campaigns using both social media platforms and search engines can show extensive ROI when actioned right.

Among the first differences between the two major marketing platforms, there are:

Social Media

  1. Real-time engagement with online users
  2. Direct-to-consumer marketing and feedback
  3. Short and long form content
  4. Audience silos found among interests, similar products and services
  5. Direct-to-consumer sales

Google–Search Engine, Display Network

  1. Large-scale opportunities for ad placement
  2. Short and long form content
  3. Highly competitive, paid online advertising opportunities
  4. Direct-to-consumer lead generation
  5. Significant user data collation through Google analytics

Depending on your marketing and campaign goals, there may be a direct answer as to which tool or online advertising platforms you should spend time and money on. Fortunately, we can drill further down into the factors that will influence your decision as a user-level–and that’s what we want to look into.

Choosing Marketing Platforms Based on User Behaviour

Most marketers will know the process behind segmenting their audience and developing detailed target customer personas. If you’re new to the concept, audience segmentation often includes:

  1. Demographic Profiling: Top-level segmentation looks at the basic demographic characteristics that make up your ideal consumer from age range to geographic location, occupation, and interests or dislikes.
  2. User Behaviours (Psycho-demographic profiling): Beyond to-level demographic profiling, user behaviours and psychographic profiling can help further understand the day-to-day of your ideal customer, where they hang out online, and with who. This type of segmentation can help narrow where you’ll best connect with potential customers and how to connect.
  3. Problem-Solution Analysis: Consider what problems are experienced by your ideal customer on the day-to-day and the exact solution that your product or service offers to help ease their pain. Why? Because it’s crucial to understand what types of problems our customers face so you can understand what solutions they will look for, where they will look for, and how they describe their problem. 

Even first-time digital marketers and small business owners can create an approximate profile of their campaign consumers that will begin to identify where they can be found online and which platforms would be best used to reach them. Further still, this same step can not only help decide whether your business should pursue Google Ads or social media ads, but which social media platforms should be used.

Among the common choices, most online consumers in Australia can be found on:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. TikTok
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Pinterest

Among a few others. By working your way through the above segmentation practices, you’ll begin to see trends emerge as to which platforms your ideal customer uses. This step will be critical in helping your team decide between Facebook Ads and other paid opportunities.

Deciding When to Use the Google Display Network

Following on our audience segmentation strategy, some businesses may know that their budget and resources would be best spent on the Google Network–and help them most effectively reach their target audience.

Among the top-paid advertising opportunities that can be organised through Google Ads, many marketers will opt for:

  • Google Search Engine Optimisation, Keyword Bidding, Google Adwords:
    For brands who want to spend more on their marketing efforts, paid search efforts can go a long way in finding new online traffic and boost your results in the Google search network.
  • ‘Top Result’ Paid Search Campaigns, Sponsored Posts:
    Want to really up your game? Some brands will opt to pay for the ‘Top Result’ position on page one of a related Google search network results page. Why? Data proves that results on page one of Google search results are significantly more likely to be clicked on and followed through by Google users. If your budget allows for it, you can pay for a top spot while your organic SEO efforts gain traction.
  • Video Display Ads:
    Want to catch their eye? Retargeting campaigns offer excellent placement throughout the Google Network as both on-page advertising and during sponsored video content found on an online advertising platform like YouTube. An excellent way to get longer form ads in front of targeted consumers, balancing several different ad types that will connect with and find your consumers at different touch points on the Google network is key.

While some Google ad tools can be more expensive than paid social media opportunities, there are significant benefits to using multiple touch points and ad formats across the advertising platform to connect with new and existing users.

When to Opt for Social Media Ads Over Google Ad Campaigns

Some of the factors that may influence a marketer’s choice to use Facebook Ads over the Google Ads platform include:

Finding Your Target Audience To Be More Active on Facebook in Relation to Your Brand’s Problem-Solution Offer

After working your way through some audience segmentation data and creating a detailed consumer persona, it may be evident that your ideal audience members can be found on Facebook–most especially when it comes to finding a solution to their problem.

A good example would be audience members who actively use Facebook Marketplace, their Facebook page, or group recommendations and reviews to decide on a purchase choice. From small business owners looking for digital courses that can support their marketing efforts to local customers searching for great nearby restaurants, some audience profiles will actively use Facebook to solve their problem.

Your Product or Service Can Be Effectively Explained through Facebook Ads

Working with an extremely complex product that needs significant explanation before converting a potential lead? Facebook Ads may not be for you.

We recommend using Facebook Ads (or designing your Facebook Ad) for very clear problem-solution offers where your product or service can be easily seen, understood, and followed through by your ideal audience. For products or services that need to follow an educate-inform marketing platform to better detail their offer, the brevity of Facebook Ads may be too limited to create a clear solution and call-to-action.

Still interested in reaching your customers on Facebook? Consider this an opportunity to further refine your marketing messages and condense your problem-product-service for a quick and easy conversion.

You Want to Leverage Facebook’s Instagram ADS

Know that your audience hangs out on several social media platforms? At the time of writing, Facebook’s ownership of the popular photo-sharing platform means that Facebook Ad Account Manager can similarly advertise on Instagram.  If you know that your target audience uses both platforms, you can maximise your advertising reach (and ad spend!) by working within the Facebook Ads manager and publishing your content across both advertising platforms.

When to Consider Actioning Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads Campaigns

Have a few more dollars to spend? If your marketing budget allows for a wider campaign, you may want to consider designing and actioning campaigns for both the Google Search Engine and Display Networks and Facebook Ads.


  1. Reach consumers across multiple digital touch points.
  2. Design effective retargeting campaigns that connect with audience members on different digital advertising platforms.
  3. Compare campaign analytics.

This last point is important. When first diving into digital marketing, it can be difficult to know exactly where and when to spend limited dollars to achieve the best ROI; fortunately, running several smaller campaigns and trialling different ad formats can allow for sufficient data to come in that further refines your efforts.

From refining your marketing messages to deciding which platforms and ad formats show the best ROI, live campaigns and real-user data are the best metrics to track your progress and inform future marketing efforts. For some businesses who are just beginning their paid marketing efforts, it may be a good idea to action smaller campaigns across both Google Ads and Facebook Ads to see which ad platforms will be worth pursuing further and then drilling down into more defined campaigns.

Levelling Up Your Google Ads Campaigns with Edge Marketing

Edge Marketing is one of Australia’s leading digital marketing teams and we’re dedicated to empowering our community of entrepreneurs and markets with leading market trends, emerging ad platforms, and how you can master your online campaigns.

Publishing weekly content dissecting some of the most common questions we get asked about the most effective digital marketing platforms, you can follow along for more tips and how-to guides about search engine optimisation, Google Ads Manager, and how to best track and measure your campaign ROIs.

Working with clients to both up-skill their own in-house marketing efforts to transitioning your active projects to our expert team, we’re experts in all things digital marketing from the best use of shopping ads to designing local service ads.

If you’re ready to outsource or level up your campaigns, connect with our expert in-house team to discuss your brand’s marketing needs and learn how we can help start building your brand awareness today.


Mira -

Head of Paid Media

1300 558 659 - www.edgeonline.com.au

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