Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads - What's the Difference?

Google Adwords vs. Facebook Ads - What's the Difference?

In my daily conversation with clients, online advertising is mentioned, yet many are unaware of the measurable actions they can take to target their niche effectively. Online advertising allows measurement that traditional media cannot compete with. In my opinion the top 2 advertising products that you need to be aware of are Facebook Ads and Google Adwords – these tools are similar, yet very different. Let’s learn why.

Facebook Ads

As many of you might already notice, Facebook is pretty smart and subtle when it comes to advertising. Put simply, Facebook mines everything from your birthday, to your favorite band. If this concerns you, then stop “liking” pages and giving Facebook information about every aspect of your life.

Facebook Advertising allows businesses to target individuals based on: Facebook

  • Age
  • Location & Proximity to a Zip Code
  • Education (High School, Higher Education)
  • Gender
  • Relationship Status (Single, Engaged, Married)
  • Workplace
  • Social Connections (Friends who “like” certain pages)

Facebook ads allow unparalleled targeting, ensuring that your advertisement is always being seen by your “exact” target demographic. This is something that no other ads (online or offline) offer. Another great aspect is the seamless connection between a Facebook ad and a Facebook business page – this is great if you are looking to gain fans.

As nicely as I portrayed Facebook ads, there is one major issue with them.


When I am on Facebook, and I am not in research mode. *I am not looking for a specific widget/service. *Sure, an extremely relevant ad that targets my interest will catch my attention, and I may even click on it, yet it’s not something that I am seeking to find.

Facebook  Ads are  just “there.”

Google Adwords

Google Adwords

In the land of the search engines, a few ads reign supreme. Located in the yellow box (and in the column on the right), these ads are driven by search queries. As an advertiser, I can determine where my ad is displayed by specifying what keywords are relevant to my product/service. For example, if I own a rafting company in Bangor, Maine, I can enable my advertisement to be displayed when someone types in “Rafting Bangor Maine.”

Google Adwords (Like Facebook Ads) also offers the ability to target an advertisement within a geographic location.

Here’s the major difference – if someone types keywords into Google, they are in research mode. Unlike seeing ads that you may have no particular interest in, these ads are displayed to exactly the topic you were looking for. Google Ads are served further along in the buying cycle – which means your business has a better chance of selling it’s product/service.

In conclusion: I have had considerable amounts of success with both forms of advertising, yet business must know how and when to use each service. What do you think? Have you have more success with Google Adwords or Facebook Ads? Make your case in the comments below!