What are the Main Differences Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads?

Co-Founder & Marketing Director

As a leading Facebook Ads and Google Ads agency in London, one of the questions we’re asked most frequently is what are the main differences between the two platforms and which one is right for my business?

Here we look at both in more detail and explain how they differ along with the potential benefits to help you determine the best fit for building your brand.

Intent vs. Interest

The biggest difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is how their algorithms decide who gets to see the adverts in question. For Google, it’s a matter of user intent. If someone searches for “garages in South London”, for instance, they’re likely looking to engage a mechanic in that part of the capital to help them with their car. Google will then post adverts that match the keyword and geographic requirements of the user as closely as possible. The more detailed the search, the more targeted the advert (so “clutch replacement in Lambeth” would result in more focused advert results than “garages in South London”).

Facebook’s algorithm focuses more on user interests and demographics. Every time you ‘like’ a business page or a join a fan group on Facebook, you’re building a portfolio of common interests that determine what adverts get dropped into your timeline.

As an advertiser, you need to decide whether your product or service is something that people are going to be looking for, or something that they are going to be interested in should they have their attention drawn to it. Of course, the answer to that could be that it’s a little bit of both!

Targeting Your Audience

As mentioned above, Google users are searching, while Facebook users are browsing, and that makes a big difference. With Google Ads, you create a compelling advert and hope that potential customers search for your product or service. With Facebook Ads, you create an advert and send it straight to the people you think are most likely to be interested. This is possible due to Facebook’s extensive amount of demographic data. You can target anything from age, gender, religion, and socio-economic background to the most minute of personal interests and hobbies.


Pending your objective, Google Ads charge on a Pay-Per-Click basis, while Facebook tend to charge on a cost per impression basis. Data shows that Facebook Ads offer a better return on investment, per click, compared to Google Ads, but this doesn’t necessarily mean the lead quality or cost per purchase will outperform than Google Ads.


While Facebook users might be more likely to click on your advert, Google users are more likely to complete a sale or enquire with more intent once they get there. Again, Facebook users are browsing their timeline for gossip, memes and updates from their friends; so while your advert might catch their eye, there’s no guarantee they’re in the market for taking an action today. Conversely, Google users are actively searching for something that you offer.

Overall, Facebook is best for brand building, impulse buys, generating enquiries, prospecting lists, advertising products and services that are highly competitive on Google as well advertising products & services that require visuals to better demonstrate the product or service. Google is best for getting your products and services in front of people that are already actively looking for what you provide.

Which is the best platform for you?

It really depends on what you’re selling and how you hope to capture your audience. Many businesses adopt a mixed approach to online advertising, while others favour one platform over the other. Getting the combination right is the key to getting more leads, conversions, and sales.

If your brand spends more than £1000 a month on advertising, get in touch with Disturb Digital today to arrange a complimentary marketing audit and see what we can do for your business.

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